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Four things to watch for in Commanders-Eagles game on ‘Monday Night Football’

  • WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
  • WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes, NFL+
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After a mini bye week, the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Commanders on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field to close out Week 10 in an NFC East matchup.

The Eagles defeated the Commanders earlier this season, 24-8, in Week 3. However, that game featured former Eagles QB Carson Wentz under center for the Commanders. This time around Taylor Heinicke will be leading the charge for Washington.

In a competitive QB battle, Heinicke could potentially be auditioning for the starting role (Wentz is eligible to potentially return from injured reserve in Week 11). Heinicke has gone 2-1 as the starting QB, while Wentz went 2-4 to start the season before a fractured right finger in Week 6.

One of the MVP favorites from NFL.com’s midseason predictions, Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles are back in action. Nick Sirianni’s well-rounded squad will look to continue their regular-season dominance with Hurts. The Eagles QB has won 11 straight regular-season games as the starting signal-caller with his last loss coming in Nov. 2021. The last QB to go undefeated in games over five consecutive months (minimum one regular season game in each month) was Peyton Manning from Nov. 2008 to Nov. 2009, per NFL Research. Can Hurts continue that trend going?

Here are four things to watch for when the Commanders visit the Eagles on Monday night on ESPN:

  1. Can the Eagles continue their historic season versus Commanders? Philadelphia is off to its greatest start in the franchise’s 90-year history and could become the 23rd team to start 9-0 in the Super Bowl era. If the past dictates how Monday’s matchup could go down, Sirianni’s squads are 2-0 when they have 10 days of rest. In this season’s earlier matchup against the Commanders, DeVonta Smith had a career-high 169 receiving yards and a touchdown against Washington. The Eagles’ air attack could look to feature A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert more this time. In the last meeting, the duo combined for eight receptions posting 111 yards and two TDs. Expect Hurts looking to get his No. 1 wide receiver and tight end more involved on Monday. Entering Week 10, Philadelphia is the only team in the NFL with three players (Brown, Goedert and Smith) recording 40+ receptions and 400+ receiving yards this season. 
  2. Will the Commanders’ defense get a boost? The last time Hurts faced Washington’s defense, the signal-caller threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns posting a 123.5 passer rating in the win. However, this matchup could look different if Chase Young returns from injured reserve for Monday’s game. The 2020 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year has not played since he suffered a torn ACL in Week 10 of the 2021 season. The 21-day window for Washington to activate Young closes on Nov. 22. The Commanders are shorthanded after ruling out linebackers Cole Holcomb (foot) and David Mayo (hamstring) for Monday’s game. Rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson, however is likely to make his return to the lineup after tweaking his hamstring in Week 4 against the Cowboys. In four games this season, Dotson has 12 receptions, 152 receiving yards and four TDs. The Commanders’ ability on defense and offense will be essential in order to compete against the Eagles, who rank top five in total offense.
  3. How much better can the Eagles’ defense be? With Jordan Davis’ ankle injury sidelining the rookie defensive lineman, veteran Robert Quinn looks to get acclimated more into Philadelphia’s defense in his third game. The three-time Pro Bowler has only played in two games since being traded on Oct. 26. Quinn has played in 26 defensive snaps since joining the team and has recorded only one QB hit. While another acquisition C.J. Gardner-Johnson has been looking like a Pro Bowler on defense as of late. The safety has five interceptions in the last four games for Philadelphia’s third-ranked total defense. Philadelphia’s ball-hawking cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry will look to step up more with fellow teammates Avonte Maddox and Josh Jobe dealing with hamstring injuries. The Eagles hope to keep their top five total and scoring defense success going forward as the last time Philadelphia held those ranks it went on to win Super Bowl LII.
  4. Could Monday’s game be a turning point for the Commanders’ season? Despite being in a competitive division and sitting in fourth place, the Commanders are half a game out of a playoff spot in the NFC. The question that lies ahead for Ron Rivera’s team is who will be under center when Wentz returns from injured reserve. Heinicke has shown that he is capable of winning games but Monday’s matchup against the unbeaten Eagles could cause a QB controversy if he can deliver Philadelphia’s first loss of the season. Last season against Philadelphia, Heinicke completed 27 out of 36 passes for 247 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception in Week 17. Washington will look to get back to .500, but the question heading into the prime-time game is: Can the Commanders rally around Heinicke as their QB in Week 10 and possibly beyond?

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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