Washington Football Team 2021-2022 Season Preview, Odds and Win Totals

Ryan Fitzpatrick hopes to be the difference-maker for the Washington Football Team's next step in the postseason.
Ryan Fitzpatrick hopes to be the difference-maker for the Washington Football Team's next step in the postseason. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The moment former Washington quarterback Alex Smith stepped on the field, he was set to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

Dwayne Haskins, the former 1st round pick began the season under center until he was benched in Week 5 for Kyle Allen, who promptly suffered an injury leading way to Smith's opportunity. Haskins got one last opportunity in Week 16, but was benched again and eventually released, just a few years after being the team's first round pick. That paved the way for Taylor Heinicke to come in and play the rest of the season, including the Wild Card game vs. Tampa Bay.

Smith's return to football was one of several fond memories for WFT fans in 2020, as Ron Rivera fought cancer and took his team to the postseason in his first year as head coach. Rivera, a candidate for NFL Coach of the Year helped Washington turn their fortunes around from 3-13 a season ago, to 7-9 last year.

An under .500 record doesn't typically sniff the postseason but Washington took advantage of an awful division and showed up with an elite level defense finishing top 4 in points allowed, and top 2 in passing yards and touchdowns.

Now armed with a new starting quarterback, another dynamic playmaking wide receiver, and some more depth and star power on the defensive side, Washington has a legitimate argument to be considered the favorite in this division, as opposed to the Cowboys.

Washington Football Team Outlook

In order to take the next step forward, Washington realized they needed to address the quarterback position. They chose the stop-gap route in 38-year old Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was benched midway through the 2020 season for Tua Tagovailoa in Miami, but still put up solid numbers during his Dolphins tenure. Washington also signed Heinicke to a two-year deal to back up Fitzpatrick during the offseason, hoping that the spark he provided in the playoff game vs. the eventual Super Bowl winner could perhaps turn into something bigger.

The good news for Fitzpatrick is he'll have several quality weapons surrounding him to be successful. No. 1 wide receiver Terry McLaurin continues to improve after two impressive seasons in Washington despite no level of consistency at quarterback. A full year of Fitzpatrick throwing him the rock should result in a 100-reception season after going from 58 to 87 last season.

McLaurin will also have former Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel alongside on the outside after signing a free agent deal in Washington, as well as Adam Humphries in the slot. Tight end Logan Thomas is also coming off a breakout season with 72 receptions for 670 yards and six touchdowns.

At running back, Antonio Gibson was excellent in his rookie season, finishing with over 1,000 all purposes yards and 11 touchdowns. His backfield made, J.D. McKissic saw the most passing targets of all running backs including Alvin Kamara with 110 last season, finishing with 80 catches. On the offensive line, the bulk of the starters return from a season ago with the exception of right tackle.

Defensively, Jack Del Rio's defense had a sensational turnaround from 2019. Second overall pick Chase Young along with edge rusher Montez Sweat combined for 16.5 sacks and forming one of the more exciting pass rushing duos in football. Linebacker was an area of weakness that they addressed through the draft, and in the secondary, newly signed free agent corner William Jackson III is one of the more underrated lock down corners in the league. He'll pair up with Kendall Fuller, followed by Landon Collins and Kamren Curl at safety.

Washington Football Team 2021 NFL Draft

Picking at No. 19, there was heavy speculation that Washington would consider a quarterback if anyone remained on the board. But after the Bears traded up from 20 to 11 to grab Ohio State's Justin Fields, and the Patriots snagging Mac Jones at No. 15, Washington took a player that's a perfect fit for their defense in versatile Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis.

In the second round, offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi is expected to start the season competing against former Bears lineman Charles Leno and Cornelius Lucas for the starting left and right tackle position. Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste helps add depth in the secondary, and Dyami Brown out of North Carolina provides Washington with a speedy deep threat to help stretch the defense.

Washington Football Team Odds: Division (+240), Conference (+2500), Super Bowl (+5500)

Washington sits behind Dallas as the second favorite in a fairly tightly-contested division with +240 odds to win the NFC East. The Cowboys are the slight favorites at +135 odds at WynnBET Sportsbook, with the Giants (+325) and Eagles (+475) odds following behind Washington.

Washington Football Team Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 WINS | OVER (+110), UNDER (-130)

Ben Heisler:

If you checked out our team's betting preview for the Cowboys, I discussed how I'm torn between my outlook for Washington vs. Dallas. Washington is a more complete team, especially on defense, but having an elite quarterback can help a team overcome almost anything, and Prescott has a decisive advantage over Fitzpatrick with Dallas's offensive talent.

Both teams should compete for the top spot in the division, and Washington will have plenty of opportunities to make a statement late with five consecutive division games from Weeks 14-18. Three of the five are on the road, but I still expect Washington to play well down the stretch.

I also wonder if it's fair of me to believe in Ryan Fitzpatrick's playmakers if I have less conviction in Fitzpatrick himself. I think he'll be fine, but the way in which quarterbacks have played in Washington's system the last few years isn't a true reflection of Fitzpatrick's skillset. He's a gunslinger with an aggressive mentality, and Washington prioritizing a top defense, takeaways and not turning the ball over doesn't really jive with that. If he's in sync with the offense and his playmakers, Washington could take the division away from Dallas, but I think we'll see too much inconsistencies week-to-week.

I also think Antonio Gibson's development in Year 2 is a bit of a Wild Card. WynnBET is bullish on him having a much bigger role this season.

Ultimately, both the Cowboys and Washington finish above .500, so I'll give Washington the over here, but it will be close.



