It’s an all-NFC East matchup for Thursday Night Football as the New York Giants visit a Washington Football Team smarting after an opening day loss to the LA Chargers in which starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was knocked onto IR with a hip subluxation.
As a result Taylor Heinicke once more enters the fray to start for the first time since last year’s play-off loss against the Buccaneers, in which he impressed many with his rugged determination and never say die attitude.
Under centre for the Giants will still be Daniel Jones (for now). The sixth overall pick from 2019 struggling in the opening day defeat to the Denver Broncos, in which his 40th career turnover put the game out of reach of recovery.
As recent memory has taught many NFL fans, this NFC East tie might just come down to which QB makes lass mistakes rather than who excels beyond their expectations.
Horses in the back
With air yards looking like they could be limited, it could instead be the ground game that decides the direction of this tie – with work horse running backs in both stables.
Washington’s Antonio Gibson bolted on opening weekend, with a 90-yard rushing performance that averaged 4.5 yards a carry, and reconfirmed to many that the second year back has nothing but a bright future ahead of him.
By comparison, Giants’ starlet Saquon Barkley stayed very much at a gentle trot in their opener, managing just 26 yards on 10 carries, and making little progress against the Broncos’ defence.
Eruption from either of these two could be enough to swing the game – and don’t forget the running prowess of both quarterbacks, who both have the ability to break things open with their legs (if not through the air).
Young and hungry
Defensively, it’s hard not to worry about what Chase Young could end up doing to the Giants offensive line, who had trouble making space for Barkley, and had issues with keeping Von Miller off Daniel Jones.
Young had a surprisingly quiet game to open the season, compared to his very high rookie season standards, and was even taunted by Keenan Allen in the immediate seconds before the game winning throw and catch, so expect Young to be fully up for this one.
The pass-rusher works with terrific energy and seeing this fumble-heavy quarterback could be the blood in the water to this defensive shark.
Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Washington line also possesses Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen – nothing too much for the Giants O-line then…
Battle of the new boys
One match-up it may be a good idea to keep an eye on will be new Giants’ receiver Kenny Golladay up against Washington’s big off-season purchase at corner-back, William Jackson.
Both showed some of what made them such desirable purchases in their respective openers, Golladay snatching 64 yards through the air off four balls, while Jackson popped up with his first interception in burgundy colours with a smart snag on a deep out.
These two could be a nice battle all game long and with air yards potentially hard to come by; Golladay winning his individual battle on the outside could be huge.
Overall, then, I think I can only see a Washington win here. Despite four of Daniel Jones’ wins coming against the Football Team, I don’t think they have enough to withhold this defensive line.
Taylor Heinicke might not be an A-grade QB, but number four has a certain swag about him that seems to energise the team and he did himself no harm by going 11/15 and a touchdown for 122 yards once he had replaced Fitzpatrick.
I expect this to be an enjoyable tie with two teams looking not to fall too far behind in their division. It’s hard to say whether either of the opening day losses were true representations of the team’s ability – but I think the Giants still have far more questions than answers.
Giants 10, Washington 21