September 23, 2014

The New York Giants not only got to heal up during their bye week, they got to watch two of their division rivals get blown out.

One of those foes was the Washington Redskins, who are hopeful of bouncing back since they are back at home.

The Redskins can post their first five-game, single-season win home streak since 1991 on Sunday when they face the Giants in a showdown for first place in the mediocre NFC East.

The East has produced only nine victories against non-division foes for the league's lowest total heading into Week 12. New York (5-5) has a one-game lead over Washington (4-6), and slumping Philadelphia fell 1 1/2 games back with a 45-14 loss to Detroit on Thursday.

While the Giants sat out Week 11, the Redskins were crushed 44-16 at Carolina and the Eagles were routed 45-17 at home to Tampa Bay. Those clubs could have joined New York atop the division at the time.

Washington has that chance again this week. The Redskins' four-game win home streak is their longest in three years, with a 47-14 victory over New Orleans in their last game at FedEx Field on Nov. 15.

"When you play at home, it's pretty common knowledge that you're going to play better over the long haul," said quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is third in the NFL with a 68.3 completion percentage. "Because its home, because you're in a friendly environment, a familiar environment."

Cousins has nine touchdown passes and no interceptions with a 122.6 passer rating in the four-game home win streak. He has five TDs and has been picked off eight times with a 69.8 rating in five road games.

"I think he's much more confident," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I think the rhythm with which he goes about his business, particularly in the play-action pass game, is outstanding."

Washington has dropped five straight to New York. Cousins is 0-3 against the Giants, throwing for two scores with eight interceptions and a 48.6 rating.

In a 32-21 loss Sept. 24, the Giants built a 12-0 lead after one quarter and cruised with Eli Manning going 23 of 32 for 279 yards and two scores.

"We felt that game got away from us early and it kind of changed our approach," Cousins said. "I think we kind of had to scrap much of our game plan because we got into a two-minute mode for much of the second half. A lot of it goes back to turnovers and penalties and some of the same mistakes that are going to hurt you in any of the games you play."

The Giants have forced 23 turnovers for the league's second-best total. They are tied with Carolina at plus-13 for the NFL lead while the Redskins are at minus-five.

Manning will have a new target in Hakeem Nicks, who was signed Nov. 17 for his second stint with the club after being out of football since the start of the season. Nicks had two 1,000-yard seasons with New York between 2009-13 before injuries derailed him last year for Indianapolis.

"He looks like he's running well, grasping the offense," Manning said. "We just got to be smart and put him in there, make sure he knows what he can do so we can put him out there and play fast."

The Giants fell 27-26 at home to New England before the bye Nov. 15. Manning had two touchdowns, giving him 10 in his last three games and 21 to tie for fourth in the NFL.

Odell Beckham Jr. has amassed 339 yards through the air with four scores in that span. He has four TDs in two games against Washington.

Giants tight end Larry Donnell is expected to miss a third straight game with a neck issue. Donnell scored a career-high three TDs the last time the Giants visited the Redskins in a 45-14 victory Sept. 25, 2014.

New York has outscored Washington 145-71 in the last five meetings, with the last three coming since Jay Gruden became Redskins coach. Manning has thrown for nine scores and 829 yards with a 118.3 rating in the last three matchups.

"Overall it's just a matter of us playing up to their level of physicality," Gruden said. "I feel that they've out-physicaled us the last three times, number one, and that's something that we have to make sure we're ready for."

Alfred Morris aggravated a rib injury last Sunday, though Washington's top rusher expects to play.

Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson was out with a hamstring injury the last time these teams met while Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was out after losing his index finger in a July 4th fireworks accident. Both are back now.

Washington, though, won't have cornerback Chris Culliver due to a knee injury suffered in practice. It has been reported he will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

You May Like