Washington will travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals in Week 2 after both teams pulled off surprising comeback wins in Week 1.
What that means for Sunday's action will be determined in large part by a pair of resurgent defenses led by elite pass rushers. How elite? And how will the game unfold? Here are three predictions:
- Chandler Jones is a problem - Chase Young dominated the headlines this week after a 1.5 sack start to his NFL career in the win against the Eagles. Young is a beast, but don't forget about Cardinals DE Chandler Jones. For the last five seasons he's posted at least 11 sacks per season, and last year he logged 19 sacks. That's wild production. This week Jones could feast against Geron Christian, who underwhelmed in his first chance as the starting left tackle against Philadelphia. Expect Jones to get to Haskins in Arizona, and depending on how often it happens, that could make a major impact in this game.
- More for McKissic - J.D. McKissic lost two yards rushing on three carries against Philly. He was targeted five times in the passing game and made one catch for one yard. Those numbers are awful, and they need to change dramatically for the Washington offense. The Arizona defense could struggle with pass-catching running backs, as last week the Cardinals gave up four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown to 49ers RB Raheem Mostert. Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner wants to get McKissic going in the pass game and when that hits it could open up more opportunities for chunk plays downfield.
- Bringing down the QB - Washington found great success last week attacking Eagles QB Carson Wentz, bringing him down for eight sacks and controlling the line of scrimmage. This week the challenge is different in Kyler Murray, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick and a lightning-quick target to bring down. Ron Rivera has had success doing just that though as last year his Panthers defense notched eight sacks against Murray in a Week 1 win. That might be too much to expect on Sunday, but bringing down Murray needs to be part of the Washington defensive game plan. In nine games when Murray has been sacked three or more times, the Cardinals are 0-8-1, not to mention Murray was sacked 48 times last year, tied for the most in the league. Get to Murray, get to the Cardinals.