What will be the key things to watch Sunday when the New York Giants host the Washington Redskins? Let’s look at five of them.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman
Of course. Will Beckham be able to control his emotions after last season’s debacle? Will Norman shadow him? If he does, which star will get the better of their matchup? We have written and talked about it all week. Below, links to our coverage.
(Beckham-Norman film study | Beckham saying right things | Manning to Odell: “Just play football” | Norman expected to shadow Beckham)
The play of Kirk Cousins
The Washington quarterback has yet to show the late-season form that helped the Redskins win the 2015 NFC East title. After throwing 29 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions in his first season as a starter, Cousins has one touchdown pass and three interceptions thus far. His passer rating of 78.5 is a far cry from last year’s 101.6. Teammates are reportedly grumbling about their quarterback.
Historically, Cousins has not played well against the Giants. He is 1-3 in four starts against New York with three touchdown passes, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 60.0.Will the Giants get the scattershot Cousins, or will they get the guy who went 20-of-29 for 302 yards last season when Washington defeated the Giants, 20-14?
Who’s at right tackle?
Giants’ fans have long wanted someone other than Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. Well, with Newhouse not having practiced all week after suffering a calf injury last week against the New Orleans Saints, they will almost certainly get their wish.
Will it be second-year man Bobby Hart? The 2015 seventh-round pick filled in for Newhouse last week when he went down, playing the final 12 snaps. three of those, though, were Eli Manning kneel downs. Hart started one game last season.
Will it be veteran Will Beatty? The Giants’ 2009 second-round pick has 63 career starts. He hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2014, though, and hasn’t played on the right side since his rookie season.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan didn’t give any clues on Thursday.
Valuing The Duke
The Giants are -4 in the takeaway/giveaway department so far this season. They fumbled on three straight possessions against New Orleans, and defensively they do not yet have a takeaway.
Despite being 2-0, the Giants know that has to change.
Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said this week that “we have to be able to take the ball away.” Sullivan said the offense has to do “a better job of taking care of the football.”
Let’s see if that begins on Sunday.
Limiting the big plays
The Giants’ defense has overcome the lack of takeaways by forcing opposing offenses to take the long way home. New York has yet to surrender any running plays of 20 yards or longer, and the Giants have given up only three passing plays of more than 20 yards. None of those have gone for more than 40.
The Giants are giving up only 8.8 yards per pass completion, best in the league. The Giants are allowing only 3.3 yards per rushing attempt, fifth in the NFL. They are sixth in the league in yards per play allowed at 4.6.
Washington presents the Giants with a deep, talented group of receivers to handle. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson are at wide receiver. Jordan Reed, who had 14 catches in two games against the Giants a season ago, is a handful at tight end.
“They have a variety of playmakers. They have a lot of weapons on the outside, (DeSean) Jackson being one of them. (Pierre) Garcon is one, Jordan Reed can really change the game. He’s a tight end, a yards after catch guy as well as a down the field threat. You don’t normally find that at that position,” coach Ben McAdoo told Giants.com.