The Week 18 of the NFL season is getting closer and closer, which means it is time for some Washington Commanders Week 18 bold predictions. They will host the Dallas Cowboys at the FedEx Field on Sunday to close out their regular season.
Most recently, Washington lost 24-10 to the Cleveland Browns, extending its losing streak to three. Now at 7-8-1, the Commanders are officially out of the playoffs.
On the other side of the matchup, Dallas has won six out of its eight games following its bye week. In Week 17, the Cowboys defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-13 on the road. They are currently 12-4 and fifth in the NFC.
While this won’t affect Washington’s season, it can seriously change Dallas’ postseason run. A win on Sunday could even make the Cowboys clinch the division and even win the conference depending on what happens across the other games.
With that being said, here are some bold predictions for the Commanders as they play the Cowboys in Week 18.
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3. Sam Howell throws for 200+ yards, at least one touchdown
Throughout the 2022 season, Washington had many problems at the quarterback position. The team traded for 2017 Pro Bowler Carson Wentz in the offseason but fractured a finger on his throwing hand in Week 6. Then, Taylor Heinicke took over the role before Wentz returned later in the season.
With the team out of playoff contention, head coach Ron Rivera announced Sam Howell would start against the Cowboys. Washington’s fifth-round pick in 2022, this will be the rookie’s NFL debut.
In three years with the North Carolina Tar Heels, he completed 63.8% of his passes for 10,283 yards and 92 touchdowns versus 23 interceptions. He also added over 1,000 rushing yards for 17 scores.
On Sunday, Howell will have a tough challenge to open his NFL career. Dallas allows opponents to complete just 62.9% of their passes, good for No. 10 in the league. Additionally, the Cowboys’ defense has recorded 51 sacks, the third-best mark this season.
Still, the bold prediction is that Howell will have a solid debut. Expect him to throw for 200-plus yards and at least one touchdown.
2. Washington sacks Dak Prescott at least twice
Despite missing the playoffs entirely, there were some bright spots in Washington. With so many problems on offense, the defensive unit had its moments this season. The team allows 21.1 points per game, placing the Commanders in the top half of the league.
Individually speaking, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was selected for his second consecutive Pro Bowl. So far, he has 65 total tackles with 44 being solo, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Also, Daron Payne has 11.5 sacks this season, placing him in the top 15 in the NFL in that category. He is ahead of big names such as J.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward.
On Sunday, Allen and Payne will need to step up. Dallas’ offensive line has allowed just 26 sacks this year, the fourth-best mark across the league.
The bold prediction is that Washington’s defense will give quarterback Dak Prescott a tough time. Do not be surprised if the unit pressures him a lot throughout the day and sacks him at least twice in the game.
1. Commanders lose by at least 10 points
At the end of the day, only the Cowboys have something to lose on Sunday. A victory could result in a home advantage in the playoffs and even a first-round bye. On the other hand, the Commanders will simply complete their schedule while also making experiments in many places, most notably at the quarterback position with Howell.
According to FanDuel, Dallas is the favorite to win in Week 18. Currently, the spread is -7. This means that many consider that the Cowboys should have a comfortable win against the Commanders.
In their previous matchup in the 2022 season, the Cowboys ended up winning 25-10 at home. It is worth noting that they played with Cooper Rush as Prescott was still recovering from his thumb injury. Although Washington had more total offensive yards (297) than Dallas (279), the Commanders only found the end zone once that day.
Based on what both teams are showing, their lineups and especially their goals for the season, it is difficult to bet against Dallas. With uncertainty surrounding Jalen Hurts, the Philadelphia Eagles could end up losing to the New York Giants in Week 18. That opens the door for the Cowboys to clinch their division, but it all depends if they defeat the Commanders.
The bold prediction is that Washington will end up losing on Sunday. Not only that but it will be by double digits. The discrepancy in quarterback experience will likely play a role even with Howell having a solid debut. Still, the Commanders should provide some extra challenges for the Cowboys, making Dallas’ coaching staff re-evaluate some areas for the playoffs.