172nd regular-season meeting. Giants lead, 99-68-4. The Giants road record against Washington is 46-39-2, but Washington has won two out of the last three meetings between the team in games played at FedEx Field. The Giants have been held to just 10 points in their last two appearances at FedEx Field.
RB Saquon Barkley. The first time Barkley faced Washington, he rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries, his second lowest yardage total of the season. Since being put behind a revamped offensive line, Barkley has rushed for 100 yards in three out of his last four games and is seeking his fourth game in a row having hit or crossed the century mark. It won’t be easy as Washington’s 9th ranked run defense is allowing opponents an average of 102.8 yards per game, but in its last five games, they’ve allowed opponents an average of 134.4 rushing yards per game versus the 80.1 rushing yards per game they allowed in their first seven games.
The Giants run defense has allowed opponents to rack up 100+ yards in each of their last five games and are currently allowing an average of 124.9 yards per game, 24th in the league.
So this week with Washington’s quarterback situation being somewhat unsettled, don’t be surprised if Washington leans heavily on Adrian Peterson to move the chains.
The 33-year-old Peterson is averaging 4.2 yards per carry for Washington as he continues to prove to the league that he’s far from being washed up. Last week against the Eagles, Peterson ripped off an impressive 90-yard touchdown run, showing no sign of a drop-off in his speed.
Meanwhile the Giants run defense, which earlier in the year was gashed on the edges, has struggled up the middle since trading away nose tackle Damon Harrison, though last week, the Giants edge defenders also struggled to disengage from their blocks.
Offensively, it’s all about sustaining drives, and against Washington, the Giants, whose 2018 third-down season conversion rate is 36.7%, have been especially good in that area in their last four games, where they have converted 20 out of 50 third down attempts (40%).
That the Giants have gotten hot in converting third downs comes at a great time, especially this week. Over their last five games, Washington’s defense has struggled to get off the field on third downs, allowing 54.1 percent of those attempts to be converted. That’s the worst rate in the league over that five-game period.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Giants RT Chad Wheeler vs. Washington OLB Ryan Kerrigan. Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten isn’t the only NFC east foe who has consistently been a thorn in the Giants’ side. Kerrigan, Washington’s sack leader with 8.0, has 5.5 sacks in his last three games against the Giants, including the 1.5 sacks he posted against them in their first meeting earlier this year. Expect Wheeler, who in his last three games has allowed eight total pressures, including 2.0 sacks per Pro Football Focus, to get some help in his quest to keep Kerrigan from wrecking the game.
Giants Pass Defense vs. Washington TE Jordan Reed. The Giants have allowed opposing tight ends to score in two of their last four games since the bye. Overall, the Giants have allowed opposing tight ends to convert on 56 of 77 pass targets (73%) for 642 yards and 3 touchdowns. This week, with safety Landon Collins, who has primarily drawn responsibility for the tight in coverage, it remains to be seen how they will try to keep Reed, who in six career games against the Giants has caught 33 of 47 pass targets (70%) for 341 yards and a touchdown, from having a big day.