- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 25, 2018

The New York Giants are a dumpster fire.

Over their last 23 games, the Giants are just 4-19. This past week, the franchise traded two defensive starters — Eli Apple and Damon Harrison — ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Washington Redskins. Quarterback Eli Manning appears washed up.

But there’s a reason the Redskins are only listed as 1-point favorites over the Giants (1-6). Washington isn’t exactly a model franchise, either. The Redskins even lost to the Giants last season in Week 17. Still, it would be an upset if the Giants pulled off the win. Here are five keys for the Redskins to avoid a disappointing loss. 

Know this is a trap game

The Redskins insist they can’t take the Giants lightly despite their record. And frankly, what are they supposed to say? But Adrian Peterson made a salient point nonetheless when asked if this was a trap game for the Redskins.

“We lost to the Colts earlier this year,” he said.

Ouch.

But true.

The Redskins may be 4-2 and lead the NFC East, but they still have to prove they can win games like this. They failed in that regard earlier this season when Indianapolis, now 2-5, forced an upset in Week 2. Washington can’t afford to look uninspired. They have to be prepared.

Run A.D. (All Day)

Remember that Tom Hanks movie in which the Somali pirates hijack his boat and the one points to his face and declares that he’s the captain now?

That’s basically Peterson and the Redskins this season.

Since he arrived in August, the Redskins have formed their identity around the veteran’s skill set.

The Redskins are basically a run-first team by today’s standards — they pass only 54 percent of the time, fifth-least in the NFL.

On first down, the Redskins run the ball 60 percent of the time. And hey, it’s worked. The Redskins aren’t the most efficient offense, but Peterson has been a major factor in their wins.

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith said future Hall-of-Famer Peterson embodies “what we want to be about not only as an offense but as a team. I just think the way he’s played on that edge – physical, relentless. … That kind of physicality certainly helped set the tone for us quite a few times this year.”

The Giants, too, rank 20th in stopping the run — allowing 113.9 yards per game. And by trading Harrison to the Lions for a fifth-round pick, the Giants got rid of their best run defender.

Beware of Beckham

Did you see Odell Beckham’s comments about how he doesn’t like water? How about his candid sitdown with ESPN that, for some reason, involved Lil Wayne?

It’s hard to miss Beckham these days as the wide receiver can stir up plenty of discussion off the field.

Lost in all the chaos: Beckham is still a heck of a football player. This season, he’s fourth in receiving yards with 649 and tied for third in receptions (53). Last season, the Redskins didn’t have to worry about Beckham, who missed both meetings with a broken ankle. But stopping Beckham should be Washington’s No. 1 focus.

Make Eli Manning wish he was doing commercials instead

It was telling when the New York Giants released 2015 first-rounder Ereck Flowers last week, and most experts thought the move was an upgrade for the team’s offensive line.

For years, the tackle was the worst player on a horrendous offensive line. Benching Flowers, and ultimately releasing him, was seen as a positive.

That being said, the Giants‘ offensive line is still a mess.

Manning has been sacked 24 times this season, fifth-most in the league. At age 37, Manning might be on his last legs, but he’s spending a lot of time on the ground.

The Redskins have capable pass rushers to exploit the Giants‘ o-line and disrupt Manning’s game.

Stop running back Saquon Barkley

Here’s a wild fact about Saquon Barkley: The rookie running back has the second-most yards from the line of scrimmage — trailing only the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley, who’s an MVP candidate.

Barkley, who was drafted second overall, has 905 all-purpose yards (481 rushing, 424 receiving). Peterson described Barkley as elusive — and the Penn State product is. He is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Another factor with Barkley: he’s explosive. He’s had 10 plays that have resulted in 20 yards or more, seven of which came on run plays.

Interestingly enough, the Redskins‘ defense has yet to allow an opponent to break off a run longer than 18 yards. Barkley has done that in five of his seven games.


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