New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins: Full Washington Game Preview
Despite their best efforts at self-destruction, the Washington Redskins will enter Week 12 with a chance to take the NFC East lead.
To do so, Washington will first have to overcome the obstacle of defeating the New York Giants.
Washington has lost its last five meetings with the Giants by a margin of 14.8 points per game. In the Redskins' favor, though, is a four-game home winning streak.
Which streak ends?
Let's find out. Here is the Week 12 preview for Washington.
Location: FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland
Time: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday
Week 11 Results and Recap
NFC East Standings
New York Giants (5-5)
Washington Redskins (4-6)
Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
Rightfully so, given their up-and-down play, the Redskins have been dismissed as a playoff contender in the NFC. They lack a win both on the road and against a winning opponent.
Washington's tilt with the Carolina Panthers was a chance to change this narrative. Instead, the team again played to expectations, falling 44-16.
Turnovers ruled the day. Carolina turned five turnovers into 27 points, with Cam Newton throwing for a career-high five touchdowns.
Even with the loss, though, the pecking order in the NFC East remained unchanged.
The Redskins have to cure what ails them on the road, but with four division games remaining, they very much control their fate in the division title race.
News and Notes
Since 2007, teams have made an annual trek across the Atlantic to showcase the NFL product in London.
For the first time, per Andrew Walker of Redskins.com, the citizens of London will get an up-close look at the Redskins in 2016.
And not just once, but possibly twice. Washington's Halloween eve date with the Cincinnati Bengals is already set in stone. But based on the division standings, the possibility exists for it to have an extended stay outside the country.
The St. Louis Rams are scheduled to play in London the week prior. And should they and the Redskins finish in the same place within their divisions, Washington will have back-to-back games in London.
Given the team's road woes, it very well could be to Washington's benefit to have two "road" games against opponents with no real home-field advantage.
Changes at Tight End
Likely related to Jordan Reed's injury status, the Redskins recently made some roster moves at tight end.
The team waived Anthony McCoy and signed Je'Ron Hamm to the active roster. With his value mainly coming in the running game, McCoy was expendable because Washington already had tackle Tom Compton filling in as a blocking tight end.
A converted receiver, Hamm gives Washington another passing threat in the event Reed is sidelined.
TE Jordan Reed
With the passing game standing as the key victory, the injury status of Reed looms large for Washington. He leads the team in receptions, yards per game and touchdowns.
While he's listed as questionable on the injury report with a sprained knee, there's reason to be optimistic he'll play as he did return to action against the Panthers following this diagnosis.
LT Trent Williams
Speaking of knee injuries, Washington received quite a scare when Trent Williams was carted off the field in Carolina.
Having already placed starters Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger on injured reserve, Williams' exit left Washington with a group of novices along the offensive line. No player had more than one year of starting experience.
Fortunately, though, Williams' injury was deemed to not be serious. Williams revealed after the game he had no structural damage to his knee, with head coach Jay Gruden chiming in that he suffered a knee cap contusion, per Stephen Czarda of Redskins.com.
Aggravating a rib injury he suffered the previous week, Alfred Morris was limited to two carries against the Panthers.
Given his lack of production in 2015, Morris' playing status in Week 12 won't have grave implications for the team. His numbers are comparable to rookie Matt Jones.
A difference between the two, though, is ball security. Jones has four fumbles on the year to Morris' zero. So in this regard, Washington would be at a disadvantage if it was without Morris' services.
Unless otherwise stated, all injury statuses courtesy of ESPN.com.
Washington Secondary vs. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Game in and game out, there's little secret about who Eli Manning will throw to. Odell Beckham Jr. is first on the team in receptions (63) and targets (104) by a large margin.
Rueben Randle is the second-leading receiver with 39 catches and 55 targets.
With health finally on their side on the back end, the Redskins' best bet is to shadow Beckham with multiple defenders and force New York's other receivers to win one-on-one matchups.
Redskins Offensive Line vs. New York Pass Rush
On paper, Washington should win this matchup with relative ease. The Redskins have been one of the better teams in pass protection (17 sacks allowed) in 2015.
With an NFL-low 12 sacks, the Giants haven't so much as sneezed on the quarterback this season. At least, this was the case before Jason Pierre-Paul returned.
Pierre-Paul himself hasn't registered a sack. But in two games with him in the lineup, New York has tallied three sacks—all against the New England Patriots—and 13 quarterback hits.
To expose a suspect Giants secondary, Washington's offensive front will have to stand its ground against this unit, even in the face of injury.
Redskins X-factor: QB Kirk Cousins
You can forget about Washington slowing down Manning. The players and coaches have changed over the years, but the fact remains Manning owns the 'Skins.
He's 16-6 against Washington and has a QBR over 86.1 in all three of his matchups with Gruden under the helm, per ESPN.com.
Knowing this, the Redskins will have little choice but to open up their offense to match him point for point. With a non-existent running game, playing keep-away from Manning is not an option.
This puts the onus on Cousins to direct the team to victory in a shootout. It's contrary to what's been asked of him, but in the pursuit of big plays, he has to throw caution to the wind this week.
Looking to shed his turnover-prone label, Cousins has erred on the side of caution and avoided throwing down the field this year.
According to ESPN.com, he's attempted just 31 throws of 20-plus yards in 2015. In six games—only four of which he played from start to finish—he attempted 23 such passes.
The Giants secondary is susceptible to big plays. It's surrendered 39 receptions of 20-plus yards (27th) and seven completions over 40 yards.
With big plays to be had, any hope of a Washington win rests on Cousins' ability to exploit this weakness.
Prediction: Giants 27, Redskins 20
It's as if the first meeting between these teams occurred in another season. So much has changed since Week 3. And for Washington, it's mainly been for the worst.
Perceived to be a strength at the start of the season, the running game on both sides of the ball has been problematic for the 'Skins.
They sport the No. 30 defense against the run and are coming off a 14-yard outing in Week 11. Along the offensive line, the level of play has deteriorated as injuries have piled up.
Holes in pass protection surfaced against the Panthers with Morgan Moses and Brandon Scherff standing as the most experienced linemen up front following Williams' injury.
New York is last in the NFL in sacks. But with no running game or deep passing attack to worry about, the Giants can commit extra defenders to pursue the quarterback without any repercussions.
As a result, with Washington unable to match Manning's output on offense, its losing streak to New York will reach six games.