NFL Week 17: Redskins At Giants Preview

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Harvey Valentine

When: 1 p.m. Dec. 29
Where: MetLife Stadium (82,500)
Records: Redskins, 3-12; Giants, 6-9
TV: CBS (Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, Kris Budden)  
Radio: Redskin Radio Network (Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen, Chris Cooley)

Because the schedule requires it, the Washington Redskins will travel to MetLife Stadium and face the New York Giants Dec. 29 to end what has been a dreadful season.

It will be the final game for Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who has already announced his plan to retire at the end of the season. It could also be the last game with Washington for numerous free agents and coaches, including head coach Mike Shanahan, whose fate could be known as early as Dec. 29. He brings a 24-39 record with the Redskins into the season finale.

"There's a different feeling to this game than there was at the end of last season or earlier in this season," quarterback Kirk Cousins said this week, "because you don't know what that locker room is going to look like in April. And as a part of the NFL, you understand that uncertainty and a lot of turnover is a part of playing in this league."

Shanahan said he'd play his regulars Dec. 29 rather than work in some of the younger players. Washington will look to avoid its first 3-13 season since 1994. It will also be trying to avoid going winless against the NFC East for the third time during the last 20 years.

The Redskins have lost seven straight, the last two by one point each, and it will be interesting to see the kind of effort they show on what should be a cold, windy day in north Jersey.

The Giants are 6-3 after starting the season 0-6, and are a banged-up bunch looking to finish strong after knocking Detroit out of playoff contention Dec. 22.

New York beat Washington, 24-17, at FedEx Field during a Week 13 game that featured a mistaken first-down call by the officials during Washington's final drive.

When The Redskins Have The Ball
Cousins will make his third start of the season. After a solid game in Atlanta Dec. 15, he was less effective against the Cowboys Dec. 22. He will be facing a Giants defense that ranks 13th in the league against the pass, allowing 227.5 yards per game, and 15th against the run (110 yards/game).

During the first game against New York, quarterback Robert Griffin III passed for 207 yards and a touchdown on 24-of-32 passing. He was sacked five times, including four by defensive end Justin Tuck. Cousins has been sacked once during his two starts.

Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garçon caught nine passes for 61 yards during the first meeting and will have a chance to add to his Redskins record for most catches during a season (107). The NFL receptions leader, Garcon could become the first Washington player to finish first since Art Monk did it when he caught 106 passes in 1984.

Garçon could also join Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith (2001) as the only players since the adoption of the 16-game schedule in 1978 to post at least five receptions during all 16 games of a season.

Alfred Morris rushed 11 times for 26 yards during the first meeting (Griffin ran 12 times for 88 yards), and is coming off an 88-yard day against Dallas. Morris needs 174 yards to become the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 3,000 yards during his first two seasons.

Safety Antrel Rolle leads the Giants with 93 tackles (76 solo), including two sacks, and also has one forced fumble. Rolle leads New York, and is tied for second in the NFL, with six interceptions. Tuck has totaled a team-leading nine sacks.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride (groin), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) did not practice Dec. 24.

When The Giants Have The Ball
In 2013, Eli Manning has completed 307 of 527 passes (58.3 percent) for 3,666 yards, 17 touchdowns and a league-high 26 interceptions. One of his better games was against Washington, when he was 22-of-28 for 235 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

Manning could be without some of his best weapons Dec. 29.

Running back Andre Brown leads the Giants with 126 carries for 481 yards (3.8-yard average) and three touchdowns, but suffered a concussion against Detroit. Fellow running back Peyton Hillis sat out the Detroit game with a concussion, but could return against the Redskins.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz, Manning's favorite target in 2013, will be out. Hakeem Nicks has 54 catches for 846 yards (15.7-yard average), and tight end Brandon Myers has contributed 45 receptions for 513 yards (11.4-yard average and four touchdowns). Second-year wideout Rueben Randle has 41 catches for 611 yards (14.9-yard average) and a team-high six touchdowns.

Along the offensive line, guard Brandon Mosley (hand) did not practice Dec. 24 and guard David Diehl (knee) was limited.

As the Redskins' defense tries to bounce back from allowing a fourth-quarter, game-winning drive against Dallas, it may be without sack leader Brian Orakpo (groin). If he plays, Orakpo needs one sack to match his single-season career high (11.0 in 2009).

Special Teams
Washington kicker Kai Forbath has made 12 straight field goals and had one of his best efforts on kickoffs Dec. 22, hitting three for touchbacks. New York's Josh Brown is 21-of-23 on field-goal attempts.

Redskins return specialist Nick Williams averaged 23 yards on four kickoff returns Dec. 22, including a 29-yarder. Washington receiver/returner Santana Moss returned three punts for 33 yards, with a long of 18.

Giants rookie running back Michael Cox has returned 18 kickoffs for 382 yards (21.2-yard average). Randle has returned 29 punts for 237 yards (8.2-yard average).

Against Dallas, Washington yielded a 62-yard punt return, which led to a touchdown, on Sav Rocca's first punt.

Prediction
The Redskins lost to two bad defenses the last two weeks. The Giants are better than that, despite their injuries. Manning had one of his better games of the season against the Redskins Dec. 1 and should fare well Dec. 29 … NY Giants 27, Washington 24.

next up:

Stan 'The Fan' Charles Week 17 NFL Picks

December 26, 2013

Stan "The Fan" Charles shares his Week 17 NFL predictions, and he says the Giants should beat the Redskins Dec. 29 to finish the season 7-9.

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