New York Giants Preview: Week 14 at Washington Redskins
The New York Giants look to earn their coveted fifth win of the, as they head down to Landover to face the Washington Redskins.
Both teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFC East divisional race. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have all the momentum heading into the weekend, as they face off in the battle for first place. The game near the nation’s capital, however, is not the greatest on paper, due to a plethora of injuries.
Here is what to look for on Sunday.
The Giants suffered quite a shock on Saturday afternoon. The team announced that wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. would not play against the Redskins on Sunday due to a bruise quadriceps. Beckham showed up on the injury report on Friday, but the expectation from head coach Pat Shurmur was that he would be healed up with a good night’s rest. That turned out not to be the case, as Beckham did not make the trip, and the Giants will have to re-work their game plan.
Sterling Shepard will be the beneficiary of targets on Sunday from Eli Manning. However, that means he will face an onslaught of pressure from Washington’s defensive backs. Other than Shepard, expect Shurmur to utilize Russell Shepard, Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, and even Corey Coleman, as they face a Washington pass defense that ranks 27th in the league in terms of average yards through the air (264.7).
Expect the passing game to take a bit of a break, and Saquon Barkley to have a busy day. With Beckham out of the lineup, the Giants will utilize their playmaking rookie as much as possible. While the Redskins run stopping unit is the ninth-best in the NFL (102.8 rushing yards/game), Barkley is on a roll, as he’s had three straight games with over 100 rushing yards.
No Collins, Mo Problems
New York’s secondary took a massive hit earlier this week, as the team placed strong safety Landon Collins on injured reserve due to a torn labrum. Collins suffered the injury last week against the Chicago Bears after tackling running back Tarik Cohen in the third quarter. He would miss just one play and returned for the remainder of the game.
With Collins done for the rest of the season, veteran and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee Michael Thomas will step up in his absence. Thomas has appeared in all 12 games this season with two starts to his credit, where he has recorded 30 total tackles, four passes defensed, and one interception.
The Giants made an additional move with Collins’ placement on the IR, and that was to sign Kenny Ladler from the practice squad. Now as the No. 2 strong safety, Ladler will very likely see some action against his former team. In five games with Washington, Ladler recorded six total tackles.
With Collins, the Giants’ defense is ranked 20th in the league against the pass (252.8 yards/game). Without him, the numbers might see a decrease, but maybe not this weekend.
Attacking the “Sanchize”
The Redskins have had a rough go of things at quarterback. Alex Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibula in Week 11, which could be career threathening, as he underwent numerous surgeries to combat an infection. His replacement, Colt McCoy, fractured his fibula last week against the Eagles. So now, the Redskins are relying on former New York Jets first-round pick Mark Sanchez to finish out their season.
Sanchez struggled in his first game as a starter in nearly two years. He completed 13 of his 21 pass attempts, but only for 100 yards and one interception. The passes couldn’t reach their target, and he faced an onslaught of pressure.
The Giants pass rush had a bit of a rejuvenation last week. Olivier Vernon and rookie B.J. Hill made Chase Daniel’s day a rough one, as they sacked him a total of five times. The Giants will have a favorable matchup against Sanchez. Not to mention Washington’s offensive line suffered the equivalent of the plague, as Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, and Jonathan Cooper are all on the team’s injured reserve. Expect James Bettcher to utilize an abundance of blitzes to rattle Sanchez. If his day goes poorly, the Redskins will have to call on former Giant and Alliance of American Football’s first overall pick Josh Johnson.
Oh, and expect a ton of Adrian Peterson on Sunday.
The Giants and Redskins will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. ET from FedEx Field, live on FOX.
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