- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2013

REDSKINS VS. GIANTS
Sunday, 1 p.m. TV: Fox
Radio: 980 AM, 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM

1. Can Kirk Cousins take a step forward in his third start?

After throwing for 381 yards in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in his first start of the season, Cousins took a step back and threw for 197 yards in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. He did not take any shots downfield; a 28-yard completion to Pierre Garçon in the second quarter was on a pick play in which he gained 22 yards after the catch. Cousins will have one last chance to increase his value as quarterback Robert Griffin III sits again.

2. Will Brian Orakpo be able to play despite a groin injury?

The outside linebacker strained the muscle in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and while he was limited in Tuesday’s practice, he merely stood on the sidelines during practice on Thursday. There’s been no discussion of declaring Orakpo out before the game, but the team and the player know there’s no reason to play him unless he’s entirely healthy.

3. How many times will Eli Manning be intercepted?

Manning set a new career high when he threw his 26th interception late in the fourth quarter of an overtime victory against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. In the Giants’ six victories, he’s thrown only four interceptions, including one in the 24-17 victory over the Redskins on Dec. 1. Manning also will be without wide receiver Victor Cruz, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week.

4. Who will be making their last appearances with the Redskins?

The Redskins have 22 players set to become free agents after the season, and a good number of them are certain to play in their last game with the team. Inside linebacker London Fletcher already said he’s almost certain to retire, cornerback DeAngelo Hall is facing another new contract and wide receiver Santana Moss could be done after the season as well.

5. What will the atmosphere be like?

Two mediocre teams – perhaps a generous description – will be facing off in the final weekend of the season. The Redskins are trying to avoid their first eight-game losing streak since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970; they lost their first nine games of the 1961 season. The Giants lost their first six games this season, won four of five but have lost two of their last three. Forget about how interested the players will be in the game. How interested will the fans be?