There are serious playoff implications on the horizon this weekend, and the Washington Commanders will enter the pivotal NFC East matchup with the New York Giants healthier than they have been in several weeks.
Defensive ends Montez Sweat and James Smith-Williams, along with guard Trai Turner, will all be active in the primetime matchup. What's more, multiple players with questionable designations have a good shot of being available to offer major contributions.
Sweat and Smith-Williams, who were dealing with concussions, started the week as limited but were upgraded to full participants for Thursday and Friday. Their presence should provide a boost for a defensive line that did manage to sack Daniel Jones four times two weeks ago but also allowed the quarterback to slip through their pass rush and scramble for 71 yards on 12 carries.
Washington's succxess on Sunday will be heavily dictated by how well it can contain Jones in the backfield.
"Daniel has done a nice job," Rivera said. "He's an elusive runner. He's got a good arm, can make pretty much any of the throws. We've gotta be able to counter him."
Turner, who missed the previous game against the Giants with knee and ankle injuries, has had a solid week of practice and will return to an offensive line that paved the way for Washington to rush for 165 yards. Sam Cosmi, who left the Giants game with an ankle injury, will be active as well and will provide depth behind Turner and Cornelius Lucas.
Washington had several players with limited designations throughout the week, but there is little to no concern about most of their availabilities for Sunday. The list includes Antonio Gibson, Andrew Norwell, Brian Robinson, Cam Sims, Chase Young and Benjamin St-Juste. Sims is listed as questionable
St-Juste is listed as questionable for Sunday, but the cornerback had a full week of practice for the first time in three weeks. Should he be active, he will be a valuable piece for the secondary, as his size and physicality have allowed him to contain opponents' No. 1 receivers.
Young is questionable once again this week, although Rivera did say that the defensive end looked more confident in his workouts during the bye week. The Commanders have continued to take a cautious approach with him, but having him would certainly add another weapon to the pass rush.
"So, when we get the green light, we'll go, and until then we'll just keep working hard," Del Rio said. "I think that's the hard part, dealing with the anxiousness and really wanting to be back mentally, but it has to be there. And so, when it is, we'll unleash him."
Of course, Young wants to be on the field helping his teammates, but he is trusting the process and waiting patiently for his moment to come.
"I'm confident," Young said with a smile. "I'm a confident guy. Ain't nothing gonna ever break me down. I'm gonna keep smiling, laughing, being the loudest dude in the locker room and keep on going. And when I'm on the field, I'm on it."