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Week 12 power rankings | Commanders are on the rise


After starting the season with a 1-4 record, the Washington Commanders have won five of the last six games and have playoff aspirations in November. Here is how the national pundits are viewing the team in their most recent power rankings.

Rank: 13
Previous week: 17

John Keim: "Injuries have played a role, to Wentz, Dotson and tight end Logan Thomas. And while they're 4-1 with quarterback Taylor Heinicke, it's more a function of the run game and defense -- and some timely throws by him. But with the protection improving and players getting healthy, the passing game could improve down the stretch."

Athlon Sports
Rank: 11

Previous week: 14

Bryan Fischer: There's a lot to be said about Washington following up a massive road win by getting back on a plane and taking care of business right away down in Houston. And now, here comes Chase Young to add to the mix on defense.

The Washington Commanders have wrapped up their first day of practice this week. Here are the best photos from Wednesday afternoon. (Photos by Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)
Rank: 16
Previous week: 17

Dan Hanzus: "The Commanders are a thing in the NFC playoff race. That's the only reasonable deduction after a 23-10 win over the moribund Texans moved Washington over the .500 mark for the first time since the season-opening win over Jacksonville. That's five wins in six weeks for the Commanders, with four wins in five starts for Taylor Heinicke."

Rank: 15

Previous week: 16

Mike Florio: With Chase Young back, the Commanders could be ready to leapfrog the Giants on the playoff tree.

The Ringer
Rank: 16

Previous week: 18

Austin Gayle: "It's the defense -- which ranks fifth in points allowed per game since Heinicke took over -- that is actually keeping Washington in the hunt."

USA Today
Rank: 16

Previous week: 18

Nate Davis: "Chase Young was activated Monday, though it remains to be seen when he and his surgically repaired knee can contribute to Washington's post-Wentz playoff push."

Bleacher Report
Rank: 16

Previous week: 18

Analysis: "After downing the Texans in emphatic fashion Sunday, the Commanders have won five of six and are above .500 for the first time since winning the season opener. Heinicke has won four of five starts in place on an injured Carson Wentz, and after Sunday's victory head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that regardless of Wentz's health, Heinicke will start next week against the Atlanta Falcons."

The Athletic
Rank: 16

Previous week: 18

Bo Wulf: Ron Rivera's decision to continue riding with Taylor Heinicke was an easy one from the outside. Washington was 2-4 before Carson Wentz was placed on injured reserve with a finger injury. The Commanders are 4-1 in games since, including Sunday's blowout win in Houston. Heinicke is not solely responsible for that turnaround -- the defense ranks fifth in TruMedia's defensive EPA per drive over that span. And now that Chase Young is coming back, the Commanders are real playoff contenders (and just a half-game from the No. 7 seed). But odds are we haven't heard the last from Wentz just yet.

Sports Illustrated
Rank: 19

Previous week: 20

Conor Orr: The Commanders are at the back end of our fringe-contender area.

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