Redskins fans, it’s week 12 and the Washington Redskins find themselves hosting the New York Giants. The Giants come into FedEx Field Thanksgiving night, riding a victorious high after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs. Don’t be fooled. This Chiefs team isn’t the same team that the Redskins faced back in week 4 of this 2017 campaign. The Chiefs haven’t been able to run the ball with success for the past 5 weeks, starting 5-0, and going 1-4 in their last 5 games. That’s not to take anything away from the $200 million defense that the Giants boast, but the Chiefs have only been a shell of their former selves.
The Giants defensive unit appears to be coming around to what has been expected since this unit was put together. They held the Chiefs offense to only 9 points in 4 quarters of football. The Giants defense then gave Eli Manning and the offense a chance to win in overtime. The Redskins are entering this Thanksgiving Day matchup with more weapons on offense and a little better rhythm than the Chiefs are currently displaying. This should make for an entertaining game for us football fans. Everyone knows when it comes to division matchups, all stats are thrown out the window because both teams know each other well. The advantage falls on the Redskins side of the coin. The Giants defensive front four seem to be finding more and more ways to get to opposing QB’s lately, so the Redskins O-line will have their hands full.
The Giants enter this week 12 matchup ranked 30th in points at 16.2, 24th in yards at 308.5, 19th in passing at 216.5 yards and 26th in rushing yards at 92.0 per contest. This Redskins defense has played inspiring football all season, holding high powered offenses to minimum production. Attacking teams’ secondary is where the Giants have found their most success this season, which means the Redskins CB’s and safeties have to be prepared to play. The Giants use the run to set up play actions and explosive passing plays for big yardage. If the front four of the Redskins can provide constant pressure, the secondary should have a big day causing turnovers and disrupting the timing between Eli and his receivers. Losing Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall has hampered the Giants game plan week-to-week. Eli hasn’t found rhythm with his new receivers Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and Shane Vereen that he had with Beckham. As the weeks go by, his confidence seems to be growing with these guys.
The Redskins suffered a terrible loss with the injury to RB Chris Thompson, which will make Head Coach Jay Gruden’s job a little tougher this week. The Redskins offense will have to create ways to move the ball down the field without Thompson who accounted for at least 45% of the total offense. Who’s going to pick up the slack? This will be the question going into this matchup against the Giants. I’m confident that all questions will be answered by this Redskins offense. Rookie RB Samaje Perine seems to have gotten his fumbling issues under control, which is good news for a Redskins offense who’ll find themselves leaning more on him in the run game. The Redskins enter this week ranked 12th in scoring with 23.8 points per game, 9th with 359.4 yards per game, 7th with 256.8 passing yards, and 18th with 102.6 rushing yards per contest. Keep in mind that this is a division game and numbers don’t give a proper gauge of the outcome, but the numbers favor the Redskins nonetheless.
After the overtime loss the Redskins suffered last week at the hands of the Saints (and themselves), hopefully this Redskins team will approach this game with a new focus and a desire to win. The Redskins season isn’t over yet. They must believe that and play with a determination to win. Most football analysts have already counted the Redskins out of the playoffs. The only thing that matters is that this team believes that they can win and change the perception of the doubters. Not that changing people’s minds is the objective, but when you win, people’s opinions tend to change. This is not the best position for a team to be in, but at least the Redskins still control their own destiny at this point of the season. That’s all we fans can ask for, especially with the key players the Redskins have lost due to injuries.
Kell’s Keys to Victory:
The Redskins offense has to completely take the handcuffs off of QB Kirk Cousins. How else will you be able to find out if he’s worth a long-term contract? Allow Cousins to run his offense that he’s been running for the past 3 years now. Trust in the run game. Remember, 2-3 yards a carry keeps the defense honest, it will also allow room for the passing game. To see Gruden take a chance on 4th and 1 was exciting and unexpected by the Saints and Redskins fans. We need more of this unpredictability. I’m not asking them to take chances like this all the time, just switch up the game plan sometimes.
The Redskins have to create pressure and disrupt the Giants offense. Be aware of the run game. Be in position to stop plays at the start, meaning making plays either at or behind the line of scrimmage. They need to have sure, solid tackling throughout the game. In last week’s contest, the Redskins defense seemed to lose focus at the end of the game, allowing two huge runs by the Saints to close out the game with a win.
Gap assignments will be a must on kickoffs and punts. The Redskins can’t afford to give the Giants offense any confidence at the start of drives by allowing them to play on our side of the field. Gruden has to show the new kicker Nick Rose that he trusts in him to make long-range field goals. Confidence is built through achievement. Nick Rose has kicked well enough to have earned the confidence of Head Coach Jay Gruden. The Redskins cannot have any blunders or costly mistakes on punt coverage. The Giants starting from the 5-yard line is just as good for the Redskins as them starting from the 1-yard line. Sometimes trying too hard will hurt more than not trying at all.
At this time I want to say that I am most thankful for my readers and the Cover32 Redskins family. You all have made this a great experience this season, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the Redskins with you throughout the remainder of this 2017 campaign and hopefully into the playoffs. With that having been said, HTTR4LIFE and Happy Thanksgiving Redskins family!
Redskins fans are welcome to follow us on @cover32_WAS on Twitter and we invite you to like us at Cover32Washington Redskins Group on Facebook. HTTR!