The Washington Football Team is just one day away from their season and home opener against Philadelphia. Here are three keys to the game to secure a victory over the Eagles:
1. The defensive line has to rush Carson Wentz.
Washington's defensive line is one of the strongest positions on the team because of its depth. Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat are expected to wreak havoc on offenses this year.
Heading into week 1, guard Brandon Brooks and left tackle Andre Dillard both have serious injuries, forcing the Eagles to come up with an alternative starting line.
If Washington can take advantage of these injuries and push past the makeshift offensive line all while sticking to defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s mantra of focusing on results, they should find success in targeting Wentz and putting him on the ground.
2. Utilize the running game.
Another group that has no shortage of depth is the running back position. J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson have proved themselves to be a versatile duo, and Gibson believes they "could be a problem" for defenses.
Fans can expect to see McKissic and Gibson being utilized in the backfield and as pass catchers because they were both receivers in college. With no preseason games, opponents have not been able to see how these running backs will operate under new offensive coordinator Scott Turner, which leaves room for this group to surprise the Eagles' defense.
3. Good communication in the secondary.
Washington faced Philadelphia for the season opener in 2019. During that game, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson created problems for Washington's defense. Jackson had eight receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns, which was partly a result of poor communication in the secondary.
This year, Del Rio made it a priority every day to improve communication on defense. Del Rio said Tuesday that every player on the defensive side of the ball knows their role, knows how to execute it and will get it done quickly.
Washington has strong leaders in the secondary like Landon Collins. A key part to the defense's success will be veterans communicating with younger players if they want to be successful against the reigning NFC East champions.