NFL Win Totals: Can Jayden Daniels Power the Commanders Past Seven Wins?

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NFL Win Totals: Can Jayden Daniels Power the Commanders Past Seven Wins?

It's been quite the trip around the sun for the Washington Commanders.

They've had a 14-month stretch that some fanbases across sports can only dream would happen. Toxic owner Dan Snyder sold the franchise to a group led by Josh Harris, a managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

From there, Harris' group led the Commanders' first full offseason under their reign to powerwash the franchise from the stale mess that hasn't won a playoff game since 2005. They hired Adam Peters (formerly of the San Francisco 49ers) as the team's general manager, and Peters, in turn, brought former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn over as head coach to build an impressive staff that includes former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

All of those men also added stability and leadership to the sport's most important position, selecting Jayden Daniels with the second pick in the 2024 NFL Draft after last year's 4-13 season.

With all of these new pieces in place, it'll be hard to be worse than they ended last season. The NFL win totals at FanDuel Sportsbook expect 6.5 wins at an average for Washington in 2024. Will they exceed that projection thanks to the upgrade in talent, or will growing pains get the best of them?

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Washington Commanders 2024 Win Total Odds

Washington Commanders Over/Under 6.5 Wins

  • Over: -115
  • Under: -105

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +290
Odds to Win the NFC East: +1000
Odds to Win the NFC: +5000
Super Bowl Odds: +12000 (27th-best)

Key Offseason Coaching Changes:

  • Dan Quinn (Head Coach)
  • Kliff Kingsbury (Offensive Coordinator)
  • Joe Whitt Jr. (Defensive Coordinator)
  • Larry Izzo (Special Teams Coordinator)

Why Washington Could Win Over 6.5 Games

  • Jayden Daniels Contends for Rookie of the Year
  • Criminally Underrated Skill Players
  • Dan Quinn Maximizes Defensive Talent

Washington's 2024 viability pretty simply comes down to their new rookie quarterback.

If Jayden Daniels is a bonafide difference-maker, Washington is in a similar position to the 2023 Houston Texans. The coach -- transitioning over from a successful defensive unit -- can keep that side of the ball afloat while Daniels takes everyone on Washington's offense to the next level similar to how C.J. Stroud did for Houston.

The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner certainly could. Facing SEC competition, Daniels completed 72.2% of his passes and averaged 8.4 yards per rush. Oddly enough, his skillset is incredibly reminiscent of Washington's last ROTY winner: Robert Griffin III. RG3 propelled the franchise to a 10-6 record that season.

Daniels will have help, too. The Commanders added Austin Ekeler and Zach Ertz to their existing high-upside wideout tandem, "Scary" Terry McLaurin and 2023 first-round pick Jahan Dotson. For all of the struggles with inefficiency and sacks, Sam Howell did post 4,115 yards passing last year with them.

Defense was really the crippling aspect of the Commies' season in 2023. They were numberFire's worst overall defense with no relative strength, per a bottom-five ranking against both the rush and pass. Quinn's arrival from the Cowboys -- top five each of the last two seasons in nF's rankings -- likely came with that in mind.

While Washington dealt both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, Quinn still has pieces with which to work. Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne return up front with new teammates Dante Fowler Jr. and Jer'Zhan Newton in the fold. Veteran Bobby Wagner could also be vital against the run.

There are so many new pieces and faces that have (or could have) success in the NFL. If things gel together quickly, Washington could surprise in a division that routinely spits out new front-runners.

Why Washington Could Win Under 6.5 Games

  • Daniels' Worst College Traits Win Out
  • Significant Offensive Line Issues
  • The Secondary Doesn't Improve

Despite all of the college statistics and accolades, Daniels is no "sure thing" to be a productive NFL quarterback right out of the gate.

Many scouts believe Daniels has issues with short-to-intermediate accuracy, and his slight frame and occasional lack of ball security will be an issue at the pro level. Obviously, early struggles from their quarterback will likely torpedo Washington's chances of winning a decent amount of games as a rebuilding franchise.

Plus, while J.D. is flush with skill personnel, his protection up front seems to be a massive issue. Third-round rookie Brandon Coleman will replace Charles Leno Jr. on his blindside, and this was Pro Football Focus (PFF)'s 24th-ranked offensive line a year ago. Daniels' mobility could help, but his willingness to extend plays could also lead to sacks and turnovers -- similar to Howell's 2023 season.

A huge issue for the Commanders also appears to lie in their secondary, which -- as mentioned -- comprised of numberFire's worst adjusted pass defense a year ago. They added Jeremy Chinn in free agency, but Chinn's 51.6 PFF grade in coverage last year doesn't inspire much hope.

This 6.5-win total for Washington is definitely an aggregated assessment of one of the widest range of outcomes for a team in the NFL. Picking on the weaker NFC, Washington could erupt into the playoff conversation if Daniels indeed turns in a similar season to RG3's in 2012. However, their roster does seem especially weak on paper with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys likely to be heavy favorites in 4 of their 17 scheduled contests, and it's a tough ask to expect a rebuilding team to go 7-6 in the rest of them.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.