Washington has a chance today to win and move to a winning record for the season with this game against New Orleans. It is a showdown of 2-2 teams that have more defined areas of strengths and weaknesses that you can see after four weeks of football. By the numbers, these teams are very close to even with a Vegas spread of only 2.5 points. What is troublesome for the WFT, is that their vaunted defense was supposed to be a strength for this 2021 team, and so far, they are third from last in scoring defense at 30.5 points per game surrendered.
So what does the team from Washington have to do to win today? As always, this is the most obvious answer to outscore the Saints on the scoreboard when this is all done. We are still waiting on Chase Young to step up and be the dominant star on this WFT defense. Young, who is in his second year has to step up with some big plays, and many expected him to dominate this year after being named the Defensive Rookie of the Year from last season. His job is to pressure New Orleans’ starter QB Jameis Winston.
This is Taylor Heinicke‘s offense now, and he returns back to the DC area in front of his home crowd. He has to continue to do what he did last week where he limited the turnovers and made some key TD throws. It really helped that he had Curtis Samuel back on the field, and he had Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic as well as Adam Humphries as four receivers to look to as well as running back Antonio Gibson. While Washington’s tight ends were used more on blocking schemes, expect them to get some open looks today as the WFT spreads the offense with multiple targets. With Gibson as the main running back, the team is looking for him to rack up more yards than they have seen. He only has one rushing TD this year compared to a dozen last year.
The defensive line was supposed to be the best in the NFL this year for Washington. Accountability is great to have but at some point the results have to be there. This is a team that used their 1st round pick, 19th overall pick, to go defense and draft linebacker Jamin Davis who stepped back last week and only was involved with two tackles and missed opportunities. With the injuries in the linebacking corps, we have to see Davis step up.
By the numbers, Washington is the worst third down defense in the league, and they have allowed 59.68% of 3rd down conversions. They have allowed 6.84 yards on 3rd down plays. Additionally, their opponents have a 72.3 completion percentage on 3rd down plays.
The intangibles as we saw last week came from the special teams, and DeAndre Carter who is with his eighth team in his career, showed that he can be a game-changer. His 101 yard kick-off return for a touchdown was the type of play that changes an entire game. Carter should also see a few snaps on offense as he enters as a wide receiver.
WHERE: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland (Washington)
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
SPREAD: Washington -2.5| O/U: 43.5