When the 2022 NFL season began would you have guessed the Week 12 game between the Washington Commanders and Atlanta Falcons would have significant playoff implications? Well, it does, and the Commanders are a little more than a four-point favorite with a chance to win their third game in a row. They have also won five of their past six games to climb back into the Wild Card race.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET Sunday from FedEx Field. The game will be televised on FOX.
While both teams enter the week on the outside of the NFC playoff picture, they are both very much in the race.
Washington finds itself just one game back of Seattle for the seventh playoff spot in the NFC and seems to have found some new life with Taylor Heinicke replacing Carson Wentz. Statistically speaking there is not much separating the performance of the two quarterbacks, but they have still managed to win four of five under him. That includes a 32-21 win to end Philadelphia’s hopes for an undefeated season.
The defense has been a big part of that success in recent weeks, and that defense should get a lift with defensive end Chase Young being activated after missing the past year due to a knee injury. Young still may miss another game as he recovers from the injury that he sustained a year ago.
A win on Sunday would go a long way to setting the stage for a frantic finish in the NFC East where Washington still has two games against the New York Giants and one more against Dallas.
Atlanta, despite its 5-6 record, is still only a half game back of Tampa Bay in the NFC South (with one more head-to-head meeting looming in Week 18) and is still very much alive not only for a playoff spot, but also a potential home playoff game if it can emerge with the top spot in the division.
The Falcons have one of the league’s best running games, but are facing a stiff test against a Commanders team that has the sixth-best run defense in the league. It might be a game where Atlanta needs Marcus Mariota and the passing game to make some plays, but they will not have one of their top passing targets in tight end Kyle Pitts.
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(Photo of Drake London: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)