The Washington commander has yet to get off to a fast start to a season under coach Ron Rivera. But if that changes, this year is the year.
The NFL released its full schedule on Thursday, and the Commanders kicked off the season on Sunday, Sept. 11, hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars — the team with the worst record last season. After the Jaguars, the commanders head to face the rebuilding Detroit Lions. It’s two winnable games ahead of back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
The schedule intensity rating ties Washington with Dallas for the easiest roster in the NFL. Burgundy and Gold’s opponents have a combined 0.462 winning percentage in 2021 – which could be the key to Rivera’s season, and he has said he expects his team to make huge strides in Year 3. Rivera led the Commanders to a -19 record in two seasons with one playoff appearance.
Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars was also big for Carson Wentz. The new commanding quarterback, then in Indianapolis, hastened the end of his tenure with the Colts in a Week 18 loss to the Jaguars last season.
Wentz will have the opportunity to avenge and redeem Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson, who first coached the quarterback in Philadelphia.
The Jaguars matchup was one of Wentz’s famous series of games. The 29-year-old will take on his two former teams — both in Indianapolis and Philadelphia — on Oct. 30 (Week 8) and Nov. 14 (Week 10). will all play.
The Eagles game is also one of the Commanders’ two prime-time games. The Philadelphia matchup took place on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” but a few weeks before that, Washington traveled to Chicago for a “Thursday Night Football” game against the Bears on Amazon Prime Video. This will mark Amazon’s first season of exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” after agreeing to pay the league a $1 billion-a-year package in 2021.
Washington finished last season with a pivotal five games against all NFC East opponents. In the upcoming season, that will not be the case. After taking on the Eagles and Cowboys in Weeks 3 and 4, the Commanders didn’t face another NFC East opponent until Week 10 (Philadelphia). The commanders also didn’t play the New York Giants until December — when Washington faced them twice in a row, sandwiched between bye weeks.
The Commanders Week 14 Bye is the newest bye week in franchise history. When the NFL expanded to 17 games last season, the league had team byes between Weeks 6 and 14. In the case of 16 games, the byes occurred between Weeks 4 and 12.
As part of Game 17, Washington will take on another AFC opponent, this year the Cleveland Browns — who arrive on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. with new quarterback Deshaun Watson FedEx Field. This will be Washington’s penultimate game, as they end the season at home against the Cowboys on Jan. 7 or 8.
On paper, Washington’s toughest period may be midseason, starting with the Oct. 23 games against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. After that game, Washington traveled to Indianapolis to host the Minnesota Vikings — Kirk Cousins’ first since leaving FedEx Field in 2018 — before heading to Philadelphia.
But things seemed to get a little easier after that. The Commanders’ next four games are in Houston (Nov. 20), Atlanta (Nov. 27), New York (Dec. 4) and the Giants. Each of these teams has top-10 draft picks and is projected to once again be one of the worst teams in the league.
After facing the Giants for the last time in 2022, the commanders will play a road game against the San Francisco 49ers on Christmas Eve. Christmas is on a Sunday this year, so the league will play most of its games on the Saturday before — although the NFL will have three Christmas games this year.
Washington won’t play on Christmas, nor on Thanksgiving — which is a little surprising, given that the Commanders have played on the holidays in four of the last five seasons leading up to 2021. Washington also didn’t play on Thanksgiving last year.
Typically, the NFL season begins on Thursday, September 8, when the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams take on quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.
Washington’s 2022 schedule
Week 1, September 11: Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 2, September 18: Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 3, September 25: Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 4, October 2: At the Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 5, October 9: Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Week 6, October 13: Chicago Bears, 8:15 p.m. (Amazon Prime Video)
Week 7, Oct. 23: Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 8, October 30: Indianapolis Colts, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Week 9, Nov. 6: Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 10, Nov. 14: Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Week 11, Nov. 20: At the Houston Texans, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Week 12, Nov. 27: Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 13, Dec. 4: At the New York Giants, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Week 14, December 11: Goodbye
Week 15, Dec. 17 or 18: New York Giants (TBD)
Week 16, Dec. 24: At San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Week 17, January 1: Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 18, Jan. 7 or 8: Dallas Cowboys (TBD)