Donnavan Smoot:

I am out on the Washington Football team. I know about how dominant Chase Young and their defense is, but they were 7-9 last season only after Alex Smith came in to save them (5-1 across his starts).

Washington is going to lean on the abilities of Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick and I refuse to get suckered into his scam for another season. He’s going to play well for a few games and then revert to his normal style, which is inefficient quarterbacking, and Washington will go downhill from there. 

The Team had the 4th-best scoring defense last season. While I commend them for carrying the team, I find it hard to see that defense being able to carry the offense to the level it did for a second straight season. 

Washington has pieces with Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson, but this team is not set up to win the NFC East, where 9 wins might be all it takes to win the division. 

Ron Rivera’s group will get a boost by playing the Eagles twice, but they have the hardest schedule out of the NFC East teams. It’s going to take a lot of catchup on their part. I don’t see it happening when the Cowboys have the second-easiest schedule. 



Peter Dewey: 

The Washington Football Team stole the NFC East last season with a 7-9 campaign, and they improved significantly at the game’s most important position with the addition of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

“Fitz Magic” will come with its ups and downs, but Washington made the playoffs despite playing Taylor Heinicke late in the 2020 season. Alex Smith, who’s comeback story was fun to watch, wasn’t the greatest quarterback ever despite his 5-1 record (six touchdowns, eight interceptions), so Washington’s offense should see a boost in 2021. 

The defense is mostly intact from last year’s squad that allowed the second-fewest yards in football, and that will be the Football Team’s calling card again in 2020. 

While I do think the Cowboys win the division, I see Washington finishing just hair over .500, which is an improvement, and hitting the over on its win projection.



Iain MacMillan:

The Washington Football Team won the NFC East in 2020 with a losing record, but they are in great shape to improve on that in 2021.

They’ll return one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL, spearheaded by 2020 defensive rookie of the year Chase Young. The Rams and Steelers were the only teams last season to allow fewer passing yards than the Football Team. They also boasted the fifth best pass rush, averaging 2.9 sacks per game. Teams were able to run the ball with some success against Washington, as they were 11th in opponent yards per carry at 4.3.

If they can sure up that run defense this season, they could establish themselves as the very best defensive team in the NFL.

Then there’s the offense. They ranked 29th in yards per game (320.6) and 25th in points per game (21.1), in what was largely an uninspired unit.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed by the team in the offseason, and he could be the perfect fit for an offense that needs a jolt of life shocked into it. He may have games where he throws more interceptions than you’d like, but he’ll have just as many games where he’ll look like a prime Brett Favre.

Washington will be a sneaky fun team to watch in 2021.



Will the Washington Football Team Make the Playoffs? | MISS THE PLAYOFFS (-180), MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (+140)

Ben Heisler: 

The NFC East should have had zero playoff teams last year, but the NFL still gives a playoff spot out for the "accomplishment" of winning the division. I expect both Washington and Dallas to be better, but there's only one team playing in the postseason this season.

Since I've predicted Dallas to walk away with 10 wins and Washington with 9, they will not make the playoffs this season. A bit of an ironic twist considering they'll have improved by two games in the win column, but won't be enough to play a postseason game.

Fitzpatrick's play and Prescott's health could drastically change the fortunes in the NFC East, but for now, Washington is a bubble playoff team looking in from the outside.


Donnavan Smoot:

Washington won’t be saved by a bad division this year. The Team was able to sneak into the playoffs because of how bad the NFC East was last year. With Dallas set to have a comeback year, and even New York being an interesting team, Washington won’t be in the playoffs. 

Outside of the NFC West, it is highly unlikely that a team makes the playoffs via wild card. As I said earlier, I don’t trust Ryan Fitzpatrick. He will dazzle for a few weeks, but he doesn’t bring sustainable success. 

I hate to break it to the Washington fans, but last year was a fluke. Don’t expect to be there again.


Peter Dewey:  

This is a tough one, because Washington’s defense certainly could carry it to a playoff spot in the underwhelming NFC East, but I’m going to stick with my prediction that Dallas takes the division and the lone playoff spot of an NFC East team. 

Fitzpatrick may be good enough to get the Football Team over .500, but I don’t know if he gets them enough wins to compete with the elite teams in the NFC West that will also be vying for the wild card spots. 

If Washington beats out Dallas it’s always possible, but I think the Cowboys are more of a sure thing with Prescott in the lineup (and if he stays healthy) than Washington is heading into the season. 


Iain MacMillan:

Much like the rest of the teams in the NFC East, there likely won’t be a wild card spot available for whoever finishes second place. The division, when you boil it down, will be which unit will be more successful and lead their team to more wins, the Washington defense or the Cowboys offense?

If you combined the two, you might just have the best team in the NFL. But the Washington offense is stagnant and the Cowboys defense is porous.

While I fully admit I could be very wrong with this prediction, I think it will be the Dak Prescott-led offense that will be victorious and claim the NFC East crown in 2021. The modern game seems to favor offense over defense, which is the complete opposite of the style of game we’ve seen for the majority of the NFL’s history.

I think Washington will fall just short of beating out the Cowboys for the NFC East, and will miss the playoffs this season.



Every day from the start of NFL Training Camp, the BetSided team of Ben Heisler, Donnavan Smoot, Peter Dewey and Iain MacMillan are breaking down the win totals, playoff and Super Bowl odds for every team in the NFL.

Check back Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT when we preview the betting outlook for the New York Giants and check out our earlier team-by-team betting previews.


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