Commanders' third-down battles
The Atlanta Falcons have been pretty good on third downs this season, especially on defense. They are allowing opponents to convert fewer than a third of their tries, which puts them in the top five in the league.
This is not a particular strength of the Washington Commanders' offense under Eric Bieniemy through five games of the campaign - they are currently in the bottom 10 converting on third down. So if they can make plays on third down to extend drives, it should put them in a very good position.
On the other side of the ball, the teams are more evenly matched. Neither Atlanta’s offense nor Washington’s defense is especially proficient on third down. Both are slightly below average, which leaves things hanging in the balance when the two teams square off in Week 6.
This game could well come down to which team is able to win that particular battle - Atlanta’s third-down offense versus Washington’s third-down defense. If the Falcons are able to put together a long drive to begin the game, that is a very bad sign.
Conversely, should the Commanders' defense manage a couple of three-and-outs early on, I like their chances. They should also be highly motivated after being challenged by team captain Jonathan Allen and receiving plenty of criticism from analysts across the country.