The New York Giants have struggled to defend the tight end all season. The job doesn’t get easier against the Washington Redskins.
The New York Giants barely have had time to celebrate their second win of the season, traveling to Washington to take on the Redskins on Thanksgiving evening. Last week’s stunning upset over the Kansas City Chiefs put to bed speculation about the team’s effort–at least for now. One narrative that continues to exist, however, is the team’s inability to cover the opposition’s tight end. Their next task in D.C. won’t be much easier.
Prior to last week, the Giants had surrendered a touchdown to every team that they have faced thus far in 2017. Although that streak was broken, Travis Kelce‘s eight catches for 109 yards offered minimal consolation. The Redskin offense is one that despite riddled with injuries, poses issues for Big Blue.
The ageless Vernon Davis, who seems to be as limber as ever, has recorded 50 or more receiving yards in seven of his last eight contests. Even with Jordan Reed a doubt due to a hamstring injury, the G-men should have their hands full with Davis.
The Giants linebacking core has already lost their best coverage asset in Keenan Robinson to the injured reserve, while B.J. Goodson, Calvin Munson and Kelvin Sheppard are all question marks for Thursday’s nights showdown. Landon Collins is much better suited to play lower, near the opponents line of scrimmage, which makes Davis’s vertical ability all the more dangerous.
Kirk Cousins will be without top pass catching back Chris Thompson which could mean more targets for his tight ends. The real question will be if the Skins can keep Cousins upright as both tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses have not or have been limited in practice this week.
Can the Giants get to Cousins with a battered offensive line? They won’t have much excuse, as the team with so much capital invested in their defensive line comes into week 12 tied for last in the league with just 14 sacks. Although Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon both have been battling injuries, they’ll need to lead the defense to prevent Cousins from getting the ball to his playmakers.
The Giants haven’t had a linebacker make the pro bowl since Antonio Pierce in 2006, for what that’s worth. The tight end issue has been problematic previously and it doesn’t look like much help is in sight for the remainder of 2017.
Davis is a matchup nightmare for Steve Spagnuolo, to put it simply. If the New York Giants want to stay in the game against rival Washington, they’ll have to pressure Cousins into some mistakes.