Washington places Taylor Heinicke on COVID list; what that means for WFT in NFC playoff race

Another team in contention for the playoffs will play this weekend with their starting and backup quarterbacks.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Washington has placed Taylor Heinicke on the COVID-19 list. Kyle Allen was included on the list earlier in the week. The team signed Garrett Gilbert out of the New England practice team, Schefter reported.

The placement of Heinicke and Allen on the COVID roster is a huge blow to the team, as it will raise the team’s total players on the COVID roster above 20. Including Heinicke, there are 12 starters who will not be available for the game. Sunday against Águilas.

What does this latest announcement mean for Washington in the midst of its playoff hunt? Sporting News breaks it down.

What does the absence of Heinicke, Allen mean for Washington?

It goes without saying that a team that loses its starting quarterback is a huge blow. Heinicke has been successful as a starter for Washington this season, guiding them to a 6-6 record in their starts with a 66.5 completion percentage, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with 2,931 passing yards. He also rushed 55 times for 297 yards and a touchdown.

Now, not only will he not be able to play, but it seems unlikely that his substitute will be able to adjust as well.

As things stand on Friday, Washington, at 6-7, currently ranks seventh in the NFC playoffs. However, Sunday’s game could go a long way in deciding who is in the final spot, as four other teams are 6-7, including the Eagles, who are played by Washington.

With Heinicke unable to don the suit Sunday given the timing of his donning, Washington has only a handful of options. Allen could potentially get off the roster before the game, which would be the ideal situation for Washington. Otherwise, the starter will be Gilbert, Kyle Shurmur or Jordan Ta’amu, according to Schefter. The team is not expected to make a decision until Sunday.

Gilbert has only started one game in his NFL career, beginning with Dallas on November 8, 2020, against the Steelers. Gilbert completed 55.3 percent of his passes with 243 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 24-19 loss. Neither Shurmur nor Ta’amu have appeared in an NFL game.

Not having an experienced quarterback in center will certainly hurt Washington. The Eagles enter the game having allowed rival teams the 23rd fewest passing yards in the NFL this season at just 2,952.

How high is the stakes for the playoff race? Very high. Five thirty eight it gives Washington just a 27 percent chance of making the playoffs as it stands on Friday, and it has the Eagles at 37 percent. A victory for the Eagles raises them to a 50 percent chance of making the playoffs and reduces Washington to 13 percent. A Washington win gives the soccer team a 55 percent chance of making the playoffs and puts the Eagles at just 10 percent.

Chance to make the playoffs
Washington Philadelphia
Coming in on sunday 27% 37%
If Philadelphia wins 13% fifty%
If Washington wins 55% 10%

According to Tankathon, Philadelphia and Washington are tied for the 18th toughest remaining schedule by opposite winning percentage. Philadelphia plays Washington, the Giants, Washington and the Cowboys to end the year. Washington plays the Eagles, Cowboys, Eagles and Giants to end the season.

NFL teams have been hit hard by COVID-19 this week, with the league recording the most positive tests in a single day on Monday with 37, according to Schefter.

Washington, in particular, has lost multiple players, as he and the Browns are the only two teams with at least 20 players on the COVID roster.

The soccer team has seen five of its top six defensive linemen placed on the roster. Jonathan Allen, James Smith-Williams, Casey Toohill, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle are all on the roster and are not expected to play.

However, the latest additions to the list have decimated Washington’s offense. Along with Heinicke and Allen, both starting center Tyler Larsen and backup Keith Ismael were added to the roster, joining starting right tackle Cornelius Lucas there.

However, the Eagles only have wide receiver Quez Watkins and running back Jason Huntley on the COVID list.