After a bad loss to the Detroit Lions the Commanders return to FedEx Field to face their closest NFC East Rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. There are numerous storylines that of course start and end with Carson Wentz. Last season the Eagles swept Washington with a tough Tuesday night game in Philadelphia when covid wrecked the roster and a close loss at FedEx Field 20-16. The Eagles have trended up since then with a solid offseason and a hot 2-0 start. The Commanders on the other hand have improved at certain areas (quarterback and wide receiver), but has gotten worse in others. The Eagles are definitely the favorite today. Here are my three keys for Washington to pull the upset.
1. Be the Aggressor
In their opening game the Commanders Offense came out as the aggressors and dictated the game to the Jaguars. Last week against the Lions were the aggressors and took control by halftime. Philadelphia has come out strong in both of their games with their speed and ingenuity. If this game is destined to be a shootout then the Commanders offense needs to be aggressive. Scott Turner waited until halftime to make adjustments and the offense responded with 27 points. Let’s do that from the start to keep the pressure on the Eagles. Wentz 325 yards passing and 3 touchdowns
2. Limit Big Plays
There is a saying that says slow and steady win the race. That also applied to football when the game was run based. Now offenses are more about tempo and the passing game. The Lions took control last week with a few big plays over the top. The defense, while needing to be aggressive, also need to be smart and not give up big plays. Stifle the energy of the Eagles and make them have to do long drives.. The Vikings did a good job of that in the second half against the Eagles but that game was out of hand. Defense hold the Eagles to under 300 total yards.
3. Seize the Crowd
The Philadelphia Eagles fans are notorious for coming to FedEx Field in huge numbers. This year they have buses and planned tailgates to make the crowd green. Washington had a great crowd in the opener and they really made it hard on Jacksonville to operate. If Washington can be the aggressors and have some big plays, the crowd will shift towards them. That will be important as I expect a close game. The crowd being 60/40 or more towards the Commanders
I expect a much better game from Washington than last week and not the explosion that the Eagles opened Monday Night with. I see a shootout but the Eagles are the better team at this point so I see them winning the game. Eagles 38, Washington 31