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The Giants look to keep rolling as the Redskins come to town

 

Despite the Giants offense not scoring a single touchdown against the Saints they managed to pull off the win because of strong defense and special teams.  The Giants will certainly look to put more points on the board and find the end zone in the process as they play host to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.  There are few aspects of the game to keep your eye on.

The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is the Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman matchup.  The last time these two faced each other, Norman was in a Carolina Panther uniform and the brand of football that was played was ugly, thanks to three personal fouls by Beckham which led to a one game suspension.  When Beckham was asked if he’s concerned about the matchup, he said,”Really focused on going 3-0. Wherever I go, wherever I line up, that’s my job. The same way it would be whoever’s job it is to stop me.  The biggest concern is winning.  I expect him to play his game the way he’s always played to get him in the position he is now. He’s obviously done a good job of that.”

When coach Ben McAdoo was asked to weigh in on the matchup between Beckham and Norman, “It was not a great show last year.  We learned from the past and we moved on from the past.”  Beckham and the team have appeared to put it in the rear view so the question is when they do line up across from one another can Beckham check his emotions and simply focus on the task at hand.

The Giants defense has excelled in the first two games holding the Cowboys and Saints to a total of two touchdowns.  Thus far here are some key defensive rankings.

Pts. – 16  (9th)
Total Yds – 308 (8th)
Pass Yds – 237 (14th)
Rush Yds – 71 (4th)
The secondary will have their hands full with wide receiver DeSean Jackson, tight end Jordan Reed, along with wide receivers Jamison Crowder, and Pierre Garcon.  What’s important to note is the consistent play of the linebacking corps led by Jonathan Casillas.  Casillas and company will need to make a strong contribution in helping the Giants secondary contain the Redskins receivers.  The revamped defensive line has yet to record a sack and with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul both dealing with injuries the question remains will these two leaders of the line be able to get to Kirk Cousins.  Cousins is off to a rough start this season, with 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions and a 78.5 passer rating.  If the defensive line can get pressure on Cousins and knock him down a few times early that will probably go a long way in helping to erode whatever confidence he still has.
The Giants running game took a step backward in week two against the Saints as Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen tallied just 69 yards on 27 carries for an average of just 2.6 yards per carry.  In the season opener against the Cowboys the Giants rushed 24 times for 113 yards for an average of 4.7 yards per carry.  The way the carries were split from the first to the second game was quite different as well.  In the opener, Jennings had 18 carries to Vereen’s 6 carries while in the Saints game Vereen had 14 touches to Jennings’ 13.  The Giants have used Vereen very effectively thus far, utilizing his versatility as a runner and receiver and they should continue to do that versus the Redskins. Jennings is dealing with a thumb injury so it still isn’t clear how the team plans on using him against the Redskins.  If for some reason he’s unable to play, expect Orleans Darkwa to get an opportunity and split the workload with Vereen.  Either way the Giants will need to re-establish their running game as a means of keeping the Redskins defense honest.  A strong running game and more balance offense against their division rival should give them a better chance at winning and going 3-0 to start the 2016 campaign.
Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY   You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY
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