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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Washington Football Team

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Washington Football Team rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 5 roundup for Washington in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

Biggest surprise: Defensive struggles

Why it's a surprise: Washington ranked second in yards and fourth in points last season. It boasted a top young line, the defensive rookie of the year (Chase Young) and added parts in the offseason through free agency (corner William Jackson III) and the draft (linebacker Jamin Davis, corner Benjamin St-Juste). But after four games, they rank 29th in yards allowed and 30th in points. It's not just about having a harder schedule, it's about playing -- and coaching -- poorly. There has been a big blown coverage assignment every week and they're not applying enough pressure (sacks on 4% of dropbacks compared to 7.8% last season). Quarterback Taylor Heinicke -- another surprise -- has bailed out the defense. When he became the starter, the belief would have been for the opposite scenario. -- John Keim

NFL.com -- Rank: 23

With each passing week, Taylor Heinicke builds the case that he deserves the starting quarterback job, regardless of Ryan Fitzpatrick's availability. Heinicke led Washington on back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth quarter on Sunday, turning a 30-22 deficit into a 34-30 win over the Falcons in Atlanta. He ended the day with 290 yards passing while leading the Football Team to scores on four of their five second-half possessions. With the Washington defense continuing its surprising disappearing act (where have you gone, Young & Sweaty?), Heinicke is being asked to keep his team's season afloat. So far, so good.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 20

They won a game at Atlanta, but the defense still has major issues. That unit was supposed to be carrying this team, but it's not come close to that.

USA Today -- Rank: 20

DE Chase Young has zero sacks and his vaunted D-line mates have a total of six. An offensively challenged team needs far more support.

The Athletic -- Rank: 21

Plenty can still happen between now and Ryan Fitzpatrick's return, which is expected to come at some point in November, but it's fair to wonder whether Taylor Heinicke will have done enough by then to hold on to the job. That's no disrespect to Fitzpatrick, but if Dallas is beginning to run away with the division by then, would it make sense to stick with the younger Heinicke if he keeps making crazy Fitzpatrickian plays like his game-winning touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic?

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