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Thursday Preview: Washington Redskins vs New York Giants

was vs nyg

Thursday Night Football this week will be a battle between two NFC East rivals: Washington Redskins and New York Giants. This will be the 167th meeting between the two teams with the Giants leading the all-time series 97-65-4. The Redskins pulled off a win against the Rams to sit at 1-1 while the Giants remain winless at 0-2. This will be an important game for both teams since the division title looks to be up for grabs this season.

The Redskins enter the game as the #1 ranked defense in terms of total yards allowed with only 469 yards between two games. Their team philosophy this season seems pretty simple: to be a mini version of what the Cowboys were last year. They will run, and run, and run. They are looking to dominate the time of possession, which they successfully did in both games so far this season. The numbers were basically identical between both games with only ten seconds separating the two. Their offense has had the ball for nearly 38 minutes in both games. It’s easy to have a defense ranked #1 for yards allowed when they are only on the field for 22 minutes. Kirk Cousins is taking snaps for the Redskins this season. His main job is to hand the ball off to either Alfred Morris or rookie Matt Jones. Jones has a breakout game last week with 146 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Cousins’ two main receiving targets are wide-out Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. Injured wide receiver DeSean Jackson will be sidelined again this week with a hamstring injury.

The Giants are coming off two heartbreaking losses. They had a 10-point lead in both games, but fell just short with the other teams leading 4th quarter comebacks to lose by a combined total of just five points. The offense did start to click last week, and they totaled 388 yards. Eli Manning nearly reached 300 yards passing with half of those yards going to Odell Beckham Jr.  The Giants have a talented running back trio of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, and Andre Williams. Jennings has struggled so far this season, so Williams has been the one with the best giantsyards per carry. Vereen has continued to be a receiving threat out of the backfield totaling eight catches for 76 yards last week. Victor Cruz continues to miss time with a calf injury, so the rest of Manning’s targets have been spread out mostly between wide-out Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell.

Fantasy:

I expect the Redskins to stick to their plan and run the ball as much as they can. Both Alfred Morris and Matt Jones will be in the 15-20 carry range for the game. I expect Cousins to throw the ball about 30 times with Garcon and Reed getting the majority of the targets. Reed will lead the team in receiving yardage, but I think Garcon scores the touchdown. Cousins will also get flustered in the pocket when he gets pressured, and I think he will throw a couple of picks.

The Giants running game will continue to be mediocre overall on Thursday night. I think the Redskins’ front seven is legit, but can get careless at times and give up a couple larger runs. That being said, they will be able to get pressure on Eli, forcing him to make bad decisions and throw an interception or two. By bringing that pressure, it’ll open things up downfield for Odell Beckham Jr. and Shane Vereen to both have good games. Larry Donnell will be open underneath every so often, he just needs to make sure he makes the catches. The Giants need to have a #2 receiver step up in Cruz’s absence, and we have all been waiting for Randle to do so. I think this is the game where he becomes a little more active and gets 5-8 targets.

 

Prediction:eli-manning5

Ultimately, the Giants are much more talented than their 0-2 record states. They easily could/should have been 2-0. In a primetime game at home, I think Eli will show why he deserves the raise he got as he leads the Giants to their first victory of the season, 24-17.

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