The Washington Commanders Week 6 matchup with the Houston Texans seems like a mismatch on paper. The Commanders are 4-1 in their last five, and the Texans have lost four in a row. Washington seems to always struggle with consistency, though, so ahead of the Commanders-Texans games, let’s make some bold Commanders Week 11 predictions.
The Commanders are 5-5 but have looked like a different team since Taylor Heinicke replaced Carson Wentz at quarterback. With Wentz returning to practice after a broken finger as soon as this week, this could be Heinicke’s last chance to secure the job for the remainder of the season.
On the Texans’ side, the team is in full rebuild mode. And outside of a Week 1 tie with the Indianapolis Colts and a Week 5 “upset” of the 3-7 Jacksonville Jaguars, the team hasn’t had much success to speak of. That said, the Texans do play hard and have given several teams a game for a few quarters.
If Heinicke can lead his team to victory and get the franchise above .500 after Week 11 for the first time since 2018, it might be time to believe the Commanders could be a playoff team. Before that happens, though, let’s make some bold Commanders Week 11 predictions.
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4. Chase Young plays and gets a sack
Commander fans haven’t seen 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young on an NFL field in over a year. The 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year tore his ACL and MCL on November 14, 2021, and hasn’t played since.
That could change in the Commanders-Texans game, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Young “is expected to be activated this week to play Sunday.”
Sources: Chase Young — the former No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft who was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year — is expected to be activated this week to play Sunday in his first game since tearing his ACL and MCL in a game against the Buccaneers last November. A boost for Wash D.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 15, 2022
The Commanders have the league’s 20th-ranked scoring defense and are 16th in sacks with 24. Bringing Young back into the fold could be a huge boost for the unit that should be better with the amount of highly-drafted talent on that side of the ball.
If the pass-rusher does play, look for him to come back with a bang and earn his first sack of the season. The Texans have given up the 12th most sacks in the league (23), and the sixth-most for teams that have only played nine games so far.
3. Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson continue to make a case for best RB duo
Running back Brian Robinson Jr. being shot in an attempted car-jacking in the preseason and coming back to play in his rookie campaign is one of the most amazing stories of the 2022 NFL season.
The next part of that story — that he and fellow Commanders RB Antonio Gibson are quietly becoming one of the best running back tandems in the NFL — is playing out now.
Last week, when the Commanders upset the Philadelphia Eagles and ended their undefeated season, Robinson has 26 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Gibson added 44 yards on 14 carries and a score, along with three catches for 14 yards.
Between Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s commitment to the run and Robinson and Gibson’s performances in recent games, they are quickly climbing the ranks of best running back duos in the league.
With another performance like Week 10 in the Commanders Week 11 matchup, Robinson and Gibson will be right up there with the likes of the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, the Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, the Green Bay Packers Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion, and the Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
2. Taylor Heinicke wins the QB job and gets a new pair of red and blue Jordans
The boldest and most important of the Commanders Week 11 predictions is what happens with Taylor Heinicke. The journeyman quarterback hasn’t exactly been peak Tom Brady in his four starts this season, but he’s grinded out W’s, and that’s ultimately what matters.
Heinicke’s numbers this season in four starts, compared to Carson Went’s in six are:
- Heinicke: 75-of-121 (62.0%) for 840 yards, five touchdowns, four interceptions, nine sacks
- Wentz: 144-of-232 (62.1%) for 1,498 yards, 10 touchdowns, six interceptions, 23 sacks
The number that stands out there is 23 vs. 9 in the sack category. Wentz was obviously holding the ball too long and doesn’t have the athleticism anymore to get himself out of trouble. The other numbers that matter, which aren’t above, are 3-1 vs. 2-4, which is Heinicke’s record this season as a starter vs. Wentz’s.
Taylor Heinicke with the chains after beating the Eagles ❄️🥶
— PFF (@PFF) November 15, 2022
Heinicke does what it takes to win, and he’ll do that again in the Commanders-Texans game.
That means the starting job will be his moving forward and the QB with a $125,000 per win bonus incentive in his contract will buy himself a new pair of opponent-colored Jordan sneakers, which he does after every W.
1. Commanders 20, Texans 14
The final bold Commanders Week 11 prediction is that the team comes away with the W over the Texans and move to 6-5 on the season. The team will stay committed to the run with Robinson and Gibson, and Heinicke will manage the game to perfection.
After the game, the media will try and stir up a bit of a quarterback controversy, but the decision will be easy for the Commanders. Heinicke is the guy for the rest of the season, and the team is a legit playoff contender because of that.