(From left) Montez Sweat, James Smith-Williams, and Jonathan AllenPhoto: Getty Images
The Washington Commanders’ strongest unit is their line of defense. Even without Chase Young, the group is big, athletic, and dependable. On Monday Night Football tonight they will likely be going up against a team with one in every of the strongest offenses within the NFL — the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
Of their Week 3 matchup, injuries cut into the Commanders’ line of defense depth with three players out, including current sack leader Daron Payne. Tack on two starting defensive backs also inactive for that game, and the Eagles KO’d the Commanders by halftime. They didn’t run the ball well, but Jalen Hurts was outstanding as a passer, throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Carson Wentz was the alternative. He averaged 4.9 yards per pass attempt and threw for no touchdowns despite his team being down 24-0 at halftime.
That ugly 24-8 defeat was a part of a four-game losing streak to provide the Commanders a 1-5 begin to the season, but they’ve been significantly better of late. They’ve won three of their last 4 games, and last week became one in every of the numerous teams left scratching their heads after a one-score loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
What has sparked this turnaround is their defense. Per DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), they’ve the Twelfth-best defense within the NFL and are No. 2 against the run. Also they are one in every of only two teams within the NFL to have five players with three or more total sacks on the season.
That pass rush was throughout Cousins in Week 9 against the Vikings. If the Commanders don’t get called for an illegal contact on a protracted snapper penalty late within the fourth quarter, they get the ball back, at home, with slightly below two minutes remaining, and only down three points.
The Commanders’ defense has not given up greater than 20 points since a 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. A ferocious performance in Week 6 in Chicago forced the Bears to re-evaluate their entire offensive scheme after a 12-7 loss, and switch into some of the explosive units within the NFL.
For the reason that Eagles’ big Sunday Night Football win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, they’ve faced the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers (without T.J. Watt), and had their BYE week. The indisputable fact that they’re the one undefeated team left within the NFL is impressive, but they haven’t played elite competition since before the NBA regular season tipped off. Now the Eagles must go up against a division rival that has seen them once, and is a much healthier team than they were back in September.
After all the Eagles have an incredible advantage on offense, with significantly better quarterback play and a powerful rushing attack. The Commanders haven’t been capable of consistently run the ball all season and their starting quarterback is currently Taylor Heinicke.
However the Commanders do share one commonality on offense with the Eagles. Additionally they have two dynamic playmakers at wide receiver with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel Jr. If the Commanders line of defense shuts down the run prefer it did against the Eagles in Week 3, and is capable of do a greater job of containing Hurts with more healthy bodies to throw at him, this might be the week that Eagles finally catch an L within the loss column.