By Andrew Kahn
Giants fans, accustomed to the unexpected, experienced their first happy Sunday of the season. After double-digit losses in which the offense sputtered to 14 points in each game, the G-Men smacked Houston 30-17 in Week 3. The difference, as is often the case in the NFL, was turnovers. New York committed six in their first two games; their opponents had none. On Sunday, they won the turnover battle 3-1, and also blocked a punt. Washington, meanwhile, has played well on offense since Kirk Cousins took over for the injured Robert Griffin III, but is also 1-2 after a tough loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. These NFC East rivals will kick off at 8:25 ET on CBS.
When New York has the ball:
Against Detroit in Week 1, the Giants fell behind early, couldn’t establish the run, and Eli Manning threw two picks. A lack of a run game and costly interceptions were the difference against Arizona as well. The Giants looked like a different team on Sunday, giving 34 of their 42 carries to Rashad Jennings, who ran for 176 yards and a score. Victor Cruz topped the century mark in receiving yards and did his salsa dance for the first time all season. New York’s receiving corps doesn’t appear too threatening, especially with first-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr. not expected to make his debut, but Manning has often made due with less-than-stellar wideouts.
Washington has allowed the fourth fewest yards in the league, but injuries are a concern. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall and safety Duke Ihenacho suffered season-ending injuries on Sunday. Star linebacker Brian Orakpo will play with a cast, one of several Washington players not at full strength. The Redskins tied for the NFL lead with 10 sacks, though all of them came in a rout of Jacksonville. Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan got after Manning in their two meetings last year, but New York took both games.
When Washington has the ball:
Cousins is getting a lot of love around the league, but Washington has lost his last four starts. He did throw for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, and the Redskins are second only to Atlanta with 444 yards per game. Alfred Morris has been solid if not spectacular out of the backfield, and Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson have been a nice 1-2 punch for Cousins.
The Giants are in the bottom third of the league in yards and points allowed, not good considering Arizona and Houston aren’t expected to be offensive juggernauts. Washington has established itself as one and will test the Giants, particularly in the secondary. Safety Stevie Brown doesn’t appear 100 percent after missing last season with a torn ACL, and was pulled on Sunday. Quintin Demps was signed as a kick returner but took reps with the first team defense this week. He’ll be thrown into the fire on Thursday.
Prediction: New York 31, Washington 27
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about the NFL and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.
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