New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
Friday November 24th, 01:30 GMT
TV - Live on Sky Sports Main Event
Giants benefit from favourable winds
The G-Men pulled off one of the shocks of the season at the Meadowlands on Sunday in their 12-9 win over the Chiefs. Winds of over 40 mph were predicted for Metlife stadium, and the wintry gusts froze whatever offensive efforts the Chiefs tried to muster.
Playmaker Tyreek Hill was targeted just once on a route further than one-yard from the line of scrimmage. This calls in to question not just QB Alex Smith, but game-planning by the coaching staff. The Giants secondary has been ripped apart by lesser teams than the Chiefs this season, and the defence as a whole had allowed 82 points in the previous two games.
They held KC to three field goals through nearly five quarters of football. Smith had only been intercepted once this season before Sunday, and Kareem Hunt was limited by Damon Harrison and the defensive line.
The win came at a price. Three of the Giants defensive line starters are in doubt, with Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul officially questionable, and there are several injuries in the linebacker group as well.
On offence, running back Orleans Darkwa and receiver Sterling Shepard are dealing with issues. Even if available, the line Eli Manning and company will play behind is likely to be the eighth different combination this season, with guards DJ Fluker and Justin Pugh already ruled out.
Tough losses mounting for Washington
While the hurting New York Giants can at least revel in taking down a much-fancied opponent on Sunday, Washington will be wondering what might have been going in to this game.
With just over four minutes left in the New Orleans Superdome, Washington led by fifteen points and looked to have halted the progress of the irresistible Saints. What should have been a morale-boosting road win against the team on the hottest streak in the league somehow became another desperate loss for Washington.
Add this Saints game to the week four loss to Chiefs from a seemingly unassailable position, and Washington could be 6-4 instead of 4-6. Just five days on, they'll need to bounce back quickly against divisional rivals if they're to stay alive in the postseason race.
Washington's thankless schedule
The quick turnaround for Thanksgiving's slate of games will not have endeared the schedule-makers to Washington's staff. This is the second of three games the Redskins will play in the space of twelve days.
Washington have already dealt with an avalanche of injuries on both sides of the ball this season, and the shortened week helps even less. Chris Thompson is gone for the season, Terrelle Pryor has ended a miserable campaign on IR, Jordan Reed continues to struggle against the limitations of his body, and Spencer Long is done for the rest of the year, to name only a few recent offensive losses.
Through all this turmoil, quarterback Kirk Cousins has endured, produced, and begun to thrive. Sunday was his best performance of the season and should have earned a signature win. Amid the turnover of players across the offence, he has developed a rapport with young receivers like Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant, and has been fearless behind an ever-changing offensive line.
Thompson's absence should impact the passing game, as he has been such a reliable outlet for Cousins. His replacement, rookie Samaje Perine, is not a reliable ball-handler, but it would not be a surprise to see Cousins take this latest casualty in his stride as well.
The Redskins do not have a difficult schedule for the rest of the season, and can still make it to 10-6. With their season on the line, they clearly have the motivational edge going into this game. They've also outclassed the Saints and played the Vikings close in the last two weeks.
Circumstances conspired to help New York on Sunday. KC have been on the wane for some time, and the conditions helped too. It's difficult to see how the Giants will score enough points to be competitive here. Washington are healthier on defence now, and should be able to restrict the Giants passing attack. The injuries across the defensive line could see Cousins given lots of time to pick passes as well.
I would prefer to have them -6.5, but I still think they are good enough to cover against this ramshackle Giants team at -7 or -7.5. Take Washington -7.5 on the Handicap market at 2.111/10.
For similar reasons I think the Washington/Washington option in the Half-time/Full-time market on the Sportsbook at 8/11 is worth considering. Washington need to win this, and their best chance is to score early and exploit the lack of motivation for this 2-10 Giants team.
Finally, the Giants are the worst defence in the league defending tight-ends this season, giving up 752 yards and ten touchdowns. Jordan Reed is officially out, meaning Vernon Davis will get the start. Davis is available as an Anytime Touchdown Scorer at 3/2 on the Sportsbook.
More speculative punts on Davis's backups are worth considering too. Niles Paul and Jeremy Sprinkle, at 25/1 each for Last Touchdown Scorer are interesting options. If Washington are in control of this game there's every chance they see playing time, and they could take advantage of late opportunities.
1pt on Washington -7.5 on the Handicap market @ 2.111/10
1pt on Washington/Washington on the Half-time/Full-time market @ 8/11
1pt on Vernon Davis on the Anytime Touchdown Scorer market @ 3/2
0.2pt on Niles Paul if active, or Jeremy Sprinkle if Paul is inactive, on the Last Touchdown Scorer market @ 25/1