Redskins at Giants: Preview, Predictions, and More

Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the field before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Redskins vs New York Giants

The 2015 NFC East Champions find themselves in the division’s basement through two weeks in 2016. The Washington Redskins knew they’d be in for a tougher haul this go-round but taking two Ls at home to open the season has to sting. Now they’ll look to avoid going 0-3 with a trip to MetLife Stadium for a divisional matchup against the New York Giants.

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Washington’s Week 1 loss to the Steelers had many wondering why Josh Norman didn’t stick to Antonio Brown, who torched Washington’s secondary for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The major storyline in Week 2 was Kirk Cousins throwing an interception in the Cowboys end zone with a three-point lead in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, the Giants have churned out two narrow wins thanks to a much improved defense that contributed a special teams touchdown against the Saints in Week 2. Can the G-Men continue to lean so heavily on their defense or will their offense finally light up the scoreboard?

Keys To Victory For Redskins

1. Reed-ing Is Fundamental – With DeSean Jackson questionable, Jordan Reed will need to have a monster effort for the ‘Skins offense to score enough points for victory. Feed him the ball. If the fourth-year tight end doesn’t collect double-digit receptions, Washington will lose. The Saints were unsuccessful in getting the ball down the seam to Coby Fleener, but Reed is a more athletic and agile tight end.

2. Stretch the field – The Giants pass defense has been above average, allowing only 9.1 yards per completion (best in NFL), and 5.5 yards per attempt (second best in NFL). Bubble screens, hitches, slants, and flats won’t win the game for Washington. Exploit Big Blue’s lack of pass rush (zero sacks from defensive line) and attack down the field. Deep digs, deep crosses, 10-15 yard outs. Pick up yards in big chunks. The lone passing TD against New York last week came on a pass deep down the middle.

3. Win the field goal game – The ‘Skins defense allows 3.25 points per drive, the most in the NFL. If they can continue the Giants’ woeful trend of kicking field goals over touchdowns, they’ll stay in the game. Despite a high-octane offense with multiple receiving threats, the Giants offense has scored the fourth lowest points in the NFC—only the Bears, Seahawks, and Rams have done worse. Big Blue’s O has the worst “simple rating” according to Pro Football Reference.

Keys To Victory For Giants

1. SCORE! Only 30 percent of Giants offensive drives have ended with a score. That places them ninth worst in the league. They’re also the only undefeated team to have such a low scoring percentage as Big Blue has averaged 1.5 points per drive.

How did they do that? Well, in Week 2, they had their shots. They were inside the five and ran the ball twice with pass-catching back Shane Vereen. That resulted in a field goal. Odell Beckham, Jr. dropped a sure touchdown. Larry Donnell dropped another. Long story short, they left 12-to-28 points on the field.

2. Stop turning the ball over – The Giants are tied with the Denver Broncos for the second highest percentage of offensive drives ending in a turnover at 20%. It’s rare that teams win giving the ball away so often and New York’s playing with fire by not taking care of the pigskin. Three fumbles in Week 2 vs. New Orleans, two in Saints territory. The Cruz fumble prevented a sure scoring drive.

3. Get the running attack back on track – While the run game helped milk the clock enough to get a victory in Week 1, it averaged a measly two yards per carry in Week 2. Washington’s defense has allowed 249 rushing yards through two games, fifth most in the NFL, and that unit’s third worst in the league in expected points contributed.


Point Spread: New York, 4.5

Moneyline: Washington +185, New York -225

Over/Under: 46

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The Giants running game gets back on track while the trio of Beckham, Cruz, and Shepard slice up Washington’s coverage, including Norman. But, costly turnovers by New York’s offense will keep the ‘Skins within reach late into the game as Big Blue’s big yardage will almost be for naught. Yet again, the Giants defense shows their worth in shutting down Kirk Cousins and Company when it counts.

Pick: Washington Redskins: 20, New York Giants: 24