The Washington Commanders’ strongest unit is their line of defense. Even with out Chase Younger, the group is huge, athletic, and reliable. On Monday Evening Soccer tonight they are going to be going up in opposition to a group with one of many strongest offenses within the NFL — the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
Of their Week 3 matchup, accidents reduce into the Commanders’ line of defense depth with three gamers out, together with present sack chief Daron Payne. Tack on two beginning defensive backs additionally inactive for that recreation, and the Eagles KO’d the Commanders by halftime. They didn’t run the ball effectively, however Jalen Hurts was excellent as a passer, throwing for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Carson Wentz was the alternative. He averaged 4.9 yards per move try and threw for no touchdowns regardless of his group being down 24-0 at halftime.
That ugly 24-8 defeat was a part of a four-game shedding streak to offer the Commanders a 1-5 begin to the season, however they’ve been significantly better of late. They’ve received three of their final 4 video games, and final week grew to become one of many many groups left scratching their heads after a one-score loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
What has sparked this turnaround is their protection. Per DVOA (Protection-adjusted Worth Over Common), they’ve the Twelfth-best protection within the NFL and are No. 2 in opposition to the run. They’re additionally certainly one of solely two groups within the NFL to have 5 gamers with three or extra complete sacks on the season.
That move rush was throughout Cousins in Week 9 in opposition to the Vikings. If the Commanders don’t get referred to as for an unlawful contact on an extended snapper penalty late within the fourth quarter, they get the ball again, at house, with slightly below two minutes remaining, and solely down three factors.
The Commanders’ protection has not given up greater than 20 factors since a 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. A ferocious efficiency in Week 6 in Chicago pressured the Bears to re-evaluate their whole offensive scheme after a 12-7 loss, and switch into one of the crucial explosive items within the NFL.
For the reason that Eagles’ huge Sunday Evening Soccer win in opposition to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, they’ve confronted the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers (with out T.J. Watt), and had their BYE week. The truth that they’re the one undefeated group left within the NFL is spectacular, however they haven’t performed elite competitors since earlier than the NBA common season tipped off. Now the Eagles need to go up in opposition to a division rival that has seen them as soon as, and is a a lot more healthy group than they have been again in September.
In fact the Eagles have an incredible benefit on offense, with significantly better quarterback play and a powerful dashing assault. The Commanders haven’t been capable of persistently run the ball all season and their beginning quarterback is at present Taylor Heinicke.
However the Commanders do share one commonality on offense with the Eagles. In addition they have two dynamic playmakers at vast receiver with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel Jr. If the Commanders line of defense shuts down the run prefer it did in opposition to the Eagles in Week 3, and is ready to do a greater job of containing Hurts with extra wholesome our bodies to throw at him, this may very well be the week that Eagles lastly catch an L within the loss column.