3 reasons Commanders should be taken seriously in NFC playoff race
By Jerry Trotta
1. Defensive line is elite
Another staple of playoff football is elite defensive line play, and Washington’s front four is playing as good as any in the entire NFL. You could argue Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat each deserve to make the Pro Bowl. That won’t happen, but everyone and their mother in Washington knows it’d be a deserved honor.
In the first half alone on Sunday, each of Allen, Payne and Sweat recorded a sack, bringing their respective totals to 5.5, 6.5 and 5.0 for the year.
In the process, the Commanders became the only team in the NFL with multiple interior defensive linemen who have five or more sacks in 2022. Washington also joined the Cowboys and Titans as the only teams to have three players with five or more sacks, barring the rest of the weekend’s results.
Not only have Allen, Payne and Sweat never clicked like this before since they became teammates, but Chase Young could rejoin the mix next week. While Young will likely be on a pitch count, he still has the talent and explosiveness to make plays.
There’s no greater reason Washington should be taken seriously in the NFC playoff race than its defensive line. If two of Allen, Payne and Sweat don’t make the Pro Bowl, the league should be ashamed. Best trio in football right now.