Which players must the Washington Commanders keep quiet to stand any chance of beating the Buffalo Bills in Week 3?
Hosting the Buffalo Bills represents the biggest challenge that the 2-0 Washington Commanders have faced during the 2023 NFL season so far. Sure, they have been inconsistent at 1-1, but Sean McDermott boasts a loaded roster that is among the class of the AFC.
Buffalo is also fortunate enough to feature three players the Commanders must contain, starting with arguably the most important guy on the field.
Commanders must harrass Josh Allen
There's nothing revolutionary about saying Josh Allen is playing the most important position in football. Every team runs through the success of its quarterback, but few can count on their signal-caller to beat defenses in so many ways.
He's a big-play passer, but Allen's greatest threat comes from his skill as a runner. The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder is no fleet-footed scrambler. Instead, the former first-round pick is like another fullback who can't wait to run through and over would-be tacklers.
If he's not making gains with his legs, No. 17 is throwing on the run and turning seemingly broken plays into soul-sapping reverses for defenses. The Washington Commanders must harass Allen by restricting him to the pocket.
That's how defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's unit kept Russell Wilson under duress during Week 2's wild 35-33 win over the Denver Broncos. Washington's defensive line led the charge, with every member of the starting front four generating five or more pressures, per Pro Football Focus.
Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Daron Payne, and Jonathan Allen need to swarm all over Buffalo's QB1 the same way. They must rush with discipline, though, to prevent Allen from breaking free and exploiting any rushing lanes.
Del Rio would also be smart to assign a spy to Allen. Linebacker Jamin Davis forced a clutch fumble against the Broncos, and he possesses the size and speed to handle the task.
Keeping the heat on Allen will limit his opportunities to find his best receiver.