No. 2: Washington Commanders
Since 2012, the Washington Commanders have finished with a record above 50 percent only three times, four if you include last season's 8-8-1 finish. Even with star defensive end Chase Young, you can expect the same thing from Washington in 2023.
The Commanders certainly have some talent sprinkled throughout their lineup. On defense, they’re led by Young, and occupying the corner is cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. On offense wide receivers Curtis Samuel and “Scary” Terry McLaurin. However, with this talent, they still don’t stack up to the other teams in their division.
Can this be considered a trap game? Sure, based on the schedule. San Francisco will visit the nation's capitol in Week 17 just before it finishes off the season against the Rams. As we’ve seen over the years, divisions and conferences can be won in the final few weeks of the season.
Assuming this season goes according to plan, the 49ers should be in the clear with the NFC West and in contention with the Philadelphia Eagles and other top NFC teams. San Francisco learned that having the extra bye week in the playoffs and home-field advantage is truly needed.
The Niners can’t take Washington lightly this late in the year if they want any chance of a long playoff run.