Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the team.
The Washington Football Team has another measuring stick game against the Kansas City Chiefs for Week 6. Here are three player and position groups who could have key roles this Sunday.
Antonio Gibson has been an undeniable bright spot for the burgundy and gold in his second season, as he leads the team in rushing touchdowns and has been Washington's workhorse back with 313 yards. Gibson has continued to turn out strong performances and should be ready to roll for Sunday's contest against the Chiefs. He's rushed for at least 60 yards in four of Washington's five games thus far.
Ron Rivera and Scott Turner should like the matchup between Gibson and the Chiefs' defense. The Memphis product's talents have the potential to exploit a Chiefs' vulnerability in a big way this weekend. Gibson ranks 12th in rushing yards while last year's Super Bowl runners-up sit third from the bottom of the league in rush defense, allowing 141 yard per game.
The entire defensive line
There's no sugarcoating it: Washington's pass rush has not played consistently to start the season. The unit is currently tied for 24th with nine sacks, but it has made some progress over the past two games. It will need more of that going against the Chiefs' stellar offensive line.
Kansas City's adjusted sack currently ranks as the second-lowest in the league, according to Football Outsiders, and that partly stems from the additions of Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney. Recent performances from Washington's defensive line suggest that the position is up to the challenge. Chase Young’s most recent performance stands as another defensive positive heading into Sunday, as he produced his best statistical outing of the season last weekend, notching seven pressures, five hurries, a sack and a quarterback hit in the loss to the Saints.
Anyone who watched last year's Super Bowl will remember that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was thrown off-kilter by a lot of defensive pressure and brought to the ground five times during that game in a 31-9 loss. If it capitalizes on its opportunities and minimizes mistakes, this undoubtedly talented Washington line can create problems for Mahomes and the Chiefs' passing attack.
William Jackson III
William Jackson III has had some positive moments in his first season with Washington, but like the rest of the defense, he's been inconsistent at several key moments. With the Chiefs' fifth-ranked passing offense coming to FedExField, he'll need to put together an exceptional afternoon.
Jackson was signed by Washington with the hope that he could be a man coverage corner who could follow an offense's No. 1 receiver, regardless of his spot on the field. There have been times when that has worked the way Washington intended; there have also been moments where receivers have gotten the best of him. The team has maintained confidence in Jackson, though, as he gets more acclimated to Washington's system. With each week comes a little bit more comfort and understanding, which, in turn, Ron Rivera has said in talking about the cornerback, comes results.
Washington's secondary will have a tall task on its hands. It will be up against five-time Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill, who is ranked fourth in receiving yards. Getting a handle on the First Team All-Pro will be key to controlling the danger of the Chiefs' passing offense.