The New York Giants disastrous season will finally come to an end of Sunday as they take on the (7-8) Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium.
The New York Giants will try to avoid going 0-12 against the NFC on Sunday, but fans may want the Giants to lose because they’ll lock up the second pick in the draft with another loss.
If the Giants have the second pick in the draft they would have the opportunity to draft a pair of highly touted quarterbacks, USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or try to trade the pick and stockpile more draft picks, both in 2018 and the future.
But the Giants have never believed in tanking, and although it may serve them best long-term to lose on Sunday, they will play with pride and try to win.
Here are the keys to victory for the Giants.
1. Feature the running backs
The Giants are a depleted team as they have 22 players on IR. However, their running backs are relatively healthy and should be the focal point of the offensive attack.
In their previous meeting on Thanksgiving, when the Redskins defeated the Giants 20-10, Big Blue rushed the ball 24 times for 84 yards.
The Redskins rush defense has been vulnerable lately as they gave up 159 yards last week to the Denver Broncos.
So expect the Giants to get Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman more involved on Sunday than they did in the previous matchup.
2. Eli can’t force the ball into tight coverage
Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Eli Manning threw two interceptions because he forced the ball into tight coverage. With his top two receiving targets Evan Engram (ribs) and Sterling Shepard (neck) nursing injuries, he can’t force the ball to whomever he’s trying to connect with on Sunday.
He must play mistake-free football if the Giants are going to have any chance of winning. If he plays the way he did last week, the Giants will finish the season 2-14.
3. Get heat on Kirk Cousins
In their first meeting, the Giants sacked Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins six times. With their secondary ravaged by injuries, it’s imperative the Giants get the same kind of pressure with their front seven as they did in their first meeting.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon had a combined 3.5 sacks last time these teams met, and Big Blue will need for them to come up with the same kind of performance. If they can’t get to Cousins, he’ll carve up what’s left of the Giants secondary.