Throughout the Dan Snyder Era, the Washington Football Team has lived on the struggle bus. They have had only two winning seasons in the last decade, which also happens to be when they last won their division and made the playoffs. But you must go back to 2005 for their last playoff win.
Expectations for this season are low, which explains why they have such high odds of winning anything. Conventional wisdom would say that they are the last team anyone should bet on (odds via WilliamHill.com):
- Super Bowl: +20000
- NFC Conference: +10000
- NFC East: +1500
- To make the playoffs: Yes +650 No -1000
- Best regular-season record: +15000
- Worst regular-season record: +600
- Win total: O/U 5.5
However, conventional wisdom would not be taking one thing into consideration. While Dwayne Haskins is the future of the team at quarterback, he will not be the starter this season. That honor will go to the next Comeback Player of the Year winner, Alex Smith.
After 17 surgeries and hours of therapy, Smith has been declared healthy and been taken off the PUP list. His family has celebrated his return to action, and the team has posted videos of him throwing on Twitter.
He looks good.
Assuming he can take a hit without breaking in half, head coach Ron Rivera will hand him the starting job. There may be a ‘competition’ in name between him and Dwayne Haskins, but the job will go to Smith. He’s a veteran quarterback with a solid track record. When he last played, he led a Washington team with even less talent on it to a 6-4 record before getting hurt.
Haskins should never have played last season, and Rivera can correct that mistake by having him sit this season. As long as Smith can take a hit, few will question the move. With him running the offense—assuming he can still play—Washington could win a few games.
But enough to win anything? Maybe.
So—how should you bet?
If you already haven’t, erase any insane notions of Washington making it to the Super Bowl or even the NFC Conference Championship game. They will be better than expected with Smith running the offense, but not that good.
Don’t bank on them to win the NFC East, either. But with the Cowboys and Eagles not always measuring up to expectations, betting on them to win the division at +1500 has value. Just don’t gamble much since they will likely lose this one.
Will they have the best regular-season record? Not even close. At best, they could go 9-7, which could be enough to squeeze into one of three wildcard spots and make the playoffs (so, take the over on their win total).
But if Haskins ends up getting the job, go ahead and put something down on Washington to have the worst record. Do not bet too much, though. The outlook is not great for the Carolina Panthers or Jacksonville Jaguars, either.