There’s nothing on the line but pride and bragging rights in the Week 16 NFC East rivalry game between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. Game time is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 22 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Fans in local markets will be able to watch the game on Fox.
Current odds have the Redskins favored by 2.5 points at home. There is also an over/under for the game set at 42.5 points. Click here to check out a full list of this week’s NFL betting odds.
After nine straight losses, the Giants finally got back on the winning side of things last week. With Eli Manning filling in for the injured Daniel Jones, the G-Men took care of business against the lowly Dolphins, winning 36-20 in what could be Manning’s farewell. In the long run, the win doesn’t mean much. But it was surely a relief for the Giants to get the monkey off their back after an extended losing streak. With a pair of division rivals on their schedule for the last two weeks of the season, the G-Men should be motivated to turn one win into two or three wins and perhaps avoid a third consecutive last-place finish in the NFC East.
Meanwhile, the Redskins enter this week with a record identical to New York’s 3-11. After pulling off a couple of surprising wins over the Lions and Panthers, Washington has dropped two in a row, losing to Green Bay and Philadelphia the past two weeks. In their defense, both losses were close. The Redskins were about 30 seconds away from beating the Eagles last week despite losing by 10 points. Much like the Giants, the Redskins will close out their season with back-to-back games against NFC East foes, which should serve as an incentive to play out the season with a purpose.
Of course, there are still a few things at stake in this game. The loser will likely end up finishing last in the division. There could also be a significant swing in draft positioning depending on what team wins this game. More importantly, there are rivalry bragging rights on the line. The Giants took care of business in a 24-3 against Washington earlier this season, giving them a chance to sweep the season series with the Redskins for the first time since 2014. The G-Men have also been victorious in four of their last six trips to FedEx Field, so home-field advantage hasn’t been much of a factor in this rivalry in recent years.
I don’t care who the opponent is or where the game is being played, I’m nowhere near the point of taking the Redskins as a favorite. Granted, the Giants are just as bad. But I think New York’s roster has better overall talent, especially at the skill positions. After the Giants won this meeting by three touchdowns in Week 4, I’ll gladly take them as underdogs in Washington.
It’s not yet certain who will be New York’s starting quarterback in this game, but things are trending toward Jones, who was almost ready this past week. Obviously, it’s been a rocky rookie season for Jones. But he’s had plenty of shining moments, including earlier this season against the Redskins. Despite throwing a couple of picks in that game, Jones completed 23 of his 31 passes and looked sharp for much of the game. That should fuel his confidence against a Washington defense that was carved up in the second half last week by Carson Wentz and a bunch of no-name receivers.
Perhaps more importantly, the Giants have started to get Saquon Barkley going. He’s had over 65 rushing yards in three straight games, including 112 yards and two touchdowns against Miami last week. Barkley missed the first meeting with Washington due to injury, although the G-Men found a way to win without him. Now Barkley is finally starting to look healthy and should be a key figure for New York’s offense against the Redskins.
Of course, Washington should be encouraged by the progress Dwayne Haskins has made in recent weeks. He’s thrown three touchdown passes and just one interception over the past two weeks. Obviously, Washington lost both games, but he at least did enough to keep them in the game. In fact, he was actually better in those two losses than in the previous two games the Redskins actually won.
That being said, the Washington offense is still lacking in bonafide playmakers. To be fair, Adrian Peterson is still plugging along and Terry McLaurin is coming off one of his best games. But the Redskins are limited beyond that. It’s why a veteran like Case Keenum struggled right before losing the job to Haskins. Plus, the New York defense actually played well against a limited Miami offense last week, especially since the Giants lost the turnover battle. They won’t pitch a shutout, but the Giants won’t allow Haskins to get the better of them.
In a game like this between two bad teams and two rookie quarterbacks, points are likely to be at a premium, which should favor the underdog against the spread. I also think the Giants have more game-changers, most notably Barkley, who will be a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Even with the spread at less than a field goal, I don’t trust the Redskins, so I’ll take my chances with the Giants.