The Giants will look to win again this Sunday as they renew their division rivalry with Washington. It is one of the oldest rivalries in the league, although this year both franchises have struggled considerably. The Giants, who won the earlier meeting between the two teams this season 45-14, enter this game with a 4-9 record, while Washington enters the contest sporting a 3-10 mark. Neither team has any chance of qualifying for the playoffs this season.
New York’s defense has shown many weaknesses throughout the season, and their offense has turned the ball over far too frequently. The offense had failed too often to convert scoring opportunities into touchdowns, too often settling for field goals. Heading into the game against Tennessee, the Giants had a lot of issues, but they had been particularly abysmal in the second half of their games this season, having been outscored by a combined 189-112. New York had been particularly vulnerable in the third quarter, having been outscored by a combined score of 109-34.
The Giants finally were able to put some of their issues behind them last weekend for at least for one game, however, as they managed to end their losing streak. They managed to produce a strong performance from beginning to end in a complete game against the Titans, and they finally broke their losing streak in the process. New York’s defense was tough, and kept the Titans offense in check all day. Tennessee only got 207 total yards of offense, and 12 first downs in all. New York was particularly effective against the run, holding the Titans to a mere 61 yards total on the ground, and earning a defensive touchdown in the game. Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger only completed 14 of 24 passes for 125 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Jake Locker stepped into the role to fill in for Mettenberger, and completed 9 of 11 pass attempts for 81 yards, but with no touchdowns and an interception.
On offense, the Giants were able to get their own running game going. Andre Williams earned 131 yards on 24 carries, including a touchdown. Overall, the Giants had a solid day in the air, as well, as Eli Manning completed 26 of 42 passes for 260 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Rookie sensation Odell Beckham had another banner day, pulling in 11 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Beckham even got his first ever pass attempt, throwing it 60 yards into the end zone, although it fell incomplete.
Still, the Giants got a much-needed win by dominating on both sides of the ball, ending their losing streak and finally putting together the kind of game that Coughlin had envisioned. They did it on the road, albeit against a weak team, with the home fans booing their Titans, who are struggling more than they have in almost two decades. The Giants finally ended their losing streak yesterday by dominating the Titans, and will now aim to win again at home as they renew their division rivalry against Washington.
Washington has had their own share of issues this season, as well. Despite having decent rankings both offensively and defensively, and some considerable, big name talent on offense in particular, they have just not been able to produce many wins this season. Yet, despite having suffered 10 losses, they were leading in the fourth quarter for seven of those contests. They have been in most of the games that they played this season, only rarely getting blown out. In fact, their most lopsided loss this season was the earlier meeting with the Giants, which they lost by 31 points.
The most visible problems for Washington have been on offense, with injuries, infighting and controversies following them all season long. This is particularly true with a quarterback situation that has gotten ugly and spiraled out of control. Colt McKoy will start at quarterback for Washington, a team that has been plagued by quarterback controversy with the struggles of former star quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG3), which has become a fiasco for the franchise. After leading the team to a division title in 2012, RG3 struggled in 2013, and those struggles have continued throughout this season as well. The already difficult situation this fueled trade rumors which made matters worse. The situation was exacerbated further still by head coach Jay Gruden, when he suggested that he could not work with the former star quarterback. In 2012, Washington picked up RG3 by making a trade with the St. Louis Rams, who received several players in return. Those players were marched onto the field last Sunday in Washington when those two teams met, with RG3 now relegated to the bench, where he remained throughout the game. To add insult to injury, the Rams went on to shut Washington out before their home fans, 24-0, which was rather symbolic of the struggles this team has faced all season.
The Giants will look to put a strong game together and win again for a second straight week when they renew their storied rivalry with Washington. There were questions about whether Giants quarterback Eli Manning would be healthy enough to play, but he will be starting on Sunday. The weather is not expected to be a major factor, although the winds at 14 mph could prove to have some impact. New York is favored by 6 1/2 points.
Commentary By Charles Bordeau
New York Daily News
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ESPN -Colt McKoy
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NY Daily News
Photo by Ted Kerwin – Flickr License