The Commanders shouldn’t lose until they play the Eagles again

The Commanders shouldn’t lose until they play the Eagles again

The 4-0 Eagles needed OT to eke out a win against the Commanders.
Photo: Getty Images

What is it about when Washington plays in Philadelphia? They have an even record at Lincoln Financial Field over the last four years and I get that’s not impressive by itself. The Eagles have been one of the NFLs best teams over the last few seasons and dominant against the NFC. The public meeting place for the City of Brotherly Cheesesteaks football team should be a fortress. No one should be able to tarnish what The Linc should be — seven wins a year, minimum. If there’s one consistent visitor to Philadelphia that doesn’t seem fazed by the castle off Pattison Avenue, it’s Washington. Yes, that name-changing, can’t-find-a-great quarterback Washington that trips getting into the stadium, but looks like a well-oiled machine inside it.

The Eagles survived yesterday. Some of the worst clock management from a good team I’ve ever seen didn’t sink their chances of winning somehow. Philadelphia should’ve had its unbeaten run two seasons in a row end at home to its NFC East division rival from south on I-95. Losing two seasons in a row at home with one of the best defenses in football to Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell isn’t what most would have predicted, but the Commanders looked like a playoff team yesterday. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t be this season, despite any noise they’re still too young or don’t have enough talent. Being in the best division in football won’t hinder that either.

After beating two of the worst teams in the league to start 2-0, the Commies have lost their last pair of games, getting shellacked by the Bills as consolation for Super Bowl XXVI 31 years later, and Sunday’s effort to the Eagles. One was a toss out the tape and make sure it’s incinerated and never lay eyes on it again because you played so bad effort. The other clearly showed Washington either learned a bunch of lessons from that horrible showing and improved or last week’s drubbing was an aberration. And it really doesn’t matter, because the Commanders are the best 2-2 team in the league. Yes, better than the Rams, Packers, and all of the AFC South.

And here’s the weird part — Washington has a good chance of still being at two losses the next time they play Philadelphia on Oct. 29. Only a Thursday night clash with the winless Bears, as well as games against the Falcons, and Giants separate it from its next test against da Birds. Three winnable games, heck, three games the Commanders should be favored in. And the circle of mediocrity can be broken for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since before I was Bar Mitzvah’ed. That’s 2005 for people not named Bruce.

This Commanders team is different, and you’ll have to excuse me for thinking highly of a team that rid itself of Daniel Snyder. What a weight off everyone’s shoulders that is. And looking at Washington’s roster, the only criticism I can see is that it’s not elite at any given thing. And that could cost the Commanders a football game in crunch time. At the opposite end of the spectrum (not that one Philly), where’s the hole? Howell has looked decent, the team’s backfield is good, the wide-receiving corps is underrated, and the offensive linemen don’t have two left feet. And Washington’s front seven is one of the best in the NFC. The secondary somehow is improving too. Here’s the Commanders’ chance on a silver platter to avoid purgatory and get the inside track to the postseason. If Sunday was how well they can play against one of the best, Thursday should be a breeze against one of the worst.

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.