Updated: May 6
By Adam Aniba
Washington heads into a pivotal NFC East matchup vs the 8-0 Eagles on Monday Night Football. Washington sits at 4-5 with the Giants improving 7-2 and the Cowboys right behind at 6-3. It's clear that it's a must win at Lincoln Financial Field. Another loss would put the Commanders at 0-3 in the NFC East, severely hurting any chance of a potential wildcard.
The defense has been the strength of the team, while the offense has struggled to score points with playcalling being a major issue. Turner's offense has only mustered 17 points in back-to-back games and face another another tough challenge.
Attempting to move the ball against the opportunistic Philadelphia defense, won't be easy with a struggling offensive line.
Washington's Week 3 loss wasn't even as close as the 24-8 box score shows. Wentz was sacked 9 times, throwing zero TDs with multiple near interceptions. in all honesty, the Eagles should have put up closer to forty points in the win,
Washington's defense has come a long way since the loss, but will need help from a struggling passing game, in order to have any chance of upsetting the Eagles.
Heinicke will face the Eagles this time around and will need to utilize every weapon at his disposal. All eyes will be on Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, but the return of rookie playmaking receiver Jahan Dotson could be the spark needed to get the offense on track.
In his first 4 games, Dotson recorded 12 receptions for 152 yards and scored 4 TDs (long of 40 yards). His impact in the red zone came as a surprise to many.
Although Heinicke is limited as a downfiled passer, Dotson has displayed the ability to win his matchups.
The PSU WR has thrived in the short/intermediate receiving game and can be dangerous after the catch. His ability to beat defenders and high point receptions make him a ideal weapon for Heinicke, despite their limited time working together.
Heinicke and Dotson received good news ahead of the MNF matchup. It was reported that starting slot corner Avonte Maddox will miss the game with Josiah Scott replacing him as the starting slot CB.
Maddox has been impressive this season recording 1 int, 3 passes defended, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 forced fumble and a fumble recovery through 6 games as the Eagles starting slot. In comparison, Scott will be making only his 3rd career start in three seasons and will be tasked with covering Samuel/Dotson.
Philadelphia will undoubtedly stack the line of scrimmage often, virtually daring Heinicke to test the Eagles defensive backs. Although it'll be key for Washington to establish the run, having Dotson available gives the Commanders a much needed edge. The receiver trio of McLaurin, Samuel and Dotson could limit the Eagles ability to sell out on passing situations.
Although coaches could limit Dotson's snap count, having him back in red zone situations provides the offense with an explosive option, that could turn the tide in Philadelphia.
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