The Philadelphia Eagles are set to face the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field. In order to preview this Week 3 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Hogs Haven. The kind KyleSmithforGM took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming battle. Let’s take a look at the answers. [For my answers to KS4GM’s questions about the Eagles, check out Hogs Haven.]
Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook have all of the odds for this week’s games.
1 - To what extent are Commanders fans satisfied with the Carson Wentz trade so far? Is it likely that he’s their long-term quarterback solution?
It’s only been two weeks, but we’ve already gotten much of the Carson Wentz experience. In fact, Week 1 seemed to be a microcosm of the Wentz rollercoaster ride, with a couple of touchdowns on both sides of an interception extravaganza. He’s already setting franchise TD records, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he breaks the Washington season record (31), held by another former Eagle, Sonny Jurgensen.
So far, he seems to be a pretty good fit with offensive coordinator Scott Turner, and it’s certainly possible to envision him playing his current contract – through 2024 – here, assuming he can stay healthy. That’s still presumptuous though, and as Washington fans, we know that the quarterback carousel is always, potentially, right around the corner. All that said, fans seem to be slowly warming to him, and enjoying the corresponding meltdown in Indianapolis that he seems to have left in his wake.
2 - What’s the bar that Ron Rivera needs to clear to solidify his job security? Does Washington need to at least make the playoffs this season?
There’s near consensus that Ron will get all five years of his current contract – he’s currently in year 3 – if he wants to stay in DC that long. His job security has almost nothing to do with the team’s performance on the field, and nearly everything to do with the fact that the owner is currently doing whatever he can to stay out of the limelight. Firing the well-respected Rivera – who also happens to be one of the few minority head coaches in the NFL, is not the sort of attention that the sniveling Dan Snyder wants for the next couple of years.
A number of us expect it’s possible that Rivera fulfills his contract through 2024 and then graciously turns over the reins to the young Turner when he’s ready for retirement.
3 - What is the Commanders’ biggest strength? How should they be attacking the Eagles?
The Commanders biggest strength, by a considerable measure, is its receiving group. We all know Terry McLaurin, who is a legitimate WR1, but Curtis Samuel seems to be healthy this year, and is already a substantial contributor. Rookie WR and Penn State product Jahan Dotson also appears to be the real deal, and is making his mark as an early contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Add to that group Antonio Gibson, JD McKissic, and Logan Thomas, and you have the best group of Washington pass catchers the team has had in a very long time. They should be attacking the Eagles by distributing the ball quickly into the hands of playmakers underneath in order to open up the occasional deep ball by Wentz. Washington’s offensive line is already beat up, so they shouldn’t be counting on quick developing plays.
4 - What is the Commanders’ biggest weakness? What should the Eagles be looking to exploit?
Without question, Washington’s biggest weakness is its linebacking group, and its defensive discipline more broadly. Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift ate the middle of the Commanders’ defense up last week, and the Jaguars had a fair amount of success against them in Week 1 as well. “Bunch formations” by the Lions caused repeated havoc and confusion last week.
The best way to beat this defense is to look for who has blown their assignment, and delivering the ball to that guy, over and over again. It’s grown very tiresome, and we’re not even into October yet.
5 - Who wins this game and why? With DraftKings Sportsbook listing the Eagles as 6.5-point favorites, what’s your score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Commanders season?
I’m expecting the Eagles to win 35-24, and overall, my prediction is that the Commanders will go 8-9. Incidentally, I have the Eagles winning the NFC East.
For even more Eagles-Commanders crossover coverage, check out my chat with Jamual from Hogs Haven: