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Giants - Washington
Game 7 preview
Sunday Oct 22, 1:00 PM - Washington at Giants

Giants (1-5) Washington (3-3)
The Commanders traveled to Atlanta and came away with a 24-16 win over the Falcons last weekend to even their record to 3-3 on the season.
The Giants came close to winning their game last Sunday with the Buffalo Bills. It came down to the last play of the game at the one yard line. A catch on a short pass in the end zone would have avoided a 14-9 loss.

Washington Commanders
Dan Snyder was the owner of the Washington team for 24 years. In 1999, his first as owner, the team moved up from 4th place to 1st in the NFC East division. Washington won their wildcard game, and lost the Divisional playoff game by one point. Then after missing playoff games for a number of years, Snyder tossed aside head coaches Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Spurrier. Snyder reached out to former retired Washington head coach Joe Gibbs, who had guided the team to three wins in four Super Bowls during his 12 year run.
Coaching from 2004 to 2007, Gibbs guided the team to a wildcard win and division game loss in 2005, and then a wildcard loss in 2007, and retired again. In the 15 years since then, Washington has been to the playoffs as a wildcard team three times, and had three loses, the last one with current head coach Ron Rivera in 2020. Current ownership is in the hands of Josh Harris, who was born in Maryland, and is also a managing partner for the NHL's New Jersey Devils and NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. Things were settled in July, too late to make any changes, but he will be accessing what he has bought into.

Washington Commanders Offense
There's new ownership and a new offensive coordinator. Eric Bieniemy is not new to the job. He was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, but now he is calling plays for the first time in his career. The Commanders are also starting a new quarterback. As a rookie, Sam Howell was a backup to Tyler Heinicke and Carson Wentz last year. They are gone, and now he is running the show. Howell got his first start in the last game of the 2022 season, and it was a successful one, as the Commanders defeated the Dallas Cowboys 26-6.
Howell has thrown 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He is still new in the starting role, and has been criticized for his pocket awareness, and for holding the ball too long. Howell is currently the most sacked quarterback in the NFL, having taken 34 sacks. He's also the second leading rusher on the team with 19 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown.
Brian Robinson Jr. leads the team with 77 carries for 302 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. He's also caught 11 passes, averaging an impressive 10.2 yards a catch and 2 touchdowns. Howell distributes the ball well, and 6 different players have caught touchdowns. As they did last year, wide receivers Terry McLaurin, and Curtis Samuel lead the team in receptions and yardage, and 200 of their combined total of 627 are yards after the catch.

Washington Commanders Defense
They have some added homework to do for this game with the Giants. Will they be facing Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor, and if Jones starts, he could be switched out at some point if he doesn't feel right. The Commanders will have to prepare for both quarterbacks, and if Jones is in working with Saquon Barkley who returned last week, the whole running game aspect changes. They may have noted that Barkley last week, working without Jones, led the team on their way to 132 total rushing yards, their highest on the season. Washington's defense is giving up 4.6 yards per carry on the ground..
The Giants are stacked with a healthy wide receiver group, Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Wan'Dale Robinson, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt and Sterling Shepard, so much so that they have agreed to allow veteran Cole Beasley to be released. It could be seen that the Giants put more focus on the younger receivers last week as Hyatt and Robinson saw more playing time. They were targeted more, had more completions than in any other game, and there was only 1 miss on their 12 total passes. Tight end Darren Waller leads the Giants in targets and receptions with 28, and half of those catches have gone for first downs.
The Commanders are giving up 29.3 points and 377.2 yards per game, which puts them with the bottom three teams in both categories. They are allowing 5.7 yards per play, and opposing teams are scoring on over half their possessions. It should be good news to this defense that the Giants rank last in yards per play, are the lowest scoring team in the league, and haven't scored an offensive touchdown in four games. The Giants have allowed the second most sacks, and the Commanders are one of the top ten teams with 19. Montez Sweat has 4.5 sacks, and Chase Young, Casey Toohill, and Jonathan Allen each have 3.

Giants Offense
The Giants inability to score touchdowns is killing them. They have gone three straight games without an offensive touchdown. They had two good opportunities last game from the 1-yard line, and came up short with their efforts. They were in the redzone five times and failed to score a touchdown. The Giants are the lowest scoring team in the NFL. Except for some judgment calls, Tyrod Taylor did a good job as a starter filling in for the injured Daniel Jones. The whole offensive line seemed to get a needed spark from having Justin Pugh in the lineup.
After an injury to Joshua Ezeudu, Pugh moved to the left tackle position, and overall, Taylor benefited from the offensive line play, being pressured on less than 7 percent of his dropbacks. The week earlier, Jones was pressured 41 percent, and had to leave the game when he was sacked for the sixth time, and sustained a neck injury. Pugh was signed by the Giants, but how the offense lines up will continue to be a mystery.
Ezeudu was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. The next day guard Shane Lemieux tore his biceps during practice, and he was placed on injured reserve.
Rookie center John Michael Schmitz has missed two games with a shoulder injury, and Evan Neal is nursing an ankle injury. The Giants have signed lineman Sean Harlow off the Cowboy's practice squad, and Pugh was signed to a one year contract. Saquon Barkley looked good in his first game back, and the Giants have a number of talented receivers for quarterbacks to work with if they get time to make their throws.
UPDATE - Quarterback Tommy DeVito and offensive linemen Jalen Mayfield were activated from the practice squad. That signals that Daniel Jones and Evan Neal might not play tomorrow,

Giants Defense
This defense is ranked 29th in the league, but they had a good showing last week holding the Buffalo Bills to just 14 points. That was the Bills lowest score they've put up this year, as the Bills had averaged 32 coming in, One big area of improvement has been with creating turnovers. In the first four games of the season they had none. In the last two they came up with five. Last week the leading tacklers were inside linebackers Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden, who combined for 18 of the team's 56 tackles.
The team held quarterback Josh Allen to his lowest passing yards and completion average on the season, and McFadden had one interception. McFadden also came up with the ball when Okereke forced a fumble in the first quarter. There were no sacks on Allen, and the Giants lag in that area, but Washington has given up the most in the league. Dexter Lawrence had 7.5 sacks last year, and will be looking to get the team back on track against what Washington will have up against them.
Wink Martindale has seemed to ease up on his blitzing tendencies, as it puts more pressure on the secondary, and he's working with two rookie cornerbacks. Washington's receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel are not easy to cover, but cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins have been playing well.

In the NFC East, the Giants and Commanders are the two teams that have scored the least points, and given up the most. Both NFC East teams have taken a loss to another team in their division, and have not won one. With the Giants and Commanders playing each other this weekend, one team will get past that hurdle. The Giants don't seem to have much of a homefield advantage. So far they have lost the only two games they've played there by a combined score of 64-3. This would be a good week for them to get back on track.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Washington (3-3) at Giants (1-5)
Sunday at 8:20pm Dolphins (5-1) at Eagles (5-1)
The Commanders and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Oct 29 Jets at Giants
Nov 5 Giants at Raiders

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