Who will win Thursday night when your New York Giants face the Washington Redskins on Thursday Night Football? Let's see what your Big Blue View staff thinks. Here are this week's Big Blue View staff predictions.
I know the numbers are skewed against the visiting Giants, with home teams having gone 3-0 this season and historically winning more Thursday games than Sunday or Monday ones. I know the Giants are the underdogs tonight. I know one good game, even one that wasn't completely without moments of bumbling ineptitude, doesn't make up for a pair of season-opening losses. I also know that I feel good, really good, about the Giants' chances of escaping FedEx Field with a victory Thursday night.
I know that Kirk Cousins has been on fire since taking over for an injured Robert Griffin III as Washington quarterback. I also know that he's Kirk Cousins, the same guy who went 19-of-49 with two interceptions in the 2013 season finale against the Giants. Make the guy uncomfortable, he will make mistakes.
I know that the Giants are much, much healthier than the Redskins heading into Thursday night. I know that this was a bus trip for the Giants, not a cross-country flight, easing the fact they are on the road in a short week. I know that historically the Tom Coughlin Giants have always been at their best -- last year not with-standing -- when the least was expected from them. I know that right now this season is starting, just starting, to create an inkling of that feeling. I know that a victory Thursday would increase that feeling and I know that I think the Giants get one.
[From Jesse's Week 4 NFL Picks]
Last week I think the Giants played well because they were able to establish the running game and then hit passes that kept the chains moving. The offense seems to be playing better, but this is a tough match-up. The Redskins are only allowing 63.7 yards rushing per game (thirdrd in the league), and also lead the league in sacks. This is an imposing defense early in the season. The Giants on the other hand have yet to play a clean game. They have had problems on special teams every week, they played better on the offensive line, but that's still questionable, and they are giving up a ton of big plays, and the Redskins have one guy especially who always seems to make big plays against the Giants.
I really like what Ben McAdoo is bringing to the Giants offense and regardless of how this season turns out I'd like to see him stay. He's more innovative than we've seen in a while and hopefully the offense works out all the issues, but this is a tough match-up early in the season for a short week. I like the Redskins to win and cover the spread (Booo, Jesse!).
I think the Giants match up well against the Washington Redskins. Out of the rest of the NFC East teams, I feel they are most well equipped to match up against Washington's speed duo of Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. I think the defensive line is playing as well as it ever has dating back to the 2012 season. If they can rattle Kirk Cousins, they'll be in good position.
The same thing can be said for the Redskins defensive front against the Giants offensive line. The line seems to be meshing, but the duo of Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo along with Chris Baker and Jason Hatcher are another beast compared to the Houston Texans who only really could boast J.J. Watt. It's going to be up to Eli to hit those quick forming routes and get the ball out quickly. If they can do that against Washington's banged up secondary, they will win. For what it's worth, I think they do just that.
Pick: Giants 30, Redskins 24
The Giants head down to Washington for a big divisional match up fresh off their first win of the season. The Washington team that awaits them is extremely banged up after their tough loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week. The Redskins have at least 17 players listed on their injury report and already lost their best defensive back, DeAngelo Hall for the season. DeSean Jackson is questionable going into Thursday after rushing back on Sunday to face his former team. The Redskins have been excellent at stopping the run game the first few weeks, but I think a lot of that had to do with facing Jacksonville, and an Eagles team that is down three very good offensive lineman.
The Giants seemed to flip a switch last week as they got physical on both sides of the ball. With Eli's improved performance and the Giants defense playing well they have a great chance at an upset on Thursday night. I think the Giants will win the special teams battle as well as take advantage of a very suspect Redskins secondary.
Pick: Giants 27, Redskins 17
Well, the Giants broke their losing streak with their win over the Texans. But can they turn that around into a winning streak? Can they carry the momentum they built in their last game over into their next game?
Well, that's what they have to do on Thursday Night Football. On paper the odds are not in the Giants' favor. Washington has explosive weapons on offense, good players in their front 7, and the Giants have to travel on a short week. On the other hand, Wash has an inexperienced quarterback, and have a bunch of players who are either injured or play through injuries. Also, the Giants have been improving by leaps and bounds every week.
The general rule in divisional match-ups, is that the rules go out the window. So, I'm going to side with Eli's continued growth in the new offense, and a veteran team's ability to prep on a short week.