Why Nenw York Giants Will Beat the Commanders, Why They Won’t, and a Prediction
The New York Giants Week 15 game at the Washington Commanders will likely be as close to a postseason atmosphere as either team has experienced so far.
And what good practice for the winner, who, while not guaranteed a playoff berth with a win, will win the straight division tie-break should both clubs end up with the same win-loss record.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Giants have a good chance of making it into the postseason increase from 52 percent to 90 percent with a win against Washington. But if they lose, those odds drop to 35 percent.
Going a little further, if the Giants lose to Washington and the Vikings but beat the Colts, they will have 41 percent of making it into the postseason. And if they win their next three games (Washington, Minnesota and Colts), the Giants are in.
Still confused? Yes, it’s a lot to process. That’s why head coach Brian Daboll’s approach – one game at a time – makes the most sense, rather than worrying about multiple what-if scenarios.
So let’s do that and focus on NFC East’s big showdown this week which, if the giants win, would be their first against a league opponent this year.
Why the Giants will win
Despite the impact of the result, this is just the next game on the Giants’ schedule. That’s the message head coach Brian Daboll has been trying to impress his team so they focus on what they can control rather than worrying about things that aren’t.
The Giants need to get their running game back on track. After a 152-yard rushing performance on 35 carries against the Texans in the Giants’ last win, Saquon Barkley has 205 yards in 73 carries in five games, an average of 2.8 yards per carry, which just isn’t enough will.
Although some might point out that Washington figured out how to neutralize Barkley, it didn’t help that the Giants only ran him seven times in the first meeting.
The silver lining to the Giants’ decision to limit Barkley to just 20 snaps against the Eagles last week (due to a shoulder/neck issue) could work in the Giants’ favor if Barkley arrives with fresher legs and ready for a heavier workload.
The other factor to watch is which of the two quarterbacks — Daniel Jones for the Giants and Taylor Heinicke for the Commanders — makes the fewest mistakes. In the first encounter, both quarterbacks had a fumble.
In the end, Heinicke brought his team back from a 20-13 deficit to level the game. In contrast, Jones and co. failed to extend their lead to seal the win, in part due to errors like Jon Feliciano’s taunting penalty that cost them a valuable field position for a field goal attempt.
Narrowing down mistakes will be key, but also figuring out which of the two quarterbacks can improve their team now that it’s crisis time.
Why the Giants will lose
The Giants had hoped cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) might be ready for this game, and with good reason. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Commanders destroyed Giants cornerbacks and completed 13 of 17 pass goals against Zyon Gilbert, CorDale Flott and Fabian Moreau.
Moreau primarily covered receiver Terry McLaurin, who caught five of seven passes for 74 yards, four first downs and a touchdown. While that’s not necessarily a sign of what’s to come should Moreau re-draw the contract, if you’re the Commanders you’re probably feeling good about a possible rematch, not to mention McLaurin’s other opportunities to pass catch against others pulled him for cover.
The other concern is that Washington’s defensive line, which defensive end Chase Young should have in the lineup, is up against the Giants’ offensive line. The Giants offensive line. Quarterback Daniel Jones in the first meeting was under pressure on 30 percent of his dropbacks, 20 percent of those who come across a flash. Not bad, right?
Last week, however, the offensive line’s pass protection was a sieve, Pressure to allow 54.5 percent of Jones’ dropbackswhich is no surprise considering the Eagles have the best pass rush win rate as a team (54 percent). On the other hand, Washington a Pass rush win rate of 41 percent (19.) – Not an ideal matchup for a Giants offensive line 29th in pass blocking efficiency (82.3 percent).
First, the loser of that game is not eliminated from postseason consideration. Whichever team comes up with the short bat will have to climb a steeper hill to enter the seven-team postseason tournament.
Other than that, these two teams are about as identical as can be, as evidenced by their Week 13 clash. Despite the Giants struggling in primetime games and Washington having a bye and being at home, I think the Giants, who I think hit the tie a little harder than Washington two weeks ago, buckle up and take takes care of business in a close game with few points.
Giants 19, Commanders 17