Keeping these players quiet will be key for the Washington Commanders in their Week 9 road game against the New England Patriots.
Not so long ago, a trip to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots would have been considered the toughest away day in football. But things change quickly in the NFL.
The Patriots are no longer a dynasty since quarterback Tom Brady left town in 2020. Therefore, the Washington Commanders should be confident about beating a 2-6 team, despite their problems.
Ron Rivera saw defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat shipped out of town before the trade deadline. The head coach can adjust his defense without its primary pass-rushers, but he still needs to be mindful of a workhorse running back and a rookie wide receiver already drawing double coverage.
As for Washington's offense, coordinator Eric Bieniemy is already aware of the challenge posed by the hybrid defense called by Bill Belichick. The latter's flexible schemes will be the toughest test yet for inexperienced quarterback Sam Howell, particularly if he's unable to avoid a hulking defensive tackle who can create pressure in a hurry.
With that being said, here are three Patriots players the Commanders must keep quiet in Week 9.
Commanders must double-team Christian Barmore
He's not always the most consistent, but third-year defensive lineman Christian Barmore can dominate when fully focused. Big No. 90 is proving more disruptive this season, logging three sacks and six pressures in eight games, after notching just 2.5 quarterback takedowns and nine pressures in 10 contests last year.
Barmore is fast becoming the Patriots' most effective pass-rusher while stud edge defender Matthew Judon is out with a biceps injury. It was the Alabama product who made plays against both phases of the Miami Dolphins' high-powered offense in Week 8.
His multiple alignments at Hard Rock Stadium were highlighted by Evan Lazar of Patriots.com.
Wherever he lines up, the Washington Commanders need to assign more than one blocker to handle Barmore. Otherwise, he has the scope to wreck this contest to their detriment.
Washington's defense might need a similar collective approach to handle the next player on the list.