Giants (10-5) vs Redskins (8-6-1)
The Washington Redskins notched another win last Saturday in Chicago. That 41-21
victory kept them on pace for a possible playoff spot.
The Giants could have
qualified for the playoffs last week with a Thursday night win in Philadelphia.
A 24-19 loss kept that from happening until other teams playing on the weekend
gave them that opportunity.
- Eagles Wrap-Up
They won the division title last
year, but were not able to repeat. Considering that no NFC East division champion
team has repeated since 2004, it fits the norm. They would be more disappointed
if they could not make a playoff appearance, and right now the Giants who are
already in, block their way. When the two teams first met this season, the Giants
were 2-0 and the Redskins were 0-2. The Redskins won that matchup 29-27 and went
on to win three more. Now Washington needs to beat the Giants once again and channel
that same momentum to get them deeper into the playoffs than where they finished
last year, after a one and done. As long as
the Packers and Lions don’t tie, the Redskins would be the NFC's sixth seed with
a win over the Giants on Sunday.
Cousins broke out of his early season slump in that first game with the Giants.
Coming in after two straight opening losses, he had thrown one touchdown and three
interceptions. Cousins left MetLife Stadium with a win after passing for two touchdowns,
while averaging about 8.5 yards a pass. Currently the Redskins rank second both
in completions of 20 or more yards, and in total passing yards per game. Pierre
Garcon leads the team with 75 receptions. He and DeSean Jackson are close to topping
over 1000 yards each on the season. Jackson suffered a jaw injury during Saturday's
win in Chicago, but he still finished with over 100 yards receiving for the fourth
time in five games.
The running game features rookie Robert Kelly, who has
rushed for 671 yards and six touchdowns. Kelly became the starting running back
in Week 8, and he has made a major impact. Last week Kelly ran for 76 yards though
limited by a knee sprain, but behind their strong offensive line, the Redskins
ran the ball for a total of 208 yards. Assisting on that effort was Mack Brown,
running for 82 yards, which included breaking a 61 yarder for a touchdown. Cousins
contributed too. He wasn't sacked in the game, but took off five times and gained
thirty yards, scoring 2 touchdowns on those runs.
front they have a good pass rush, and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan leads the team
with 11 sacks. Trent Murphy is next with 9, and always manages to get his hands
on opposing quarterbacks. Against the run Washington is one of the lowest ranked
teams, but so are the Giants in gaining yardage on the ground. Still the Giants
looked improved last game against the Eagles, with Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins
running the ball for a total of 112 yards
on 24 carries. If they keep that up, this defense will have to be careful for
any over eagerness in trying to get to Manning.
the secondary the Redskins have had to do some juggling in the safety position,
and once again we'll see cornerback Josh Norman matching skills with Odell Beckham
Jr. Bashaud Breeland last week had two interceptions
against the Bears, but he suffered an ankle issue in the process. In his first
meeting with the Redskins, Sterling Shepard had five catches for 73 yards and
scored the only passing touchdown. Shepard will see more of Breeland than Kendall
Fuller, who covered him back then.
This offense needs to breakout,
and they have an opportunity to tune up in a game that makes no difference as
far as post season play goes. Eli Manning has been working all year behind a shaky
offensive line. The running game has been dismal, and while tight end Will Tye
and rookie Sterling Shepard will certainly improve, they are still in learning
mode. Small mistakes have turned into interceptions for opposing teams. Victor
Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. have more experience, but Cruz may have lost a step,
and Beckham draws as much coverage as possible.
This is what Manning has at
his disposal. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. The Giants have not
scored more than 27 points in a single game, and have lost to every team they
faced this season who appeared in the playoffs last year, with the exception of
Cincinnati (5-9-1). The others, Washington, Minnesota, Green Bay and Pittsburgh
accounted for four of their five losses on the season. In this game you would
expect the offense to focus on sharpening Tye's passing and run blocking skills,
and route running. Also, expect to see a lot of Paul Perkins running the ball
to keep the Redskins defense honest.
This defense has tightened up since
that first game they played with the Redskins. They sacked Kirk
Cousins twice, but gave up two big passing touchdowns, a 55 yarder to Jamison
Crowder, and a 44 yarder to DeSean Jackson. Throw in five field goals and it added
up to 29 points. That's the most the Giants have given up this season in any one
Those two big scoring plays came on quick drives that were 2 plays and
3 plays respectively. The Giants were up 21-9 and then were suddenly losing 23-21.
Cousins helpmates are a little banged up this time around. Tight end Jordan Reed
sat out last week after separating his shoulder. DeSean Jackson left last game
with a jaw contusion, and running back Robert Kelley is nursing a sprained knee.
Meanwhile the Giants might not have their best cover cornerback Janoris Jenkins
back to help control the out of hand receivers who help Cousins to an average
of over 300 passing yards a game. They will not have Jason Pierre-Paul getting
after Cousins for a sack as he did last time, but they do have Olivier
Vernon who also got one, and Vernon now leads the team with 8.5 sacks. On run
defense they'll see Kelley who might be limited, but Chris Thompson is fast, and
makes catches out of the backfield. In the end yards don't matter only the score,
and the Giants have allowed the third-fewest points per game in the NFL (18.3).
two NFC East teams favored to win on Sunday are the ones that are not already
in the playoffs. The oddsmakers figure that both the Giants and Cowboys will play
cautiously with their players. What a difference a year makes. Last December the
Giants were trying just to finish up with a face saving 8-8 season (didn't happen,
6-10). Now they're in a position to rest starters and give key backup players
some valuable game time experience in case they'll be called upon in the playoffs.
The Redskins were division champs, were in the playoffs last year, and they
want to be there again. If they fall behind in this game, Kirk Cousins will be
heaving the ball downfield for big plays just as he did last time these two teams
met up. The only way the Giants win this game is if cornerback Janoris Jenkins
is on the field, and that might be too expensive a risk for the Giants to take
at this point in time.
Sunday at 1:00pm Cowboys (13-2)
at Eagles (6-9).
Sunday at 4:25pm Giants (10-5) at Redskins (8-6-1).
Eagles and Redskins are favored to win in these games.
Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa,
both now on IR, ran for 120 yards against the Redskins in Week 3.
Paul Perkins leads the Giants in rushing yards since Week 12.
Cruz was targeted 13 times last week for 8 receptions, the most in any game this
Odell Beckham Jr. needs 86 yards
to break a record of 4,163, for the highest total in a player’s first three seasons
which was set by Randy Moss.
allowed the second fewest yards per rush attempt in the NFL - 3.6.
Giants have allowed only two running backs to break the 100-yard mark this year.
Kirk Cousins has
had six completions of 50 or more yards in the last six games.
Cousins on 20+ passes, is third in the NFL in attempts (68), and fifth in completion
Kirk Cousins throwing
for 300 yards or more, has resulted in the Redskins being 1-5-1.
Kirk Cousins could be their first quarterback to reach consecutive playoffs since
Mark Rypien in 1991-92.
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