Washington Commanders schedule 2024: Takeaways, predictions

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ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Commanders' 2024 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate on Wednesday.

Washington's fans will have to wait one week before getting a glimpse of new quarterback Jayden Daniels as the Commanders begin the season at Tampa Bay. Daniels, assuming he opens the year as the starter, will make his home debut in Week 2 vs. the New York Giants -- and then play his first prime-time game a week later in a matchup of former LSU quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy when he faces the Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow.

Meanwhile, new coach Dan Quinn will face his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, for the first time on Nov. 24 after spending three years there as defensive coordinator. And he'll face the Atlanta Falcons, whom he coached from 2015-20 and guided to the Super Bowl, in Week 17. Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury will return to Arizona, the team he coached from 2019-22, in Week 4. Washington returns to Monday Night Football after a one-year absence, but it does not have a bye again until Week 14 -- the third consecutive year it has a December bye.

Here's what's in store for the Commanders:

Commanders 2024 regular-season schedule

Week 1: Sept. 8 at Tampa Bay

Week 2: Sept. 15 vs. New York Giants

Week 3: Sept. 23 at Cincinnati (MNF)

Week 4: Sept. 29 at Arizona

Week 5: Oct. 6 vs. Cleveland

Week 6: Oct. 13 at Baltimore

Week 7: Oct. 20 vs. Carolina

Week 8: Oct. 27 vs. Chicago

Week 9: Nov. 3 at New York Giants

Week 10: Nov. 10 vs. Pittsburgh

Week 11: Nov. 14 at Philadelphia (TNF)

Week 12: Nov. 24 vs. Dallas

Week 13: Dec. 1: vs. Tennessee

Week 14: Dec. 8 BYE

Week 15: Dec. 15 at New Orleans

Week 16: Dec. 22 vs. Philadelphia

Week 17: Dec. 28/29* vs. Atlanta

Week 18: TBD* at Dallas

*Dates for Weeks 17 and 18 are to be determined

Strength of schedule: .467 (third-easiest)

Over/under: 6.5

Biggest takeaway

Daniels' Commanders career will start with three road games in the first four weeks -- followed by games vs. two of the NFL's best defenses. The Commanders will have a new coaching staff, a new offense and will have at least five new starters on offense compared to Week 1 of 2023. Because of all those changes it could take a minute to mesh into a cohesive passing unit. Daniels' development will be the key to Washington's future; the Commanders can't overburden him early. There will be intriguing quarterback matchups - vs. Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson and Bryce Young in the first seven weeks. Overall, there are some tough stretches -- Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore in Weeks 3-6 -- and finishing vs. the Eagles, Falcons and Cowboys will be interesting. But if Washington wants to make any noise, whether in the division or for a wild-card spot, it'll have to have a strong second half of the season -- five of their final nine games come against NFC East opponents and all but one will be vs. conference teams.

Revenge game

When you finish 4-13 every game becomes part of a revenge tour, but they also have a new coaching staff and a roster that will have turned over quite a bit from last season. Still, we'll point to the Chicago game as the so-called revenge game. Last season, a 40-20 home loss to the previously 0-4 Bears signaled to many in the organization that they would not have the sort of year they had hoped. Coming off a strong showing in a road loss at Philadelphia, the Commanders fell behind 27-3 at halftime en route to a 2-3 record. Both teams have new quarterbacks who also happened to be the first two picks in the draft. Washington will have played seven games by the time these teams meet, but this game can also highlight the growth made by the franchise. And, oh yeah, it's a chance for Daniels to show maybe he should have been the No. 1 pick instead of Caleb Williams.

Bold prediction

Thanks to playcalling and an improved interior line, the Commanders' run game will be successful early in the season with running back Brian Robinson Jr. topping 100 yards twice in the first five games and Daniels doing so once. Of the first six opponents, three ranked among the bottom four run defenses in yards per carry and three were among the bottom seven in rushing yards per game. Also, Baltimore, Arizona and the Giants all ranked among the bottom eight teams in yards per carry allowed by quarterbacks last season.