New York Giants Preview: Week 8 vs. Washington Redskins
The New York Giants had a rather eventful week. They lost to the Atlanta Falcons on “Monday Night Football,” falling to 1-6 for the second consecutive season. Head coach Pat Shurmur’s play-calling was called into question. But perhaps the biggest news is the trades of Eli Apple and Damon Harrison, signifying the Giants have entered rebuild mode, even though they won’t admit it.
With all of that going on, the Giants have a game against their division rival, the Washington Redskins. Washington sits atop the NFC East, while New York appears to be on the path to acquiring yet another top-five draft pick. Despite the low outlook for the remainder of the season, the Giants will still take the field, looking to obtain their coveted second win of the season.
Beckham vs. Norman Round III
Oh yes, how could we forget about the rivalry that changed many’s perception of Odell Beckham Jr. While their previous matchup wasn’t quite intense as their first clash back in 2015, there is still a high level of animosity between both star players.
Norman is having a bit of resurgence with Washington. In Week 6 against his former team, the Carolina Panthers, the All-Pro cornerback recorded his first interception since 2016. This season, Norman has posted 28 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and one pass defensed.
Beckham is coming off perhaps his strongest performance on the year against the Falcons, where he caught eight passes for 143 yards and one touchdown.
Both players are rejuvenated, and should make for the most intriguing matchup of the entire weekend.
New Faces on Defense
As mentioned earlier, Apple and “Snacks” are no longer members of the New York Giants. So now, with nine games left in the season, it will be next man up.
The beneficiary of Harrison’s trade to Detroit is second-year defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. The trade of Harrison came due to Shurmur’s high praise of Tomlinson, who many believe can be the team’s nose tackle of the future. Not to mention, he’s currently on his rookie contract, earning approximately $1.1 million per year. Those two facts alone helped make the Giants’ move of Harrison that much easier for them.
Tomlinson has started in all seven games for New York this season, where he has recorded 21 total tackles, but that all came while playing as a defensive end.
As for Apple’s replacement, B.W. Webb is the next-man-up on the depth chart. Webb served as a rotational option in the New York secondary. But now, with Janoris Jenkins being the certified No. 1 corner on the team (at least before the trade deadline), Webb will see an increase in minutes.
With that, undrafted rookie Grant Haley will see plenty of time on the field as the team’s nickel cornerback. Haley received plenty of compliments from the coaching staff, and will see more opportunities come his way for the last nine games of the year.
The Method of Offensive Success
While there were a plethora of miscues and blunders on the offensive side of the ball against Atlanta, there were some bright spots.
Beckham and Sterling Shepard shined against a vulnerable Falcons passing defense, as both had over 100 receiving yards on the night. Even Eli Manning, whose decision making was downright questionable throughout the game, was just one yard shy of throwing for 400 yards through the air. If that game showed analysts and fans anything, there is a chance at offensive success. However, that’s with the right play calls.
New York will not have it as easy on Sunday, however, as they face a Redskins defense that has allowed the fifth-least total yardage per game on the season (325.7 yards per game). The strongest suit the Redskins have on the defensive side of the ball is their run-stuffing abilities. They have allowed just 87.3 yards on the ground per game, which will give rookie Saquon Barkley a huge challenge on the year. Just last week, Cowboys star rusher Ezekiel Elliott was limited to just 33 yards, his lowest amount since Week 2 of the 2017 season against the Denver Broncos.
The Giants shouldn’t abandon ship on the strategy they used against Atlanta, but they will have to be careful with the decisions they make on the field. If they want to win game No. 2 of the 2018 season, they will have to make smart play-calls.
The Giants-Redskins game will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. EST on FOX.
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