Kickoff: The Patriots host the Washington Commanders today at Gillette Stadium. Washington comes in with a record of 3-5. The Commanders lost to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, 38-31. Washington blew a double digit lead in the loss. New England lost to the Dolphins 31-17 dropping their record to 17-42 all-time in Miami.
Four Downs: (Four keys to the game)
1. Throw the ball early: Washington traded away both Chase Young and Montez Sweat this week so their pass rush is a shell of what it was. The Patriots need to come out and throw the ball early and often. The offensive line should have a much easier time with this Washington defensive line.
2. Script 20 touches for Douglas: The Patriots will now have ample opportunities to get Demario Douglas touches with the injuries at receiver. Douglas should get carries on jet sweeps, touches on perimeter screens and in the passing game obviously.
3. Multiple sack day for the defense: If you thought the Patriots offensive line was bad, Washington’s might be worse. Quarterback Sam Howell has been sacked 41 times this season. The Patriots will have plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback in this game. When they do, they have to finish. Make Washington play from behind on a consistent basis.
4. Play like the better team: It is hard to say the Patriots are the better team. On paper, they might not be but they are certainly good enough to win this game and if they play well, they should.
Extra Point: The Patriots and the Commanders will meet in the regular season for the first time since a 33-7 Patriots win at FedEx Field on Oct. 6, 2019. The Commanders will make their first visit to Gillette Stadium for a regular season game since a 27-10 Patriots win on Nov. 8, 2015.
Oddly enough, the two teams have played 23 times in the preseason but have only played 11 times in the regular season. The Commanders lead the series 6-5 but the Patriots have won the last four meetings.
The Patriots are 3-4 all-time at home against Washington, including 2-0 at home against the Commanders at Gillette Stadium.
Final Drive: The Patriots could use a win ahead of next week’s trip to Germany. A win would help the mental psyche of this team and fan base, a loss and you might start seeing bags over heads at the next home game. We have reached that point folks.