The Giants lost their biggest game of the season last week to Dallas, blowing the chance to move within one game of the NFC East lead and tie the Cowboys for second place. But now the Giants' season is on life support with a 4-7 record and facing an insurmountable three-game deficit in the division if they can't beat Washington. After their victory Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys are in first place at 7-5. The Eagles are 6-5 and the Redskins are 3-8, out of the playoff race.
The race for the postseason isn't complicated for the Giants, but it is difficult. They must win their final five games and still get help from losses by Dallas and Philadelphia along the way. The loss to Dallas was a near-killer for the Giants' playoff hopes, but it's not over yet. Beating Washington is a first step back into the race.
Here's an in-depth preview of the Giants game in Washington.
New York Giants (4-7, third place in NFC East)
at Washington Redskins (3-8, fourth place in NFC East)
The Spread: Giants +1; Redskins -1
Major Injury Report: GIANTS: Out, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, RB Brandon Jacobs, CB Trumaine McBride, CB Corey Webster. REDSKINS: Questionable, TE Niles Paul, TE Jordan Reed, FB Darrel Young.
GameDay Staff Picks: Brad: Redskins 24, Giants 21. Craig: Redskins 24, Giants 17. Matt: Redskins 17, Giants 14.
How Giants Can Beat Redskins
All Brown, All The Time: Giants running back Andre Brown has had a heavy workload since returning from breaking his leg in the preseason, rushing 69 times in three games, and that should continue against Washington. He's averaging 102.2 rushing yards per game, which is best in the league. The Redskins have a poor rush defense, so the Giants must exploit that with Brown and his backup, Peyton Hills, when called upon. Brandon Jacobs is out with an injury. The Giants suddenly have a tremendous ground game, which was non-existent in the early going. That's obviously due to the exploits of Brown, who has completely changed the offense. Besides the loss to Dallas last week, the Giants have found success going with Brown. That must continue for the Giants to remain alive.
Pressure RG3: Jason Pierre-Paul won't play in the game due to injury, so the Giants are going to have to get pressure from other players Sunday night. Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka must pick up the slack and get to the Robert Griffin III, who is playing the worst football of his career right now. The Giants must take advantage of that and take RG3 out of his game mentally early. Forcing him into quick decisions will lead to throwaways and then, hopefully, mistakes. If RG3 is given time to throw, he could pick the Giants secondary apart, just like he did against the entire league last year. Griffin III has the talent to take over a game, but if the Giants hit him early and often, they will make the plays needed to win the game. Damontre Moore could be a surprise player that comes up with a big, game-changing play.
Contain Alfred Morris: Stopping RG3 is one thing, but if the Giants truly want to control the game on defense they must keep Morris in check. If the Giants force Washington to be a one dimensional team, they will have that much of an easier time beating the Redskins. Before rushing for just 52 yards last week in a big loss to San Francisco, Morris rushed for 93, 139, 121 and 93 yards. He can easily take over a game and beat a defensive front into submission. If the Giants can stop the run early, it would force Griffin III to try and beat them through the air. That's a favorable matchup for the Giants, especially considering they can send extra rushers. If Morris gets off to a fast start, the Giants could be in trouble.
Three Redskins To Stop
QB Robert Griffin III (has thrown for 2,832 yards and 14 touchdowns this season); RB Alfred Morris (has rushed for at least 93 yards in four of his last five games); WR Pierre Garcon (75 catches for 919 yards this season.)
NFC East Games
Dallas 31, Oakland 24, Thursday
Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
New York Giants at Washington, 8:20 p.m.