The Washington Redskins are barely clinging to their playoff hopes as they get set to host the New York Giants in Week 14. The two NFC East rivals will kick off at 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 9, at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Fans in local markets can watch the game on Fox.
Oddsmakers are currently listing the Giants as 3.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 41 points. Click here to check out a full list of the Week 14 NFL betting odds.
Less than a month ago, the Redskins were all alone atop the NFC East standings. But that was before they lost both their starting and backup quarterbacks to season-ending leg injuries. Washington has now lost three in a row and four of their last five to fall to 6-6 on the season. They are currently half a game out of the last wild-card spot in the NFC but tied with two other teams in a rather crowded race.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that Washington’s schedule the rest of the way is fairly manageable. They have home games against the Giants and Eagles, with road games against the Jaguars and Titans in between. The caveat, of course, is they will now be traversing that schedule with Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, not to mention all of the other injuries that have befallen the Redskins this year.
The Giants, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games. Those wins, unfortunately for them, have only gotten the G-Men to 4-8 on the season. Despite it being too little, too late, it’s obvious that the Giants aren’t going to pack it in late in the season. They are coming off an impressive home win against the Bears, who are probably the third best team in the NFC right now. They’ll also have a chance to play spoiler the rest of the season, as their four remaining games are all against teams in the playoff picture.
When these two teams met back in Week 8, the Redskins won 20-13 behind an excellent performance by Adrian Peterson. That should give Washington plenty of confidence that they can beat the Giants for a second time this season. Including that game, the Redskins have won four of their last six head-to-head meetings with the Giants, so this rivalry is definitely starting to swing in Washington’s favor.
I know the Redskins are in a tough spot with both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy getting hurt in the span of a few weeks. But it’s hard buying them as a home underdog against a losing team. With the Giants being expected to win by more than a field goal, I feel more comfortable leaning toward Washington to at least beat the spread.
Despite the Giants winning three of their last four games, I’m still a little skeptical. Their only road win during that span came against Nick Mullens and the 2-10 49ers. Even with Sanchez at quarterback, I think the Redskins are a little better than San Francisco. Also, New York’s three wins during that span have come by a total of 10 points. They may have won a few games, but they’re not winning comfortably, making 3.5 points seem like a lot.
It’s not a coincidence that the Giants are winning games now that Saquon Barkley has found his groove. Barkley has gone over 100 yards rushing in three straight games while also being used in the passing game. However, we can’t forget how unreliable the New York offense has been for most of the season. If the Redskins, who have been solid against the run this year, can slow down Barkley, the Giants won’t be that dangerous offensively. That was certainly the case when Washington limited Barkley to 38 yards on 13 carries earlier this season.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants still aren’t that impressive. They were fortunate to get two interceptions from Alec Ogletree last week. Without those two plays, especially the pick-six, it’s a completely different story and we’re not looking at the Giants the same way. Keep in mind that the Giants gave up 13 4th quarter points and 27 points overall against an offense led by backup Chase Daniel. In fact, the Giants are still giving up 27.5 points per game over their last four.
Much like the first time these two teams met, Peterson could be poised for a big game. New York’s opponents have rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games, a trend I expect to continue. As long as Peterson and the running game get it going, Sanchez shouldn’t be asked to do too much. He should also be a little better prepared after a full week of practice. Remember, he was signed off the street a couple weeks ago and then thrown to the wolves on Monday night after McCoy went down. Considering the circumstances, he wasn’t half bad. It’s not a stretch to think that he can be a capable game manager for Washington.
In the end, I’m not convinced that the Giants can cover 3.5 points on the road. I don’t trust New York’s defense to shut down Washington’s rushing attack. That means the Redskins should find a way to put some points on the board. I know the Redskins have a lot working against them, but their losses the last three weeks have come against good teams. Despite their recent wins, the Giants still aren’t a good team. I like Washington to at least keep this game close and beat the spread.