"It gets late early out there." -- Yogi Berra
It has gotten late early in the 2015 NFL season for the New York Giants. To have any realistic shot at their first playoff berth in four years the 0-2 Giants have to stop tossing away games and defeat the 1-1 Washington Redskins on Thursday night. Can they? Here are your Big Blue View staff predictions for the game.
The Giants have blown two straight games late in the fourth quarter, but I think the buck stops here. Big Blue starts slow pretty often, but I believe the team will come out with a much more rugged attitude. In my mind, the biggest X-Factor to this game is if the Giants can stop the Redskins' rushing attack of bell cow tailback Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones, a Florida product who ran for more than 120 yards in Washington's Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Rams. With the depth chart changes, as well as the re-signing of run stuffer Kenrick Ellis (who I think they should not have released in the first place), I'm liking the Giants' odds in this one. I expect Odell Beckham to receive increased second-half targets against one of the less talented defensive back groups in the league, and Larry Donnell may be up for another breakout performance after scoring three touchdowns in a Week 4 game against the Redskins last season. This will be a close one, but I think the Giants will find a way to finish on top.
Final score: Giants 31, Redskins 24.
I have absolutely no reason to believe that this team can win, but I believe there is a stronger force in play here. Kirk Cousins just played a great game. Sports media are very happy about that because it means they can talk about how he's the future of Washington. It's like Groundhog Day. When you see an article that says Cousins is about to get paid $18-20 million a year, it's time for him to kill the team.
The Giants have come so close to winning both times, and couldn't put them away. If this comes down to the fourth quarter again, screw my scoreline prediction because that win is Washington's. However, I don't think it will. This should be a routine ugly Thursday night game. Some blown coverages, strange turnovers and maybe even a special teams play or too, and it all goes in the Giants' favor.
Final score: Giants 27, Washington 10
I want the Giants to win. I think they can win. But until they show that they have learned how to close a game out, I'm not going to pick them to win.
I like a lot of the matchups for the Giants. They should be able to get some production over the middle from Donnell and Vereen. Odell Beckham will do Odell Beckham things. And I do think the Giants' 3 nose tackles and sound tackling stand a good chance of slowing down the Washington rushing attack.
I really do think the Giants can win. But I'm not going to pick them until they show that they can play good, solid, winning football for 60 full minutes. Not 45, not 58. 60.
Final Score: Redskins 28, Giants 27
With the coming out party of Matt Jones to add to Alfred Morris, the Redskins now sport a very solid rushing tandem. They have the fifth best yards per carry in this young season. But could you believe that the Giants have allowed the third fewest yards per carry this so far? Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin have prioritized on stopping the run and even though the pass rushing is now nonexistent, this plays favorably against the Redskins. With big bodies like Jonathan Hankins, Louis Nix III and Kenrick Ellis, I see the Giants being able to contain the Redskins rushing attack.
I'm more scared of mental mistakes, penalties, and clock management than the offense being stopped by the Redskins defense but unfortunately those are all justifiable fears to have. The Giants need a win this season or the worst might happen and I believe they'll pull through.
Final Score: Giants 24, Redskins 17
We are three plays away from being 2-0, and frankly, have looked better than I thought we would this year. The romantic in me wants to believe that these first two games are exactly the type of awfulness that Eli/Coughlin need to right the ship and make it a memorable season. With the injuries to Dallas, and the issues with Chip's birds, I think the NFC East is wide open, and ours for the taking. If the players agree with me, it starts tomorrow night. MUST take care of Washington on our home turf during primetime. The Redskins' running game looks fierce, but I think our defense is up for the challenge. And if the rumors are true that DeAngelo Hall will be assigned to ODB, then we may score 50 points.
Final score: Giants 28, Redskins 21
[From Jesse's complete Week 3 picks against the point spread]
That Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa looks like a really good player, or what about Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche? These guys would be perfect picks for the Giants ... wait, what's that? It's only Week 3? It's not time to talk draft yet? Based on everything I've seen on the Giants I thought the season was over.
The Giants weren't supposed to be any good this year, according to the pundit consensus, but a funny thing happened ... they are 2-0 in games that are only 58 minutes long.
Unfortunately, NFL games go 60 minutes.
There were years where the Giants lived on victories in the final minutes of games. Years where they did everything right to win them. I miss those days.
The Giants come limping into Thursday night after two disappointing losses and with a long injury list. Their top left tackle on PUP. Their franchise defensive end loses another finger every time a new report emerges (but please pay him 15 million dollars, he can play, he promises!). Their top pick hurt his ankle, but manned up and played through it and then hurt it more and is likely to miss the game, the middle linebacker will be back for the game, but probably be carted to the locker room by the end of the third quarter. Their uber talented cornerback, the only player on the team to score a touchdown this year I think (I jest), is out. What's left?
Coughlin and Manning. But they are part of the problem so far this year. Can they turn it around and be the solution?
The Redskins looked much improved on both lines and could cause the Giants real problems. I think they are the right play here, especially getting 3.5 points. But mama never accused me of being smart.
Pick: Giants (no score given)
The symmetry in this game is amazing. In 2007 it was the Redskins the Giants defeated after starting that season 0-2, with a great goal line stand turning the Giants' season around. Last year the Giants again started 0-2. They beat the Houston Texans Week 3 and then blew out the Redskins in a Week 4 Thursday night game, 45-10.
There is a little nagging voice in the back of my head (OK, a BIG nagging voice) telling me not to count on history repeating itself this time around. I guess I'm going to ignore that voice.
This is a flawed Giants team. We know that. I can't, however, believe that this season will basically be over after three weeks -- which for all intents and purposes will be the case if the Giants lose Thursday night.
Final score: Giants 31, Redskins 20
What is your prediction?