Eagles vs. Commanders: 5 matchups to watch on defense

The Eagles (8-0) and Commanders (4-5) are set for a much-hated Monday night renewal of one of the NFL’s most intense rivalries.

On offense, Washington offers an exciting mix of talented pass catchers and dual-threat running backs that can test a defense will some holes up front without Jordan Davis in the lineup.

The Commanders will attempt to solve the Darius Slay-James Bradberry connection while using an underused running game to keep Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia offense off the field.

With Monday night fast approaching, here are five matchups to watch.

Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke vs. Jonathan Gannon

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

In Week 2, Gannon emphasized putting pressure on Kirk Cousins and not allowing the Viking quarterback any comfort in the pocket in passing situations.

Heinicke offers the athleticism to counter such a scheme, and that could force Gannon back into that passive defensive approach, allowing the Commanders quarterback ample time in the pocket.

Look for Philadelphia to ramp up the natural pressure while forcing the veteran quarterback to make plays.

Commanders LT Charles Leno Jr. vs. Eagles DE Josh Sweat

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

According to PFF, the veteran left tackle has an 85.8 pass-blocking grade across 397 pass-blocking situations this season.

Josh Sweat is among the top young pass rushers in the NFL, and something has to give.

Commanders WR Terry McLaurin-Curtis Samuel vs. Darius Slay-James Bradberry

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Through nine games, McLaurin has 38 catches for 609 yards and two touchdowns, well on pace for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

In the first matchup against the Eagles, McLaurin had 6 catches for 102 yards, but against Slay in Week 3, McLaurin caught 3 of 6 targets for 36 yards and they’ll shadow each other once again.

In the last three games with Heinicke at QB, McLaurin has averaged 8.3 targets per game.

Commanders WR Jahan Dotson vs. Josiah Scott

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dotson has missed five straight games, but he’ll return and offer an intriguing pass-catching option in the slot.

Josiah Scott will fill the role with Avonte Maddox out, and expect Taylor Heinicke to target this matchup. Dotson caught 12 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns in four games. Dotson still leads Washington in touchdown receptions.

Commanders TE Logan Thomas vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson/Marcus Epps

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The former quarterback turned tight end can offer a dynamic blend of athleticism and size when healthy, and he’ll be a player to watch when matched up with the Eagles’ safety duo.

Thomas finished with no catches on two targets in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Vikings, playing 72 percent of Washington’s snaps on offense.

Thomas has averaged 3.3 catches for 26.5 yards on 5.0 targets over the first four weeks of the season, and he could be a player to watch.

Commanders Trai Turner vs. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington’s line has been solid in pass protection.

Still, they’ve struggled to get a push in the running game and will face an Eagles team with exceptional depth up front and the ability to collapse the pocket up the middle, which will ultimately bother quarterback Carson Wentz.

[listicle id=675349]

[pickup_prop id=”29730″>

Story originally appeared on Eagles Wire