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Giants, Washington Football Team Week 18 preview: One last indignation awaits

Saquon Barkley Giants
Saquon Barkley
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost over, Giants fans. 

Just one more week of what will likely be heinous football awaits between what has now become two of the most dysfunctional organizations in all of football. 

The 4-12 Giants finish up their 2021 season against the Washington Football Team (1 p.m. ET) on Sunday having not shown any signs of improvement in any aspect of their game. 

A defense that showed signs of life under coordinator Patrick Graham regressed in 2021 and is now a bottom-10 unit in points allowed, though they were practically stranded by an offense that offered zero support in keeping them off the field. 

An attack that was nothing more than mediocre when Daniel Jones was under center has now become torturously unbearable to watch since the No. 1 quarterback went down with a season-ending neck injury following a Week 12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. 

In the five games that have followed, the Giants have posted an average of just 8.6 points per game while getting nothing from their backup quarterbacks. 

Mike Glennon — who started four of those five games and appeared in all of them — completed just 52.1% of his passes for 594 yards (an average of 118.8 yards per game) with three touchdowns compared to eight interceptions and three lost fumbles. 

With his season now over due to an injured wrist that requires surgery, the Giants will be turning back to Jake Fromm for the season finale — which won’t instill much more confidence. 

Signed from the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad on Dec. 1, Fromm took his first regular-season NFL snaps ever in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys. After completing each of his first four passes during the Giants’ final drive of that game, a 21-6 loss, it all went downhill from there.

Fromm got the start the following against the Philadelphia Eagles and lasted just three quarters, completing 6-of-17 passes for 25 yards and an interception before Glennon was called back into action. 

Now there’s no security blanket separating the Giants from Fromm being the main man under center. Practice-squad quarterback Brian Lewerke — a 25-year-old undrafted passer out of Michigan State, has never seen an NFL snap before. 

Expect the Giants to roll out a similar game plan from Week 17 against the Chicago Bears where they ran the ball 40 times compared to just 11 pass attempts from Glennon that yielded -10 net yards. 

It will allow running back Saquon Barkley to build off the momentum gained in Chicago, which was a rare positive to come out of a Giants game over the last month. 

The 24-year-old picked up his first 100-plus-yard rushing game since late in the 2019 season, putting up 102 yards on 21 carries in the 29-3 loss — but it came on the very same field he tore his ACL on last season.

“Coming here and to be able to have a 100-yard game and kind of come to the place where the injury happened and kind of made my career go backwards a little bit, it does feel good,” Barkley said. “It feels like a monkey came off my back to come to the spot where everything felt like it went downhill. Personally, to be able to get a run game going and especially with the help of the offensive line, who did a great job, I’m appreciative of those guys up front for continuing to believe in me. Things haven’t been that great this year.”

It might be a bit more difficult to have as successful a day on Sunday, though. Washington’s run defense is the eighth-best unit in football despite having an overall defense that ranks 27th in yards allowed and 28th in points yielded. 

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