In addition to stopping Matt Jones and Alfred Morris, the Giants must protect Eli Manning from himself. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Redskins at Giants
If the NFL reduced this game to three quarters; I would confidently pick the Giants. That about sums up what I’m certain I know about either of these NFC East rivals. Yes, the Redskins have displayed a formidable defense through two weeks. Then again, Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles won’t be confused with Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady any time soon. Tannehill can’t (or won’t) throw the football downfield. Foles has been unpredictable since his breakout 2013 season. I’ll credit the Washington defense for playing well to start the season, but I’m not ready to hail their defense as a great, or even good unit without further proof.
Do Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and a lackluster running game qualify as a more capable offense? Yes, but barely. There have been stretches this season when the Giants offense looks capable of hanging 30 points every week. Then someone (usually Manning) commits a foolish turnover or some other costly mistake that ultimately sabotages their effectiveness. Can the Giants go 60 consecutive minutes without a devastating self-inflicted wound? If they could, they’d be sitting pretty atop the NFC East at 2-0. Instead, their disheartening 0-2 record can be traced directly to two Eli Manning whoopsies.
I also have no feel for the Giants defense. Though Julio Jones manhandled them, they’ve performed admirably thus far. Then again, neither Dallas nor Atlanta boasts a proven workhouse running back like Alfred Morris. Add the blossoming Matt Jones to the mix and the Redskins field a threatening running attack. Can the Giants do what neither Miami nor St. Louis could and limit the NFL’s best rushing team? (That sentence is so fraudulent. As if two weeks really makes someone the NFL’s best rushing team. But hey, stats don’t lie.) Right now Kirk Cousins is a check-down machine. His 75% completion percentage looks nice, but when you consider he’s completed 44 passes for less than 400 yards it’s pretty obvious the offense has lost its ability to stretch a defense without the injured DeSean Jackson. I expect the Giants to stack the box and dare Cousins to beat them downfield.
It should be noted; it’s been 364 days since these two teams last met on Thursday night. In picking that game I posted what is probably one of the three worst things I’ve ever written in my life. You can check out the atrocity for yourself, but allow me to share some of it with you.
“Though the sample size is small, one could argue Kirk Cousins is the NFC East’s best quarterback. “
Yikes. That’s bad.
“Cousins never looks out of place. His poise is second to none in the division.”
Please make it stop.
“Will he be the best quarterback in the division at season’s end, or even six weeks from now? Who knows, but you’d be dead wrong if you think he doesn’t have a chance.”
I can’t read those quotes and still pick the Redskins. The Giants will undoubtedly let me down, but I can’t go back to thinking Kirk Cousins belongs under center in the NFL. It happened once. I won’t let it happen again. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Giants -4