The Giants are coming off a week in which they lost a nail-biter to the Dallas Cowboys, 37-34. While Washington is coming off a game in which they got their doors blown off by the Los Angeles Rams, 30-10.
Both teams come into this matchup with a combined 1-9 record. That’s four more losses than the entire AFC North has COMBINED. Most seasons Washington would be facing an extremely difficult up-hill battle for first-place. However, in a season that is nothing like the rest, they find themselves only one game out of first place. A loss by the Eagles and Cowboys paired with a Washington win would jump them to first in the NFC East with a 2-4 record.
The Giants come into this game as 2.5 point favorites, which is Vegas talk for “We have no idea who the hell will win this game.” In a game that should be close throughout, there are a few things that Washington must do in order to shrink the Giants.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
By no means am I saying that Kyle Allen should imitate Daniel Jones (although the QB play couldn’t get any worse). What I am saying is that Washington’s ferocious five needs to replicate what every other defensive front has done to Jones this year, and that is to make his life hell. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones enters Week 6 as the most-pressured QB in the league. Jones has struggled on the year posting an atrocious 2:8 touchdown-to-turnover ratio, which is an obvious reflection of the constant pressure he’s endured.
You would think this means that Rivera should send the house after Jones, right? Wrong. Interestingly enough, Jones completion percentage is roughly the same whether he’s being blitzed or not. However, that’s not saying “Danny Dimes” isn’t immune to the blitz. It just means that Rivera will need to be sure to incorporate a good mixture of four-man fronts. The Giants drafted Andrew Thomas with the fourth-overall pick with the idea that he would be their LT of the future. Thomas has been awful this year protecting Jones blind-side posting a 57.0 overall grade according to PFF. Chase Young has the opportunity to feast.
Cage the FREEman
After starting running-back Saquon Barkley went down with a season-ending ACL tear the Giants dipped into the free-agent pool and brought in Devonta Freeman on a one-year deal. Freeman is entering his fourth game with the Giants and is slowly becoming more involved in the offense. Once a Pro-Bowl back for the Atlanta Falcons, Freeman has been anything but since. However, he’s coming off a game in which he saw a 54 percent share of the offensive snaps and churned out 60 yards on 17 carries. It’s clear that the Giants now view him as their main back. It’ll be important for Washington to remind him why he was a free-agent for so long.
Changing of the Guard
To say that Washington’s offensive line played poorly in their loss to the Rams would be an understatement. It seemed like a revolving door of Ram defenders kept making their way into the backfield, totaling eight sacks on the day. Starting LG Wes Martin was abysmal as he alone gave up four sacks to Aaron Donald and finished with a rating of 0.2 on the day. Enter, Saahdiq Charles.
Rivera announced that Charles, a fourth-rounder out of LSU, will be making his first NFL start as he takes over for Martin at LG. Head Coach Rivera noted that Charles serves as a bigger and more physical body at the guard position. Yes, Washington has received poor play from the Quarterback position early on in the season. However, a lot of it has to do with the lack of protection. Charles has a huge opportunity to prove himself worthy of being a starter on the line. If he can provide a spark up front than it will not only go a long way to deciding the outcome of the game, but it will help solidify his future in the NFL.
It should also be noted that Pro-Bowl RG Brandon Scherff also returned to practice this past week. He should be available in the coming weeks.
The Washington Football team has struggled mightily through the air and on the ground all season. They’re tied with the Detroit Lions for 31st in the league rushing the ball and are 24th through the air. This team currently has no identity and quite frankly from what we’ve seen on the field it would be asking too much for them to find one so soon. Baby steps. Washington needs to make it a priority to have an even balance of run and pass plays.
Here’s looking at you Terry Mclaurin and Antonio Gibson. Kyle Allen needs to make sure his two playmakers get the ball and get the ball often. McLaurin has a tough matchup opposite James Bradberry. The Giants acquired Bradberry during the off-season and so far he has exceeded expectations. However, McLaurin is no schmuck. He excels at accumulating YAC, and if Allen can get the ball to him quickly, it should put him in a position to add to it.
When it comes to toting the rock on the ground Gibson has showed that he’s the only one with any potential “It” factor. He disappointed last week against the Rams, but then again, who didn’t? Just the week prior, he had a career day against the stout Baltimore Ravens defense. How can Washington expect to move the ball if they don’t feed their playmakers? If Scott Turner doesn’t see that than maybe he never will.
The Washington Football Team should be able to take advantage of the Giants’ weak O-line. I expect them to be able to keep pressure on Jones and accumulate numerous sacks throughout. However, their offense has been abysmal and that’s putting it nicely. The Giants have been surprisingly sneaky on defense this year. This game is a total toss-up. I’ll give the Giants the edge, seeing as how they have home-field advantage.
(Featured Image Credit: WashingtonFootball.com)