The Giants lost a heartbreaker last week. They lost a game that they were leading for a majority of the contest but the good news is they took one of if not the best team in the NFC to the brink.
While the 1-7 record might not show it, the team is improving. They have played multiple playoff and Super Bowl contending teams that they played extremely tough. Of their seven losses, six of them were by a difference of eight points or less. Four of those losses came at the hands of teams that are currently in playoff position. With all of that said let’s have a look ahead to this Sunday’s matchup.
While the Football Team is having an absolutely dreadful season, they currently sit in second place in the NFC East. However, they have only won two of their first seven games. A huge reason Washington has won the games they have is due to their secondary play. In the offseason, they added former Kansas City Chief and Super Bowl champion, Kendall Fuller, on a 4-year/$40 million deal. Not only that Washington also added former Buffalo Bill and Philadelphia Eagle Ronald Darby.
These moves come on the heels of an offseason in which the team brought in former New York Giants safety Landon Collins. Over the last two offseasons, Washington has invested serious money into stabilizing the secondary, and all those moves have paid off in spades as they have the best pass defense in the league allowing just over 200 yards per game and only three touchdowns to wide receivers all season.
As I said, Washington invested a serious chunk of their cap space into their secondary. When it comes to their front seven, however, they have taken a much different approach. Out of their front seven six of them are homegrown talent. In the past two drafts, Washington has spent a first-round pick on top tier edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Those two elite prospects were added to a roster that already possessed a borderline elite edge rusher in Ryan Kerrigan.
While Washington has a choice of pass rushers than can put on the field at any time, they also have a group of very good interior defensive linemen. That defensive line is anchored by two Alabama Crimson Tide alumni in Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. The Football Team also has Matt Ioannidis anchoring the linebacking core. Those three have combined to produce one of the most effective run defenses in the league in recent years.
Washington has managed the quarterback position horribly over the last couple of seasons. This mismanagement has reared its ugly head once again. The team drafted former Ohio State Buckeye Dwayne Haskins in the first round of the 2019 draft. All rookie quarterbacks go through growing pains and Haskins was not special. He came into the season as the team’s week one starter but he performed below expectations. He was benched in favor of former Carolina Panther Kyle Allen. Now we are not sure what Haskins’s expectations were but what we do know is Allen certainly is not meeting those expectations. The Washington pass offense ranks 27th in yards per game and that is with the team playing from behind in 72 percent of their games.
This has been a problem in Washington for a few years. They have brought in multiple people to try and fix this issue but none of those players really panned out. They have tried bringing in guys like Paul Richardson and Terrelle Pryor to support the wide receiver corps. None of these signings panned out and right now the Football Team is relying on Terry McLaurin to carry the offense. McLaurin is a good player but he just isn’t capable of carrying an NFL offense.
The Giants’ Strengths
Like Washington, the Giants have invested significant capital in their front seven. They have spent four draft picks on the interior of their defensive line alone. Dexter Lawrence was a first-round pick in 2019 and has played well since day one. Dalvin Tomlinson has just been a solid player these last four years and Leonard Williams has improved dramatically from the end of last season but the key piece without a doubt has been Blake Martinez. Martinez was signed to a three year/$30 million contract in the offseason and he has been a sideline to sideline linebacker all season.
Even though the Giants are not having the season they were aiming for, I do feel Joe Judge is the right coach for them. Judge has this team playing hard each and every single second of the game regardless of the score. This is a young and hungry group of guys who play for one another. Heart is the foundation of every competitive team and the Giants have an abundance of heart.
Losing an all-pro running back would hurt any team’s running game but when that running back is your offenses best player it is a detrimental blow. The Giants tried to supplement the loss by signing former Atlanta Falcon Devonta Freeman but it hasn’t panned out. They rank 27th in terms of rushing yards per game. If you can’t run the ball, you become one dimensional offensively and they can’t afford to be one dimensional against a fairly easy opponent.
Outside of James Bradberry, who has been playing at an All-Pro level, the Giants secondary has been pretty bad. They lack cornerback depth which hurts them in nickel and dime concepts. This also limits them in man coverage because of the lack of talent. With rookie Xavier McKinney returning fairly soon it should help the depth issue but for this week the Giants will be limited in their defensive packages.
The past is the best predictor of the future. The last time the Giants and Washinton squared off, the Giants sneaked out with a 20-19 victory. However, this was early in the season. I feel that the Giants are a more talented team and with the team being a bit more conferable with one another I don’t think this game will be as close. I believe the Giants will win this game 23-17.