clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Commanders vs Minnesota Vikings Preview: 3 matchups to watch

The Washington Commanders host Kirk Cousins and the Vikings

Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders have won three games in a row and are still at the bottom of the NFC East with a 4-4 record. The three teams Washington has defeated on this streak have a combined 9-14-1 record. Their next two opponents are a combined 14-1. Head Coach Ron Rivera knows this is the measuring stick to see where the team stands at the halfway point of the season.

Week 9 is a home game, and also a welcome back game for former Washington franchise QB Kirk Cousins. He left via free agency 5 years ago and is still trying to lead the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl. Washington comes in as the home underdog. You can check out the odds for this one courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Matchup 1: Kirk Cousins vs Washington’s defense

Washington fans are very familiar with the good and the bad that comes with Kirk Cousins. He can make all the throws, but can make some mind-numbingly bad mental mistakes at the worst times. Cousins has the lowest QBR(49.7) he’s had since he has been a full-time starter. He currently has 1,734 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs, and 2 Fumbles(1 lost). That puts him on pace for a 4,117 yard, 27 TD, 12 INT, and 5 Fumbles(2 lost) season.

Washington has been successful at getting pressure on QBs, and that will have to continue this week to get Cousins rattled and force him to make mistakes. Cousins has been sacked 14 times this season. Washington is averaging slightly higher than that with 2.6 per game. Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne have been a great tandem this year and will need to be in Cousins face throughout the game.

Matchup 2: Washington’s RBs vs Vikings defense

The Minnesota Vikings defense has allowed the 8th fewest yards per game(107.6) in the league entering Week 9. Their 4.2 YPC average is good enough for 12th in the NFL. Washington’s running backs will continue to be Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson. J.D. McKissic is out with a neck injury, so either Alex Armah or Jonathan Williams will be active as a third RB.

Antonio Gibson had been getting less touches for several weeks, but last week Gibson and McKissic both out-touched Robinson. Washington has been trying to expand Gibson’s role in the offense. He has 520 yards from scrimmage along with 4 TDs. Robinson was shot twice in late August and missed the first 4 games while recovering. He has 188 yards from scrimmage and 1 TD in the 4 games he’s played. A big game from this duo would make life a lot easier on Taylor Heinicke.

Matchup 3: The Snyders vs the home crowd

Sell the team chants/signs/shirts have been very noticeable during home games. Fans were showing up with bags on their heads(removed by security for safety) and booing Co-CEO/owner Tanya Snyder. This week the Snyders confirmed reports that they are pursuing a potential sale of the team. Washington fans celebrated the news and made plans for a parade/block party/bar crawl in D.C. when the sale actually happens.

Sunday is the fans first home game since the announcement, and should be a good look at what’s to come for the rest of the season. Dan Snyder has attended every game this season, and plans on continuing to attend as long as he is the owner. Expect a healthy does of sell the team chants/signs/shirts and booing if the Snyders are brought up in the stadium during the game.