Giants vs. Redskins: 3 Key Matchups


A bye week can really help a team out. For the Giants, not only are they getting healthier but they anticipate Prince Amukamara to be back Sunday—but two divisional rivals lost. That’s huge!

Now, they have to face Washington. And while the Redskins are coming off a big loss to Carolina, the team isn’t too far behind the Giants in the division. With six weeks to go, all bets are pretty much off as to who will take the division.

But the Giants are the ones who control their own destiny, and as they’ve talked about for the past two weeks, their post-bye approach is that they’re facing a six-game season. And that season starts with the Redskins on Sunday. If they’re going to take game one, there’ll be a few matchups they need to win, which I list here:

Giants Wide Receivers vs. Redskins Secondary

This is really the matchup the Giants can best expose. Washington’s secondary has been one of the team’s weaknesses for a number of years, and even after adding some talent this offseason, injuries have decimated this unit. Chris Culliver suffering a season-ending knee injury this week only further depleted the team’s backend.

Oct 5, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) makes a touchdown catch in front of Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The New York Giants defeated the Atlanta Falcons 30-20.Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With Odell Beckham, an emerging Dwayne Harris, and a number of weapons out of the backfield, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say: the Giants can really pick apart this secondary. I expect Beckham and Harris to get open. I expect Vereen and Jennings to catch some passes out of the backfield. And I anticipate Eli to string together some consistent drives and stay as accurate as he’s been all season.

The Redskins secondary has leaked all season, and coming off a bye week, the Giants’ passing attack should fare well. New York’s run game has also started to come together in recent weeks. If the Redskins defense has to account for the run and pass Sunday, Joe Barry and co. will have their hands full.

Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Redskins Tackles

I say Redskins “tackles” because I’m not entirely sure if the Giants will line Pierre-Paul up on one side or the other. While Pierre-Paul hasn’t registered a sack so far, he’s played more than expected, and really, been better than expected. The defense hasn’t turned itself around, but the unit is improving with his presence on the field.

Nov 8, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) waves to a fan during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-18. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

His matchup is particularly important in this one though because should the Redskins get their passing attack going, it could spell trouble for the Giants. Washington has a solid running attack, but given the state of the Redskins defense, I expect the Giants to come out passing… and scoring. In that case, the Redskins may opt to pass a little more in this one as well.

Should Washington’s pass game open up, I think it could be an issue for the Giants. It would allow the Redskins to hang around, and it could, again, put the Giants in a position to have to finish a tight game with their offense.

If the Redskins have to account for Pierre-Paul, or if he could at least help the defense create some sort of pass rush, it could slow the Redskins passing attack down. And that may be what the Giants need to close out Washington on Sunday.

Giants Offensive Line vs. Redskins Front Seven

This is one of the less sexy matchups I could think of, and maybe little bit of an odd one to list, but I think it’s important given what’s at stake in this game.

Sunday’s matchup has some makings of a trap game. No one is out of the race for the NFC East just yet, but Dallas is in pretty bad shape with Tony Romo’s injury, and Chip Kelly’s Eagles—who’ve lost 10 of their last 14 dating back to last season—are really beginning of flail. It leaves Washington and New York competing for this division.

Sep 13, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (76) without his helmet in the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Dallas won 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

And I think the Giants are in better shape—they’re healthier, have won more games against divisional opponents and most importantly, they control their own destiny. Washington is also coming off a pretty bad loss against Carolina while the Giants are returning from an extra week’s rest.

But this is a bit of a trap game because although the Redskins aren’t entering the game in as good a shape as the Giants are, should they pull out a win, they’ll be breathing down the Giants’ necks in the division race. It seems like this should be a cakewalk matchup, but a few missteps could really change the course of the Giants’ season. Hence, a trap game.

So why should fans concern themselves with how the Giants’ offensive line fares this Sunday? Well, it’s always important for their o-line to perform, but if the Giants are going to slow the Redskins offense down and not let them get back in the game, they’re going to have to control the clock. That starts with the offensive line. They need to open up holes for the run, protect Eli Manning and just let the offense execute. For a team that’s struggled to finish games, the Giants can’t afford to let the Redskins get into the game with a couple turnovers or a couple big sacks on defense.

If the Giants are to win a blowout (or the Redskins for that matter), it’ll come down to more than just the offensive line play. But should this game be tight and when divisional opponents each other you can’t just rule that out a tough game. The offensive line will have to keep Eli upright and open up lanes in the run game. Otherwise, a few missed blocks could change the course not only of Sunday’s game, but the race for the NFC East.