Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants look to extend their early lead in the NFC East when they take on the reeling Redskins
No NFC East game is ever a given. More so than any other division, NFC East games are full of surprises and upsets. These games also feature their fair share of physicality and trash-talking, and the Week 3 matchup between the Redskins and Giants should be no different.
The Giants come into this game 2-0 after very close victories against Dallas and New Orleans. Last week New York seemed to be in control most of the game but a handful of turnovers allowed the Saints to hang around.
The Redskins dropped to 0-2 after a home loss to the Cowboys a week ago. Questions are being raised about quarterback Kirk Cousins’ ability to lead this offense, supporting Washington’s decision to not sign him to a long-term deal this offseason.
This game is critical for both teams. With a loss, the Redskins are looking at a very low likelihood of defending their division title. The Giants could use a victory to begin the season 3-0 for the first time since starting 5-0 start in 2009.
Washington at New York
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Spread: New York -4.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Beckham vs. Norman: The Rematch
If you know anything about this game, you probably know that Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman will be facing off for the first time since their notorious matchup last season, as well as the first time since Norman joined the NFC East. Last year the two battled physically and mentally in a game between the Giants and Carolina Panthers. The battle featured a lot of drama including pre-game threats, several personal foul penalties and a one-game suspension for Beckham the following week. On the field, Beckham had a solid game with six receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown, a game-tying score against Norman. However, Beckham could have had even bigger numbers had he been mentally ready for the game. He had several drops, including a would-be 52 yard score after he burned Norman deep early in the first quarter.
The trash-talking intensified during the offseason and picked back up once the season started, although Beckham seems less interested in the extracurricular activity after getting himself into some hot water a year ago. Norman has performed admirably so far as a member of the Redskins, although he has yet to spend significant time shadowing the opposing teams’ top receivers. Beckham has 12 receptions for 159 yards in the first two games, but will be looking for his first touchdown against Norman and the Redskins. Look for each player to step up their game on Sunday afternoon.
New York’s offense should have cruised to victory last week after its defense held the Saints to only 13 points. However, despite 417 yards of total offense, the Giants could only muster one touchdown. The main culprit was shoddy ball security. Eli Manning lost the football on a sack, Shane Vereen fumbled on a rushing attempt and Victor Cruz coughed it up 40-yard catch-and-run that would have put the Giants in the red zone. Those fumbles came on three straight possessions and seemed to slow the blistering pace at which the Giants were moving the ball.
The Redskins have only forced two turnovers so far, so the Giants will hope that their fumbling problems don’t carry over. If the Redskins can apply some pressure in the backfield, however, they know the recipe to stopping the Giants’ potentially explosive offense.
3. Kirk Cousins
Cousins was a topic of controversy this offseason after leading the Redskins to the NFC East title in 2015. Even though he finished the season with 4,166 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, the Redskins were hesitant to sign Cousins to a long-term contract and instead wanted him to prove himself again. So far through two games he has done the opposite, tossing only one touchdown to three picks against less-than-stellar secondaries in Pittsburgh and Dallas.
New York’s revamped secondary, with the additions of cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, has been tough on opposing quarterbacks. If Cousins can’t put up a decent performance against the Giants, then the questions will really start to pick up regarding his future in Washington.
With a more explosive offense and a defense that has been mighty impressive through two weeks, the Giants look to be the clear favorites coming into this game. They even scored a special teams touchdown last week. Again, however, the NFC East is always a struggle and no game can ever be decided before kickoff. Enjoy the fireworks between Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman, and look to see Eli Manning lead his team to victory and a clear lead in the division.