The Washington Commanders’ strongest unit was their defense. Even without Chase Young, the group is crowded, athletic, and reliable. Above Monday Night Football tonight They’re going up against a team that has one of the strongest front lines in the NFL – the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
In their Week 3 game, injuries cut the depth of the Commanders’ defense with three players sidelined, including sacked current leader Daron Payne. Fighting the two starting defenders didn’t work in that game either, and the Eagles took out the Commanders after halftime. They didn’t run well, but Jalen Hurts was an excellent passer, throwing 340 yards and three touchdowns. Carson Wentz is the opposite. He averages 4.9 yards for each pass and throws without touching the ball even though his team is trailing 24-0 after halftime.
That ugly 24-8 loss was part of a four-game losing streak that helped the Commanders start the season 1-5, but they’ve been playing much better lately. They have won three of their last four games and last week became one of many teams scratching their heads after a one-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
What caused this change was their defense. According to DVOA (Defense Adjusted Average), they have the 12th best defense in the NFL and 2nd in running. They are also one of only two teams in the NFL to have five players total three or more eliminations during the season.
That passing fever happened to Cousins in Week 9 ahead of the Vikings. Had the Commanders not been called up for an illegal contact during a long penalty kick at the end of the fourth half, they would have received the ball back at home, with less than two minutes remaining and only three points down.
The Commanders’ defense hasn’t dropped more than 20 points since a 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. A fierce performance in Week 6 in Chicago forced the Bears to reevaluate their entire offensive plan. their success after 12-7 losses, and became one of the most explosive units in the NFL.
Since their big win in the Eagles Sunday Night Football League over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, they’ve faced the Houston Texans, the Pittsburgh Steelers (without TJ Watt) and had a BYE week. The fact that they’re the only unbeaten team left in the NFL is impressive, but they haven’t played in the elite league since before the NBA season ended. Now, the Eagles are up against an opponent of the same rank who have met them once and are a much stronger team than they were in September.
Of course, the Eagles have a huge advantage when it comes to attack, with much better midfield play and a strong attack. The Command team hasn’t been able to run the ball continuously all season and their starting midfielder is now Taylor Heinicke.
But the Commanders have one thing in common: attacking with the Eagles. They also have two dynamic players with wide reception with Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel Jr. If the Commander’s defenses block the run like it did with the Eagles in Week 3 and can do a better job of blocking the Injury with better health than the body to throw at him, this could be the week that Dai The eagle finally caught the L in the loss column.