Washington’s COVID issues allow for the Eagles to dominate the ground game
Between injuries and a massive COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, the Washington Football Team is at a severe disadvantage on Sunday when they face the Philadelphia Eagles.
As of yesterday afternoon, there are 17 players out for Washington due to COVID, with a large number unlikely to return this week. There are injuries and positive cases at every position, but the most devastating inactives have been on Washington’s defense.
Washington’s front seven is the backbone of their entire team, and they have been hit arguably the worst out of any position groups on the team. Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, James Smith-Williams, Tim Settle, Matt Ioannidis, Casey Toohill, Chase Young, and Jalen Jelks are currently out due to COVID or injuries. Add six linebackers into that, and the Football Team is missing 14 players in their front seven.
Washington’s Rushing Defense in 2021:
|Rushing Yards||Yards per Carry||Touchdowns||Yards per Game|
|1,217 (5th)||4 (5th)||9 (5th)||93.6 (5th)|
Of their original starters at linebacker and defensive line, just three of the seven remain, and yet they had still been successful. Against Dallas, Washington allowed 122 yards rushing, but just 3.5 yards per carry. However, they have lost several significant players like Jonathan Allen since that game.
So while they looked good these last few weeks, there’s a good chance the Eagles’ rushing attack blows through the Washington Football Team on Sunday. Philadelphia is getting healthy, with no players missing from practice to start the week. Jordan Howard, Jalen Hurts, and Miles Sanders are all expected to return after missing their last game or exiting early due to injury.
The Eagles’ rushing attack is so dominant at this point that they can still be efficient against a strong defense. For example, Philadelphia ran over New Orleans for 242 yards during their week 11 victory. According to PFF, the Saints’ stout defense wasn’t a façade either, still being ranked the 2nd best in the league.
Washington is depleted across the board, so the Eagles could likely pick them apart on offense however they’d want, but running the ball seems the most ideal. It allows the Eagles to stick to their strengths while getting Jalen Hurts back into the swing of things. Hurts hasn’t played in nearly three weeks and could use an easy confident-boosting game after his showing against the Giants.
Even if Sanders, Howards, or Hurts cannot play or are limited, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell should do a fine job. Gainwell averaged 4.5 yards per carry for the Eagles against the Jets, while Scott had 4.3 YPC against the Giants.
It also makes sense to attack through the ground as the Football Team’s healthiest position group is their secondary. Their only significant absence is cornerback Kendall Fuller. If the Eagles have an easy layup game plan to secure a playoff spot, it’s a no-brainer to use it to their full advantage.
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo