The Washington Commanders should be sitting here at 5-4 entering a primetime matchup against the undefeated Eagles. Instead, they blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead in Week 9 despite outplaying the Vikings for most of the game.
That’ll happen when your QB throws an interception to inject new life into the opposition, and you commit some costly penalties in crunch time.
Say what you will about John Ridgeway‘s unnecessary roughness flag that effectively blew the game, but it was the right call by the letter of the law, even if it felt needless given the timing and the fact Washington was playing at home.
Still, that doesn’t change he fact the Commanders were in the driver’s seat against one of the league’s best teams in 2022. The Vikings might exude fraudulent vibes, but you are what you’re record says you are, and right now they’re 7-1 record is the second best in both conferences.
Only the 8-0 Eagles have a better record, and they’re next up for Washington at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football.
The Commanders are a heavy underdog for the game (surprise, surprise) but here are some reasons an upset is possible for Ron Rivera’s side.
3. The defensive line is humming
The Commanders will need more than their defensive line continuing to wreak havoc to upset Philadelphia in hostile territory. But the group — led by Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat — is playing so well right now that its capable of wrecking any game. Look how much they rattled Kirk Cousins on Sunday.
Allen and Payne have received most of the plaudits on the DL, and nobody would argue against that.
However, Sweat’s 89.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus ranks sixth amongst edge defenders, behind Myles Garrett, Maxx Crosby, Micah Parsons, Brandon Graham and Nick Bosa, respectively, and he’s one of three edge rushers who boats 80-plus grades both as a run defender and pass-rusher.
The Eagles’ offensive line presents a stiff challenge, but Allen, Payne and Sweat are in such outstanding form that it wouldn’t be surprising if one of them made a game-changing play, whether it be a fourth down sack, batting a ball that gets picked, or simply making Jalen Hurts uncomfortable in the pocket.
If Washington’s three DL stars show out, they’ll have a chance.