It's been about a month since the New York Giants recorded a win, and in case you've forgotten--and we wouldn't blame you if you have, given how long ago it was--win number two for the Giants came against the Washington Commanders.
So because the Giants have had the Commanders' number of late, win number three should be on deck, right?
Not so fast. Things have been a lot different since these two teams met.
The Giants have continued losing players due to injuries. This time, they'll be without quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tight end Darren Waller, a connection that did well for New York in the first meeting.
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams ended up playing in his final game as a Giant before being traded away, and quite honestly, the Giant's defense hasn't been the same since.
Rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito has taken the offense's reins now with Taylor and starter Daniel Jones on injured reserve, but let's be honest here. While DeVito is a scrappy young quarterback, he's not really ready for the bright lights, and anyone who thinks he'd be playing over Taylor, for example, is fooling themselves.
The Commanders? They traded away edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. But you'd hardly notice that, considering the interior duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne are still doing their thing.
On offense, quarterback Sam Howell, who struggled against the Giants defense last time, seems to have hit his stride. Howell is the NFL’s leading passer with 2,783 yards.
In a nutshell, this is a tale of two franchises heading in opposite directions. You know the drill by now--any given Sunday and all that jazz. So let's look at things and determine if the Giants, who are 7-3-1 since 2018 against Washington, can sweep the regular-season series.
Why the Giants Will Win
If the Giants have any chance of winning this week, they will have to hope to get a big game from running back Saquon Barkley, whom the Giants seem resigned to leaning on the most moving forward. Since returning from his ankle injury in Week 6 against Buffalo, Barkley has given the Giants rushing game an injection of life.
In the three games Barkley missed earlier this year, the Giants rushed for 334 yards as a team, an average of 111.3 yards per game. Since Bakrley's return, the Giants have rushed for 675 yards or 135 yards per game.
But let's be real. Washington won't make this easy. In the first meeting, according to SIS, Barkley rushed for 77 yards on 21 carries against a stacked box (8+ men) on 70 percent of his rushing attempts. Barkley found success in 29 percent of those scenarios. If the Giants have any chance of winning this game, the run blocking needs to be on point so that Barkley can do his thing.
Why the Giants Will Lose
Even though the Commanders are coming off a tough loss, they have a little momentum. And quite frankly, given the state of this Giants team, it's not difficult to figure out how to stop them.
Factor number one is to throw the kitchen sink at DeVito. Last week, when Dallas brought the heat, DeVito did what any inexperienced rookie playing in his first significant NFL action would do: he tucked the ball away and tried to make a run.
Last week, the Cowboys blitzed DeVito on 43 percent of their pass rushes, the second most in the league per Sports Info Solutions, and finished with the fourth-best success rate, including five sacks.
Even with edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat gone, the Washington interior defensive line figures to be a load for a Giants offensive line that simply needs to go back to the drawing board in all facets of its game.
The offensive line--all 80 combinations of it--has allowed a league-leading 54 sacks. Don't be surprised if more get added to that total, as the combination of a shaky offensive line and a rookie quarterback who's working toward getting the game to slow down is a recipe for a long afternoon.
It would also help the Giants' cause if they can finally come out of the gate fast. New York is the only team left in the league to not have scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter of play. The Giants have been outscored 61-9 in the first quarter of their games this season and 153-42 in the first half. A team won't win many games with that stat on its record.
For all Washington's talent on its defensive front, that unit has yet to take over any. As already noted, these two franchises are headed in opposite directions. And what's particularly scary is how each has responded.
The Giants have been hit hard by injuries--that much is true. But while no one expects the depth to be on par with the starters they're filling in for, you'd at least hope they'd be competitive.
That hasn't been the case at all, which is disappointing--and it's also why the Giants will probably see their three-game losing streak extend to four games after all's said and done.
Washington 23, Giants 13
- Get the latest breaking news and analysis on the New York Giants
- Follow and like us on Facebook
- Submit your questions for our mailbag
- Check out the Giants Country YouTube Channel.
- Subscribe and like the LockedOn Giants YouTube Channel
- Connect with us via text alerts! Free 14-Day Trial!