The Washington Football Team faces a must-win matchup in Week 6. Unfortunately for them, they’ll lock horns with a Kansas City Chiefs side that is fresh off getting their teeth kicked in at home against the Buffalo Bills.
If we know anything about how that organization operates, it’s that its chomping at the bit to avenge that humbling result.
That puts Washington squarely in their crosshairs. If there’s a silver lining to be had for Ron Rivera’s side, however, it lies in the fact that the Chiefs aren’t the unstoppable wrecking ball fans have grown accustomed to.
Through five games, they sit at 2-3. Patrick Mahomes has been uncharacteristically careless with the football, and their defense might be the only unit in the NFL that’s been worse than Washington’s this season.
You know what else bodes well for the Football Team? The Chiefs, like Washington, are struggling with injuries. So much so, in fact, that a total of six players were absent from Wednesday’s practice.
That star-studded group includes defensive lineman Chris Jones, offensive guard Joe Thuney, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, linebacker Anthony Hitchens, cornerback Charvarius Ward and tight end Blake Bell.
Kansas City’s lengthy injury report offers hope for Washington leading up to Sunday’s game.
It’s worth noting that Hill, who’s dealing with a quad contusion, isn’t likely to miss Sunday’s contest. However, the fact the All-Pro wide receiver is dinged up in any capacity is a win in our book.
Jones, who’s one of the best defensive players in the league, let alone defensive linemen, is still battling a wrist injury that sidelined him in Week 5. The Chiefs sorely missed his presence along the defensive front against Buffalo, as Josh Allen was able to do whatever he wanted both inside and outside the pocket.
Over the last two seasons, Jones has compiled 72 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 48 QB hits, eight pass deflections, and three forced fumbles. If Washington doesn’t have to account for Jones on Sunday, well, chalk that up as another win.
Thuney, meanwhile, was a surprise absence after he played 100% of the snaps in Week 5. The $80 million guard reportedly suffered a broken hand on the first series of that game and proceeded to play every snap. That’s impressive, but it doesn’t necessarily confirm that Thuney will dress on Sunday, either.
If Thuney is ruled out, that should open up real estate for Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis to get pressure on Mahomes.
Those are the three main takeaways, obviously. However, Hitchens is someone to keep an eye on, too. The 29-year-old vet has played 78.6% of the defensive snaps this season. He’ll be missed if he’s unable to go.
It might seem like we’re grasping at straws here, but that’s anything but the case. When you face a team as high-powered as the Chiefs, you have to take any advantage leading up to the game and run with it.
Though Hill is expected to play, Kansas City potentially missing Jones and Thuney would be a huge deal. Those are two of the better players on their roster and they’re desperate to turn their season around.
It’ll be up to Washington to exploit these advantages on Sunday, but this should no doubt offer hope ahead of what figures to be a tough game to win.