This Sunday, the Washington Redskins take on the New York Giants to determine who is the worst team in the NFC East.
It seems like not too long ago that Redskins fans circled this game as an easy win due to the low expectations of the Giants this season. But after roughly a quarter of the season has passed, it’s apparent Washington has no room to judge.
After starting the season 0-3, and absolutely laying an egg on national television, the ‘Skins are in an absolute free fall. Over the course of this week, there have been rumors of coaches being fired, quarterback changes, and even in-fighting among ‘Skins alumni and current players. It’s getting ugly.
Hence, there’s no reason to show arrogance as the team heads to East Rutherford. It appears the two rivals are facing different trajectories with the Giants team pointing up. Let’s take a look at this upcoming game and breakdown what the ‘Skins need to do to win.
The Giants didn’t have high expectations heading into the season. They came off the 2018-2019 campaign with a 5-11 record and they traded away a generational talent in Odell Beckham Jr.
They have an embattled GM in David Gettleman whose name is typically the butt-end of jokes by media and former players alike.
To add insult to injury, the players who were pegged to replace Beckham have yet to take the field this season. Former first-round pick Corey Coleman tore his ACL in July and is out for the season; and wide receiver Golden Tate is still serving his four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. This left the team with almost no talent on the offensive side of the ball sans Saquon Barkley.
The Giants were embattled off the field too. They were unanimously mocked on reaching for their first round pick, Daniel Jones, with the sixth selection in the NFL Draft. The future looked bleak in Gotham.
But last week, the Giants “showed something” as Jones supplanted Eli Manning with his first career start. He led the Giants from 18 points down and tossed the ball for 336 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 117.4. He also showed surprising mobility with two additional scores and 29 yards. Jones’ four total touchdowns led to a surprising 32-31 over the Buccaneers and the G-Men’s first victory of the season.
Now there appears to be a real sense of optimism as the team welcomes a winless Washington team into their home.
What to Expect From the Giants Offense
The Giants come into the game built for a shootout. They are eighth in the league in terms of passing yards (872), but also have given up 997 yards; ranking them 32nd in the league (Pro Football Reference).
This may become more skewed as Barkley, their star running back, recoups from a high-ankle sprain that should keep him out another six weeks.
Wayne Gallman will get the nod at RB and it will be interesting to see how he is utilized. His career stats of 684 yards and two touchdowns will give you pause for high expectations. To give context, Gallman has only touched the ball 10 times this season, compared to Barkley’s 38.
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Gallman should get a majority of the timeshare, as fullback Elijhaa Penny is the only other back familiar with the Giants playbook.
In terms of passing attack, Evan Engram will be the most dynamic player for the Giants on offense. He has posted 23 receptions, for 277 yards for two touchdowns this season. He has been targeted 30 times thus far, and has a robust 12.4 yards per catch (YPC) on the season.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’
On paper, the Redskins should be licking their chops for a bounceback game on offense. The Giants rank 30th in the league with 94 points allowed thus far (Pro Football Reference). They’ve also allowed 1381 yards to their opponents, ranking them 31st in the league.
Case Keenum needs to show that last week’s five turnover performance was an aberration. His in-game implosion single handedly ended the Redskins hope for a victory against the Bears, and have left many fans hoping for his benching.
But if you are being objective, Keenum does know how to move Jay Gruden’s offense… when he’s not turning it over. He’s ninth in the league in passing with 865 yards, and his 7 TD’s rank fifth in the league (Pro Football Reference). Keenum will have the opportunity to thrive this Sunday if he is kept clean by his offensive line. If he doesn’t, this may be Keenum’s last outing as the burgundy and gold signal-caller.
Terry Mclaurin needs to continue his scorching pace if the Redskins expect to win. His 24 targets leads the team, as well as his 257 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Quite simply, he’s the Redskins best offensive weapon and I suspect the Giants know that. Is his skillset scheme-proof?
Finally, if the ‘Skins expect to win they need to have a larger commitment to running the football. Their leading rusher, Adrian Peterson only has 22 attempts for the season for 62 yards. Yuck.
Against my best judgement I’m picking the Redskins to win this game in New York. I didn’t think I would write those words, but I believe the loss of Saquon Barkley will be too much to overcome for a rookie passer and a team devoid of talent. Jones will go off to the tune of 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and both teams will score more than the predicted 49 “over” pegged by Vegas.
With both defenses playing at a Friday-Night-Lights level, I suspect this thing to get crazy. Give me the Redskins, 29-28 in a close one on Sunday. The first predicted win I’ve scripted this season.