The Washington Commanders (7-7-1) face the Cleveland Browns (6-9) on Sunday, with a familiar face back under center.

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera announced Wednesday that Carson Wentz would return as the starting quarterback and replace Taylor Heinicke, via Washington Football on FanNation. Heinicke came in to replace Wentz after he suffered a finger injury on his throwing hand in Week 6 against the Chicago Bears.

Heinicke, threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns before he was benched in Saturday's 37-20 loss against the San Francisco 49ers (11-4). As a starter in 2022, Heinicke led the Commanders to a 5-3-1 overall record during his nine-game run atop the quarterback depth chart.

After stepping in for Heinicke, Wentz finished the game against the 49ers with 12 completions, 123 yards and a touchdown.

Entering week 17, FiveThirtyEight has Washington's odds of clinching a postseason berth this season at 29%.

Here are 3 things that need to go right for Wentz and the Commanders to make the 2022 NFC playoffs

Convert In The Red Zone

Washignton's offense has scored 23 or more points twice in the past eight games. None of those have been in the past five.

The Commanders red zone offense has been the primary dilema. In Heinicke’s eight full starts, Washington ranked 13th in total yards but 26th in the red zone and 27th on third downs. Their 32-21 win against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, Nov. 14, is the highest point margin the Commanders have put on the scoreboard all season. In those 32 points, the Commanders reached the end zone twice, while in the red zone on two 75+yard drives.

Washington needs to convert and put-up touchdowns in the red zone, rather than relying on the leg of kicker Joey Slye.

Open Up The Passing Attack

With Wentz under center, the identity of Washington's offense won’t change much, but the ability to have a more diverse passing attack will.

In the nine games with Heinicke, Washignton threw 29 or fewer passes four times in the 5-3-1 stretch. The Commanders offense relied heavily on the legs of rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who has amounted to 710 yards and two rushing touchdowns this season.

Robinson has rushed for 348 yards and a 4.77 yards per carry average in the past four games. With the former Alabama standout running back stacking up those statistics, coupled with Wentz's strong arm, it will set up Washington’s play-action attack.

NFC Rivals Lose

Washington went winless in December, but will still have a chance to qualify for the NFC playoffs this weekend if a few other games swing in the Commanders favor.

Above all, Wentz and the Commanders need to win Sunday against the Browns. If Washington is able to secure the win, although a longshot, the Commanders can clinch a postseason berth this weekend and find themselves back in the playoffs since losing in the Wild Card Round in 2020.

A Commanders victory in week 17, along with losses from the Detroit Lions (7-8), Green Bay Packers (7-8) and Seattle Seahawks (7-8) will clinch the seventh seed in the 2022 NFC playoffs.

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