Which San Francisco 49ers players do the Washington Commanders need to keep quiet to have any chance of scoring a huge upset at FedEx Field in Week 17?
Jacoby Brissett's belated ascension to starting quarterback can't prevent the Washington Commanders from being huge underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17. The veteran may make better decisions with the football, but they will count for naught if Ron Rivera's defense cannot control running back Christian McCaffrey and another dual-threat playmaker on offense.
The Niners are just as loaded on defense, thanks in no small part to the deal the Commanders made to trade Chase Young for a third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Commanders can't let Chase Young run riot
Chase Young is making all the right noises about his approach to this game, but the player drafted No. 2 overall in 2020 undoubtedly has a point to prove. Namely, how the Washington Commanders were wrong to let him go so soon.
Trading Young and fellow defensive end Montez Sweat left the Commanders with a non-existent pass rush. The last thing head coach Ron Rivera needs is to let the edge presence he couldn't develop run riot.
Young has 2.5 sacks and six pressures since joining the San Francisco 49ers, so he'll be a considerable problem for a faltering Commanders offensive line. The former Ohio State star's threat is compounded by the presence of All-Pro Nick Bosa, the dominant force on their defensive front.
They know how to wreck the pocket from both sides, the way they did against Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10.
Young is a threat, but the Commanders know his weaknesses. Namely, how his technique is sloppy. How he'll rush at a wide angle and leave an off-tackle running lane a mile wide.
Young's also had issues completing plays and turning pressures into sacks. Rivera and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy should have more than a few ways to exploit the erratic edge-rusher.