NFL Power Rankings, Week 14: Washington making noise in the NFC East, climbs into top 15

When the Washington Football Team lost to the Denver Broncos on Halloween, a game that dropped them to 2-6, the thinking was their season was all but done.

Then they lost star pass-rusher Chase Young to a season-ending injury two weeks later, and it really looked bleak. But instead of planning their offseason vacations to Bermuda and the Bahamas, they focused and somehow got back to playing good, sound football on both sides of the ball.

The result is four consecutive victories to get them to 6-6 and into the playoff chase. If the season ended today, which it doesn’t obviously, they would be the sixth seed in the NFC. From 2-6 to a sixth seed is an impressive feat.

Coach Ron Rivera has turned his team around as it prepares to face the Dallas Cowboys in a key division game Sunday at home. Washington was a disaster on defense for much of the early part of the season, but has turned that around in a big way.

In the last four games, Washington has given up 70 points and just 15 in each of the past two games. Two of those games came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Las Vegas Raiders, two of the top offenses in the league,

Rivera is known for defense, which is why the struggles of that unit were a major surprise to start the season. Now, even without Young and fellow pass-rusher, Montez Sweat, the defense has taken big strides. The secondary has been a big part of the reason for the turnaround, as has the inside play of defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who is playing great football. 

The offense isn’t explosive, but it’s good enough. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke is coming off a so-so game against the Raiders, but he is capable of getting hot and leading the offense up and down the field. He’s certainly streaky.

Washington is up to 15th in my Power Rankings this week as it prepares to play Dallas. If Washington can slow Dak Prescott and that offense and pull out a victory, it will be…

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