By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants suffered another heart breaking defeat to the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25-23 and are now sitting at 1-7. Over the past 4 games, the Giants lost three (Cowboys, Eagles & Buccaneers) by a combined total of 6 points with the other being a 2 point win over Washington. Despite a 1-7 record, the Giants are getting closer and could have won those games if they had executed a little better. This week the Giants will travel to Washington and face the only team they have beaten this year, but despite the Giants playing better each week; this game should be another nail biter. The Giants need to keep the intensity up against a Washington team that can surprise you if you’re not ready to play. Both teams are playing better as of late with Washington embarrassing their division rivals the Cowboys last week and the Giants nearly beating a Tampa team that many predicted a blow out by the Buccaneers. Here are my top 5 ways the Giants could continue their winnings ways against Washington:
- Fast Start: Both teams are evenly matched as this game could boil down to which team can come out swinging and jump out to a early lead as both teams have trouble scoring points. Over the last 4 games the Giants have been fast starters and I expect this trend to continue against Washington.
- Execution: This category is pertaining to two key stat lines in my opinion that the Giants must out-duel Washington in and that’s 3rd down conversions and Red Zone efficiency. Both teams overall process unimpressive stats on 3rd down with Washington sitting overall last in the NFL with a 38.1% and the Giants at 41.7%. However; a closer look shows the Giants over the last 4 games at 61.2%. In the Red Zone, the Giants have improved slightly, but are still hovering at 40.91% and Washington showing better efficiency at 61.90%. However; over the last three games the Giants are slightly better at 55% to Washington’s 50%. Keep an eye on these two stat lines as they could decide the outcome of the game.
- Opportunistic: In the team’s last meeting the Giants were victorious due to being opportunistic as linebacker Tae Crowder returned a fumble for a TD; which put the Giants in the lead for good. This week should be no different as the Giants defense needs to make a couple of big plays to continue their winning ways against Washington. Offensively; the Giants need to limit their mistakes and this is directly pointed at quarterback Daniel Jones who continues to force throws into extremely tight spots with horrible results (interceptions). If Jones can somehow avoid his nemesis (turnover Bug) in this game, the Giants have a good chance to collect their 2nd win of the season.
- Battle in the Trenches: In the last meeting between these two teams, the Giants offensive line did an admiral job on the young and talented Washington front four. Last week; the Giants offensive line played their best overall game against the 4th ranked defense in the NFL and only allowed two sacks on Daniel Jones. The insertion of rookie guard Shane Lemieux seem to ignite the other linemen as this unit collectively played extremely well in both pass protection and run blocking. This is another key area of concern for the Giants as Washington’s front four can dominate a game, so keep an eye on this throughout the game as well.
- Time of Possession: The Giants have been notorious to a fault with time of possession; averaging only 27.55% per game in 2020. Washington is trending in the middle of the pack in the NFL at 29.33%. Although I don’t expect the Giants to suddenly dominate this category; I do believe it’s important for them to keep it close and not have their defense on the field too long. Another stat that goes hand in hand with T.O.P is average yards per drives where Washington is ranked 31st with 27.38 yards on each possession and the Giants are slightly better at 30.83 and sitting 26th overall. If the Giants can sustain longer drives and keep their defense fresh; while creating some scoring chances along the way, we should see them earn their 2nd win this year.
Final Thoughts: The Giants have an opportunity over the next 3 games to make some noise as they will play Washington, Philadelphia and the Bengals (after their bye week). The last time the Giants had a 3 game winning streak was back in 2016 when they put together a 6 game winning streak en-route to their last winning season (11-6). Despite the Giants playing better lately, this game against Washington will not be easy. Both teams have struggled overall offensively putting points on the board, so expect a low scoring affair where each team will scramble for points. Washington has scored more than 20 points three times this season; and the Giants have eclipsed 20 points four times. However; the last two meetings in Washington saw both teams combined for a total of 132 points with the Giants accounting for 81 of those points. Don’t expect this type of offensive explosion by the Giants as the over/under should be around 45 points. I expect the Giants to have a short memory from their defeat last week and come out with a lot of passion as this should be a physical game as always. The Giants can’t afford a letdown this week and must keep their foot on the throttle. If the Giants can play the same way they did against the Buccaneers and minimize some of their mistakes; the Giant will continue their winning ways against Washington. This will be another nail biter and similar to their 1st meeting as it could come down to the final minutes of the game.
Final Score: Giants-23/Washington-20