Eagles-Commanders Player Matchups to Watch Week 3

The Eagles (2-0) are on the road to face the Washington Commanders (1-1) in an NFC East battle in Week 3.

Here are some of the key matchups to watch:

Terry McLaurin vs. Darius Slay

Slay is coming off a masterful performance against Justin Jefferson that earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. But it won’t get any easier in the third week of the season when he faces McLaurin, who has topped 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. McLaurin is also off to a good start in 2022 with 6 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in the first two games. He was 4-for-75 in Week 2 against the Lions.

Slay has been very complimentary of McLaurin dating back to their first matchup in 2019. Slay was impressed by McLaurin as a rookie and that hasn’t changed.

Here’s what Slay had to say about McLaurin in 2020:

“I just know the type of player he is and the talent he has at a young age,” Slay said. “Like I said, I think he’s a very talented guy, he can stretch the field, he does it well and he competes on every play. That’s what I learned from him mostly, during the game and then watching him this offseason.”

Over the past two years since Slay joined the Eagles, these two have had their battles, but Slay has really kept McLaurin in check when he’s been with him. By PFF:

Week 1 2020: 3 targets, 2 catches, 28 yards

Week 17 2020: 1 target, 1 catch, 3 yards

Week 15 2021: 3 targets, 2 catches, 51 yards

Week 17 2021: 2 targets, 2 catches, 20 yards

Of course, it’s not all McLaurin anymore. Washington has a much better group of skill players for this matchup, including Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson. So even if Slay takes care of McLaurin, the Eagles will also need James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox to play well.

Carson Wentz vs. Jonathan Gannon

The Commanders fan base is only two games into the season and they are already getting the full Carson Wentz experience. He makes some of the best and worst plays the quarterback position has to offer. In two games, Wentz has 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He can beat you, but defenses can also help him make mistakes.

The version of the Eagles defense we saw against Kirk Cousins ​​and the Vikings was very refreshing. They challenged Cousins ​​by blitzing and playing more man coverage and Cousins ​​ended up seeing ghosts. Cousins ​​threw three interceptions and that number could have been considerably higher.

In 2021, Gannon’s defense feasted on terrible quarterbacks and got roasted by bigs. They’re looking at middle-of-the-pack QBs in 2022 and should probably treat Wentz the same way they did Cousins. Know that he can beat you, but take him off his game and force him to make mistakes.

Commanders iOL vs Eagles DL

The Commanders have lost starting center Chase Roullier (on IR) to a knee injury suffered against the Lions. The plan is to move guard Wes Schweitzer to center, but Schweitzer has been dealing with a hamstring injury this week. A few days ago, the Chiefs signed former Texans and Raiders center Nick Martin, who could be forced into action this week if Schweitzer can’t hold up. Martin wasn’t signed until Tuesday, so it would be a pretty quick turnaround. Even though Martin has 62 NFL starts under his belt, that’s still a lot to ask.

And that comes on the heels of some pretty good play from the inside for the Eagles. Fletcher Cox had one of his best games in recent memory and Javon Hargrave got a lot of pressure on Kirk Cousins ​​Monday night to force a big interception. If Washington gets hurt inside that line, the Eagles could take advantage.

Eagles iOL vs. Commanders DL

If you look at Washington’s defense, the first thing that really stands out are their two Alabama defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Remember, former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young is injured and will miss this game. But Allen is arguably the Commanders’ best player and is coming off his best pro season in 2021. Last year, Allen had a game-high nine sacks and 30 QB hits. Their previous highs of 8 and 15 came in 2018.

For the most part, Allen lines up at the right defensive tackle spot, which means he’ll be matched up against fellow Alabama tight end Landon Dickerson. They were never teammates at Bama, but they faced each other last season when the Eagles and Commanders met twice in three weeks.

The Eagles’ quick attack against the Commanders’ run defense

Through two games, the Commanders have given up 314 yards on just 42 carries. That 7.5 average is the worst in the NFL. Guess who has the second worst average? The Eagles have given up 6.2 yards per attempt, but at least they really looked to clean things up against the Vikings after they were shut out by the Lions in Week 1.

Washington, meanwhile, gave up 6.8 yards per carry in Week 1 and 8.0 yards per carry in Week 2. And remember, the Eagles rushed for 356 yards in those two games against Washington last season.

FedExField against the inevitable passage of time

Let’s hope the rails hold this time.

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