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USA Today Sports Media Group
Bryan Manning

6 stats and facts to know for Commanders vs. Patriots in Week 9

The Washington Commanders will look much different on Sunday when they face the New England Patriots in Week 9 action. On Tuesday, the Commanders traded starting defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young.

While those on the outside think Washington is in rebuilding mode, that’s not the case. The Commanders played a good portion of the 2021 season without Sweat and Young and went 5-2. Washington played sound defense and relied heavily on the running game during that stretch without Young and Sweat.

The Commanders are looking ahead to the future while still battling for an NFC wild-card berth in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Patriots enter Sunday’s game in a much different position than the last time they played Washington. The last time these two teams played, Tom Brady was still under center for New England, and the Commanders were the Redskins.

Here are six stats and facts for the Week 9 matchup.

Bill Belichick vs. young QBs

Belichick is not the coach young quarterbacks want to face. The future Hall of Fame coach often throws the kitchen sink at young passers. Sam Howell makes his 10th career NFL start on Sunday vs. the Patriots. Belichick has been known to make life difficult for legends like Peyton Manning, so Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will need a creative game plan to keep Howell upright and comfortable.

Commanders lead the all-time series

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) scrambles from Washington Redskins defensive end Matthew Ioannidis (98). Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders lead the all-time series, 6-5, but haven’t won a game in this series since 2003. Believe it or not, the last Washington coach to defeat the combination of Tom Brady and Belichick was Steve Spurrier. The two teams last met in 2019, with the Patriots winning 33-7. Washington fell to 0-5 on that day, and it is remembered as Jay Gruden’s last game as the franchise’s head coach.

Patriots will be without their best wide receiver

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84). Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Kendrick Bourne leads the Patriots with 37 receptions, 406 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, Bourne injured his knee last week and is now lost for the season. This is a massive blow for an offense that was already struggling to move the ball. DeVante Parker (concussion) could also miss Sunday’s game.

Patriots QB Mac Jones is struggling

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10).

There is constant debate surrounding Howell and if he can be Washington’s franchise quarterback. Yet, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is in his third NFL season and is struggling badly. Part of Jones’ struggles are related to the talent around him, but not all. Check out these numbers, courtesy of Peter Bukowski.

The Commanders vs. Ezekiel Elliott

New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15). Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders know Elliott all too well after his eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott had plenty of success vs. Washington over the years. In 13 career games against the Commanders, Elliott has 935 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns. He splits time with Rhamondre Stevenson for the Pats.

Casey Toohill gets his chance

Casey Toohill #95 of the Washington Commanders hits Desmond Ridder #9 of the Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Defensive end Casey Toohill gets his chance to replace the departed sack production of Sweat and Young. Look, no one will argue that Toohill can replace the explosiveness of Sweat and Young, but he and James Smith-Williams are no slouches. Smith-Williams started for Young throughout the time he missed with a knee injury. Toohill has four sacks this season in a limited role. He can play.

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