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Week 16 Power Rankings: Where Washington Stands Entering Panthers Game

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The Washington Football Team defense prepares for a play against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 20, 2020. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team)

Despite a close loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Football Team remains in great position to win its first NFC East title since 2015. Here's how Washington ranks among the other teams ahead of Week 16.

ESPN

Last Week's Ranking: 18

Current Ranking: 15

Most Underrated Star: RT Morgan Moses

John Keim: "There are a few deserving players, but all of them have received attention, whether that's P Tress Way, TE Logan Thomas or RB J.D. McKissic. Even DT Jonathan Allen, who warrants more praise, is part of a decorated D-line group. But Moses is having arguably his best season coming off one of his worst. He rededicated himself to training in the offseason and reported to camp in excellent shape, and his play has benefited. On a line that has dealt with numerous injuries, Moses has been a rock. Because of multiple injuries to others, Moses also started two games at left tackle and played well as Washington won both."

NFL.com

Last Week: 15

Current: 15

Dan Hanzus: "Dwayne Haskins got the start in place of an injured Alex Smith on Sunday, and for the first half, it felt like more confirmation that Washington erred badly by selecting Haskins in the first round of last year's draft. But Haskins improved as the game progressed, leading the team on two second-half touchdown drives before taking Washington deep into Seahawks territory with a chance to win in the final minute. A trio of Seattle sacks on that last possession squashed hopes of a dramatic comeback, but Washington held its own against another quality opponent. If Ron Rivera's team can close out the NFC East, we're likely to see a similar game script play out in the postseason: Washington's defense throwing sand in the gears of a powerful offense while praying for enough production from the other side of the ball."

Bleacher Report

Last Week: 14

Current: 15

NFL Staff: "Washington's recent win streak had vaulted it into first place in the NFC East, but beating the Seahawks would do more than just get it to .500 on the season. It would help to establish the WFT's legitimacy as a tough out in the postseason. That didn't happen. Washington fell behind the Seahawks 20-3, and its comeback attempt came up short.

"The game exposed some realities about this team. Washington's defense held Seattle's high-octane offense to only 302 yards on the day and 5-of-12 on third down. But Washington's offense isn't built to play catch-up, particularly with starting quarterback Alex Smith and running back Antonio Gibson sidelined. Now, Washington has precious little margin for error atop the NFL's worst division. Fortunately, the WFT closes the season with a home date against the Carolina Panthers and a road game against the Philadelphia Eagles."

The Washington Post

Last Week: 15

Current: 16

Mark Maske: "Everyone can dial back the talk about what a tough playoff opponent Washington might be if it manages to reach the postseason. This will be a .500 team, at best. And while the defense is formidable, the offense remains limited. Dwayne Haskins simply isn't ready to win a meaningful game, as he was asked to do Sunday while filling in at QB for Alex Smith."

CBS Sports

Last Week: 16

Current: 17

Pete Prisco: "Even with the loss to the Seahawks, they are atop the NFC East. They should have Alex Smith back this week against Carolina."

NBC Sports Washington

Last Week: 15

Current: 16

Ethan Cadeaux and Ryan Homler: "Washington can win the division this week, and the team put up a fight against a talented Seattle team. In order to finish the job, the team will most likely need Alex Smith back."

Sporting News

Last Week: 17

Current: 18

Vinnie Iyer: "Washington did its best to beat the Seahawks with tough defense against Wilson and better than expected play from Dwayne Haskins. But the lack of offensive firepower remains evident with the injuries, leaving no margin for error in trying to take the NFC East."

Sports Illustrated

Last Week: 17

Current: 18

Jenny Vrentas: "Love the continued fight from Ron Rivera's bunch. He's getting everything possible out of his roster. This week, it wasn't quite enough. But the Football Team is coming along."

USA Today

Last Week: 15

Current: 15

Nate Davis: "Former Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas has developed into a bona fide NFL tight end this season, basically as good as any of his NFC peers in 2020."

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