STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
The Redskins have one weapon this weekend that they didn't when they last faced the New York Giants. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (left hamstring) was in the midst of missing six games and essentially the first seven of the season. Jackson was hurt in the first quarter of the season opener.
That gives quarterback Kirk Cousins another outlet against a team that's struggled to contain the pass this season. Drew Brees and the Saints threw the ball over, around and through the Giants in a 52-49 win. It didn't work out that way for the Redskins in a 32-21 Week 3 loss at New York. They fell behind early and abandoned the run.
Now in his third game back, Jackson is showing signs of strengthening. He had three catches for 15 yards against New England on Nov. 8. He followed that with two receptions against the Saints, but one was a big 42-yard catch early in the first quarter that got the Redskins out of a hole deep in their own territory. Against Carolina, Jackson caught a 56-yard touchdown pass, the kind of big play he has made so often in his career and that keeps opposing cornerbacks awake at night.
RB Alfred Morris (rib) participated in practice on Wednesday, though he remains in pain. Morris left Sunday's game against Carolina in the first quarter. He also was knocked from the previous week's game against New Orleans with the same ailment.
DE Jason Hatcher (knee) continues to sit out Wednesday practices. He is expected to play Sunday against the New York Giants, however.
T Trent Williams (knee) had to be carted to the locker room after taking a hard fall in a game against Carolina on Sunday. Williams did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but said "definitely" when asked if he would play this weekend against the New York Giants.
CB Chris Culliver (knee/shoulder) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Culliver missed three consecutive games with a lingering knee injury and sustained the shoulder injury Sunday against Carolina.
LB Keenan Robinson (shoulder) has missed two consecutive games and was again limited at practice on Wednesday. His status for Sunday's game against the Giants remains uncertain. Robinson was also listed as limited in practice last week, but didn't play against Carolina.
TE Jordan Reed (knee) looks to be fine despite a sprained MCL sustained vs. Carolina on Sunday. Reed returned to that contest late and practiced in full on Wednesday with no problem.
The Redskins' run game has struggled since Week 3 - the first meeting with the Giants. It doesn't seem about to produce a monster afternoon on Sunday at FedExField.
Instead, the key for Washington will be taking advantage of New York's porous secondary. Yes, the Giants will get starting corner Prince Amukamara back from a pectoral injury. And he has tortured the Redskins in recent games. But New York is dead last in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt (2.93 percent), on third downs (47.83 percent) and 28th in passing yards per play allowed (7.56).
The key for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins: Avoid the interception. New York makes up for the yardage it through the air allows by intercepting 3.41 percent of attempts. That's fourth in the NFL. Cousins has been particularly bad against New York with six interceptions in his past two games against them.
Defensively, the Redskins have to get pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning. That has been a constant theme in their five-game losing streak to New York. Manning has the time to pick them apart. Washington is better than New York at getting to the quarterback with sacks on 5.25 percent of attempts. That still ranks just 25th in the NFL.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland vs. Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr.
Breeland didn't have his best game against Beckham, Jr. in the Week 3 loss. Beckham, Jr. had seven catches, including a touchdown, over Breeland. But with Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall both playing through pain he is probably their best bet to contain Beckham, Jr.
Redskins TE Jordan Reed vs. Giants SS Landon Collins.
Reed had a big game against New York in the Week 3 loss with six catches for 96 yards. He suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday, but returned to the game and practiced fully on Wednesday. Expect him to take advantage of coverage looks against the rookie Collins.