These New York Giants are no good at being bad.
For awhile, it looked as if Big Blue would be in contention for a top-two pick for the second year in a row. Now, after winning three of their last four games ahead of Sunday afternoon’s visit to the Washington Redskins, they sit at 4-8 with little hope of a postseason push or scoring a top-five draft slot.
Welcome to the NFL no man’s land.
At least Sunday is an easy game for fans to get into against an NFC East rival on the ropes. Here’s a look at three keys to the game.
Back from the brink
Washington (6-6) now has lost its top two quarterbacks — Alex Smith and Colt McCoy — to leg fractures. That’s exactly as bad as it sounds.
The injuries have forced former Jets bust Mark Sanchez into the starting role against the Giants this week. Sanchez, mind you, wasn’t on their roster before Smith’s injury.
The development should have Giants fans stoked. While Sanchez’s reputation is probably worse than the level of play he brings to the field, he’s not expected to take proper advantage of the G-Men losing star safety Landon Collins for the season. As long as Sanchez doesn’t shine, as he rarely has, the pendulum swings in the Giants’ favor.
Beckham-Norman in doubt
The one-on-one matchup between Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman remains appealing, even if neither team looks poised to surge ahead of the division-leading Dallas Cowboys. However, Norman is dealing with a hamstring injury that could force him out of action for the first time this season.
When the two met on Oct. 28, Beckham stood out with eight catches on 11 targets, although he failed to find the end zone in Washington’s 20-13 victory at MetLife Stadium. Even if Norman suits up, he may not be able to contain his longtime foil.
Eli on the ropes
Speculating on Eli Manning’s immediate and long-term future as the Giants’ quarterback has become routine this season, but there’s a sense that change may be afoot.
Some of the chatter this week from media outlets has been that rookie Kyle Lauletta will get a chance to see real game action during the final month of the season. While coach Pat Shurmur offered no public insight, a poor first half in Landover, Maryland, could be all that’s needed to give the fourth-round pick a chance in what already is a lost season.
Giants 27, Redskins 17