By Michael Stewart @golferbad
The New York Giants are sitting in last place at 0-5 in arguably the worse division (NFC east) in the NFL as the Dallas Cowboys are in 1st place with a 2-3 record. This week the Giants will be facing Washington who also had their problems this season with a 1-4 record. The latest issue is who will be the starting quarterback this week as Dwayne Haskins has been benched, Kyle Allen was injured in the loss against the Rams this past week and his status is unclear.
Alex Smith finished the game for Washington going 9 for 17 with 37 yards. The Giants offensively played their best game of the season in Dallas scoring 34 points against an under-performing defense ranked last in the NFL. Unfortunately; the Giants defense failed to step up at crucial moments and allowed the Cowboys to steal a win. The Giants will need to re-group and play inspiring football against Washington to secure their first win of the season. Here are my top 5 things the Giants must do to win:
- Come out Swinging: For the 1st time all season, the Giants started the game against the Cowboys strong jumping out to a 17-3 lead with a solid offensive drive, capped off by an end around TD by Evan Engram and then scoring a TD defensively by Kyler Fackrell on an interception. The Giants must come out strong and put the pressure on Washington early and often.
- Pressure the Quarterback: The Giants had two sacks against Dallas and did provide adequate pressure on Dak Prescott for most of the game. However; if the Giants want to secure their 1st win of the season; they need to have their best effort against Washington in the sack department as Washington is giving up 3 sacks per game. I don’t foresee one player stepping up and having a career game, but rather a team effort where the sacks will come from each tier of the defense (DL, LBers, and the secondary).
- Execution: The Giants had the best day of the year in two vital categories against Dallas and they were 3rd conversions (7-13) and Red Zone efficiency (2 for 3). These two stats need to continue on this trend against Washington and on the other side of the ball, the Giants defense needs to minimize Washington’s chances on 3rd down and in the Red Zone.
- Bring on the Hogs: It’s no secret the Giants offensive line collectively has had their struggles and have yet to put together a solid effort as a unit. This game could be their coming out party against a Washington front four that has talent but are vulnerable against the run allowing 129.6 per game. Washington’s strength along their front four has been sacking the quarterback with 21 (4 per game). If the Giants offensive line (Big If) can minimize Washington pass rush with a combination of solid blocking and Jones quick dropbacks, the Giants should be able to move the ball successfully.
- The Giants are -3 in this department and Washington is -1, but when you look deeper Washington has fumbled five times this season (average of one per game); which is where the Giants must exploit. The Giants need to strip the ball at every chance they can and put Washington on their heels as much as possible.
The oddsmakers currently have Washington favorite +3.5 with a 52.7% chance of winning the game. The over/under is sitting at 44.5 with both teams have struggled offensively with the Giants scoring more than 16 points only once this season (against Dallas) and Washington has yet to score more than 20 points in any of their games. So what should we expect?
Will this be a defensive battle or two inept offenses stumbling over their two feet? Perhaps a little of both as these two teams have a combined record of 1-9 this year and unless you’re a fan of either team; this shouldn’t garner much interest on Sunday afternoon among the average football fan. There’s a first for everything and thus far over these first five games, I predicted a Giants lost.
Well, I think it’s time to reverse this trend and possibly go out on a limb here by predicting the Giants will get their 1st win of the season. It won’t easy and it could go in any direction, as the only way Washington can win this game is if their front four totally dominants the line of scrimmage. I’m still a strong believer in Daniel Jones and I believe the Giants defense will show up on Sunday keeping Washington from topping the 20 points again. I also believe the Giants have a little more confidence on offense after the Dallas game and hopefully they can carry this over against Washington.