By Conor Perrett
To finish off Week 10 of the NFL season, we have an NFC East matchup that has a fierce rivalry dating back to 1934.
Washington and Philadelphia do not like each other one bit and the Commanders will be making the trip to Philly on Monday Night Football hoping to hand the Eagles their first loss of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-0)
Power Rankings – 1st
DVOA Rankings: Offence – 4th, Defence – 3rd, ST – 23rd: Overall – 1st
The Eagles continued their unbeaten run with a dominant win against the Houston Texans last week and can look to extend their lead in their division to three games with a win tonight. With the Buffalo Bills losing two in a row , Philadelphia can now take the crown of the best team in football as they steamrolled through every opponent they’ve faced so far.
Philly are strong on both sides of the ball and have shown dominant performances up to date. No one man has had to carry the can, as they have talent all over the field. The secondary on this defence though has been playing lights out all season, shutting down all receivers corps that have come against them. Darius Slay and James Bradberry might be the top duo of corner-backs in football at the moment and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, added in the off-season, jointly-leads the league in interceptions with five.
Washington are no slouches in the passing game with the weapons they possess on the outside, but if there’s one true area they might want to attack it will be the run game up the middle.
The Eagles have stayed pretty healthy all year but one injury that might impact them is nose-tackle Jordan Davis. The 2022 Georgia product weighing in at 341 pounds is an unmovable machine in the middle, but he was missed last time out after Dameon Pieces ran for 139 yards at 5.1 yards per carry last week. There’s still talent at that defensive tackle spot with Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, but they will have to up their performances against the run.
Washington Commanders (4-5)
Power Rankings – 22nd
DVOA Rankings: Offence – 28th, Defence – 14th, ST – 4th: Overall – 24th
After a horrendous start to the season with Carson Wentz at the plate, Washington has got their season back on track with trusty back-up Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders have some weapons to fear on offence with ‘scary’ Terry McLaurin and speedy rookie Jahan Dotson returning from injury, as Heinicke has risen them to 19th in offensive DVOA over the last three weeks.
But we’ve spoken about how good this Philly secondary is and it will be a tough ask for this improving passing attack. If Washington wants to do damage then Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson will have to run well in between the tackles, something they’ve struggled to do this season.
The real matchup for this game will be Washington’s defensive-front up against the Eagles offensive line. Both units may be each team’s best assets, and every snap should be a battle in the trenches. Deron Payne and Jonathan Allen have combined for 10 sacks this season, including five in the past four games.
Interior pressure is an underrated advantage when it comes to games in the NFL and if the Commanders can continue to do that, then they might stand a chance. The winner of this matchup will have a heavy impact on the outcome of this game, as keeping Miles Sanders in check and Jalen Hurts in the pocket will be the first step to an upset win.
Week 3 – Eagles @ Commanders, 24-8 Eagles Win
As seen from the previous meetings, Eagles have dominated this NFC East rivalry winning their last three meetings and nine out of the last 11 games against each other.
The Eagles enter this game as 11 points favourite as their big Week 3 win should play a part to that. Seven weeks is a long time in the NFL world though, as since then Washington has improved on both sides of the ball.
The Houston Texans created a game-plan for the rest of the league to follow on how this Philly defence can be vulnerable. The only problem is that it doesn’t suit how Washington wants to play. Their run game ranks 24th in offensive EPA, as the running backs have exploded catching out of the backfield instead of in the rushing lanes.
While this Washington defence has been good, especially against the run, I don’t know if they can step up in the passing game as well to shut down one of the best offences in the league. With a night-time Philly crowd roaring on, the Eagles might just have too much for the Commanders, as they edge ever closer to a double-digit undefeated record
Commanders 17-24 Eagles