SERIES HISTORY: 172nd regular-season meeting. Giants lead series, 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 teams in games played at FedExField. The Giants have been held to just 10 points in their last two appearances at FedExField.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Giants' run defense has allowed opponents to rack up 100-plus 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 as Mark Sanchez starts, don't be surprised if Washington leans heavily on Adrian Peterson to move the chains.
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.
The key on offense is simple: Keep it simple for Sanchez. He's in a totally unfair position. Chris Thompson and Peterson need to carry the load - though with the offensive line in shambles that might not be possible. As long as tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses are playing the Redskins have a fighting chance.
On defense, Washington did a nice job stopping New York's running game in the first meeting. But dealing with Odell Beckham Jr. is going to be a Josh Norman affair. There's nothing else they can do with Quinton Dunbar now on injured reserve (hamstring/nerve). Rookies Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander are going to get picked on relentlessly, which may force the pass rush to take chances and quickly pressure Eli Manning.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
NEW YORK GIANTS
--QUESTIONABLE: LB Tae Davis (ankle), LB B.J. Goodson (neck, foot)
--OUT: LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring), C/G Tony Bergstrom (knee, ankle), QB Colt McCoy (fibula)
--QUESTIONABLE: LB Zach Brown (illness), DE Matt Ioannidis (shin), C Chase Roullier (knee), WR Josh Dotson (hip)
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Giants LB Alex Ogletree vs. Redskins RB Chris Thompson. Ogletree has the speed to neutralize a pass-game threat like Thompson, who can turn a swing pass into a home run. Ogletree has six passes broken up and four interceptions with four tackles for loss. He's always around the ball. Thompson's first game back from a rib injury was a struggle with three rushing yards on three carries and three catches for 18 yards.
--Giants RT Chad Wheeler vs. Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan. Former Cowboys TE 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.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: RB Adrian Peterson. The Redskins can't put too much on Mark Sanchez's shoulders. Peterson has to carry the load the way he did in the first game against New York with 149 rushing yards and a receiving and rushing touchdown. There has to be a middle ground between last week's 90-yard run against Philadelphia where Peterson had just eight yards on his other eight carries and the massive day he had against the Giants. Call it 80 yards and two rushing touchdowns and the Redskins will take it.
FAST FACTS: GIANTS ELI MANNING passed for 316 yards & TD in last meeting. In his past 5 on road, has 1,507 pass yards (301.4 per game) with 9 TDs vs. 3 INTs for 107 rating. ... RB SAQUON BARKLEY (rookie) rushed for 125 yards in Week 13. Ranks 3rd in NFL with 954 rush yards & 1,556 scrimmage yards in 2018. His 954 rush yards are most by rookie in franchise history. Aims for his 6th in row with 100+ scrimmage yards. Has 440 scrimmage yards (146.7 per game) & 5 TDs (3 rush, 2 rec.) in his past 3. ... WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. had TD catch & threw 49-yard TD pass last week. Is 1st player since 1924 (EDDIE KAW & BENNY BONTON) with multiple games with both pass TD & rec. TD in single season. Leads team with 1,052 rec. yards this season & is only player in NFL history with 1,000+ rec. yards & multiple TD passes in single season. Has 4 TD catches in his past 4. ... LB ALEC OGLETREE had 10 tackles & 2 INTs, incl. 8-yard INT-TD last week. Has 4 INT-TDs since 2014, most among active NFL LBs. ... Rookie DL B.J. HILL had career-high 3 sacks in Week 13. Ranks 3rd among NFL rookies with 5 sacks this season. ... REDSKINS QB MARK SANCHEZ will make 1st start since 11/26/15 (with Phi.). ... RB ADRIAN PETERSON rushed for 98 yards, incl. 90-yard rush TD in Week 13. Has 16 TD runs of 50+ yards & surpassed HOFer BARRY SANDERS (15) for most such runs in NFL history. Has 106 career rush TDs, tied with HOFer JIM BROWN (106) for 5th-most all-time. Has 13,132 career rush yards & needs 128 to surpass HOFer ERIC DICKERSON (13,259) for 8th-most in NFL history. Had season-high 149 rush yards & 2 TDs (1 rush, 1 rec.) in last meeting. ... TE JORDAN REED has 6+ catches & 70+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3. Leads team with 54 receptions & 558 rec. yards in 2018. ... LB RYAN KERRIGAN has 5 sacks, FF & PD in his past 3 at home. In his past 3 vs. NYG, has 5.5 sacks & FF. ... CB JOSH NORMAN had INT last week. Is only NFL player with 10+ INTs (12) & 10+ FFs (11) since 2014. ... LB MASON FOSTER ranks 2nd in NFC with 102 tackles in 2018, his 3rd-career 100-tackle season.
PREDICTION: The Giants are playing better of late after a disastrous 1-7 start and their offense appears to be coming alive thanks to some improved offensive line play. Washington's run defense has struggled since the first meeting and it could be a long day if RB Adrian Peterson cannot get into a steady rhythm.
OUR PICK: Giants, 27-17