There are nine teams with 2-0 records after Week 2 of the NFL season. Since 1990, 171 of 268 teams (63.8%) to start a season 2-0 have made the playoffs, compared to only 41.8% of clubs to start 1-1. The Washington Commanders are the biggest surprises of the unbeaten teams but also have by far the longest playoff odds among them at +230 (equates to roughly 30%) at DraftKings with No at -300.
Commanders fans may not want to make Super Bowl 58 plans yet as their team has won its first two games by a combined six points over winless Arizona and Denver. The Commanders trailed the Cardinals by six entering the fourth quarter in Week 1 and trailed the Broncos 21-3 in the second quarter on Sunday, but rallied for a 35-33 victory to start 2-0 for the first time since 2011. It was the second-biggest comeback win in franchise history as Washington overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Detroit on Nov. 4, 1990.
Washington looked very solid on paper everywhere but at quarterback entering the season because the jury was still out on 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell. The former North Carolina star is now 3-0 as a starter (he won a meaningless Week 18 game last season) and has completed 65.7% of his passes this year for 501 yards, three touchdowns and a pick for a rating of 95.0 that is 12th in the league.
Howell is the fourth quarterback in Washington history to win his first three starts in the Super Bowl era, joining Billy Kilmer (1971), Ed Rubbert (1987) and Todd Collins (2007). Howell is 10th in passing yards, 11th in passing touchdowns and sixth in completion percentage among quarterbacks with at least 70 passing attempts. The Commanders couldn't possibly have asked for more. They also have outscored opponents 34-15 in the second half.
Clearly, the vibe is very different around the franchise with reviled owner Dan Snyder having sold the team to a group led by Josh Harris this summer.
"It just feels different," Washington tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. "And I said that last week. I'm telling you it feels different. I just feel like this team, we're resilient. We just find ways to win. It doesn't matter what the score is, doesn't matter what the situation is. It's all about getting a W."
Ron Rivera was considered to be on one of the hottest seats in the NFL but seems safe for now – although one book still lists him as a +400 second-favorite to be the first coach fired this season behind the Chargers' Brandon Staley (+200). Sunday was Rivera's 100th career regular-season win, the eighth active coach to reach that mark, and he got a game ball from Harris. Rivera is +3500 to win NFL Coach of the Year for a third time.
The franchise has not started 3-0 since 2005, also the last season it won a playoff game. Washington hosts the Buffalo Bills on Sunday as a 6.5-point underdog. It's not sustainable to win games by four or fewer points and the schedule now gets much tougher. The Commanders' updated over/under win total is 7.5, up from an open of 6.5.
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