Finally, the New York Giants have a win over a quality football team. And, on a short week, they’ll look to get their first NFC East victory of the season.
Big Blue controlled the Kansas City Chiefs, a likely playoff team, in Sunday’s 12-9 overtime victory. It was the type of hard-fought win over strong competition that observers thought would be a much more common occurrence in 2017.
With a second consecutive victory on Thursday, when the Giants (2-8) visit the Washington Redskins, the team can move within a game of their division rival in the standings. Sure, there’s a segment of fans who would prefer they keep losing for a better draft choice, but don’t expect embattled coach Ben McAdoo or quarterback Eli Manning to pull any punches.
Here’s a look at three keys to the Thanksgiving night matchup in Landover, Maryland.
The Giants’ defense held an explosive Kansas City offense without a touchdown, finally resembling the unit that carried the G-Men to the playoffs a year ago. Because they’ll be playing again four days later, staying in a groove could be even easier.
Big Blue picked off Alex Smith twice — and also intercepted tight end Travis Kelce’s only pass attempt. That should provide the unit confidence against familiar foe Kirk Cousins, the Washington passer who has struggled in past head-to-head matchups.
Prey on the wounded
Washington (4-6) has lost four of five and are as banged up as any team right now. The team opted to stick to walk-throughs during this week’s practices because of a dearth of personnel.
All of a sudden, the Giants’ situation doesn’t look so bad. While Giants receiver Sterling Shepard (illness) could miss a second straight game, they’ve managed without him. Can Washington get by without 11 moderately healthy players on each side of the ball for 60 minutes?
Be afraid of Darkwa
The Giants look increasingly comfortable allowing Orleans Darkwa to handle the bulk of the carries. He toted the ball 20 times last week and punched in his second TD of the season, the lone score of Sunday’s game.
Washington isn’t particularly strong against the run, ranking 22nd in yards per carry. Don’t be surprised to see Darkwa surpass 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season.