The New York Giants (7-4) maintained their two-game lead in the NFC East by virtue of an unexpected blowout of the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. The Washington Redskins (5-6) are tied with the Cowboys for second place by virtue of their win at Dallas on Thanksgiving, and they have had a few extra days to prepare for this.
This game is the season for the Redskins in regards to division title hopes, but it is the Giants that are -2½ on the road here with the total set at a rather high 51.
1. Why New York will cover the spread: The Giants will cover this spread if quarterback Eli Manning returns to the form he had earlier in the season. He appears to be on the right track as he had his best game in about a month on Sunday night, passing for 249 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. There is still some room for improvement though as he completed just 16-of-30 passes, and that improvement just might come vs. the 31st ranked Washington passing defense. Eli passed for 337 yards in the first meeting with Washington, and the Giants will lean on him more now that running back Andre Brown is out, because as talented a running back as Ahmad Bradshaw is, he is quite brittle and New York would prefer not to give him the ball 30 times per game.
2. Why Washington will cover the spread: The Redskins will cover this spread if their defensive front seven can apply pressure on Manning, as truth be told, the Washington secondary is downright awful and is the reason why the Skins are allowing 301.4 passing yards per game. Washington may not have to worry too much about the run here, which could help, and getting a few sacks and forcing Manning into some hurries could help hide the secondary’s deficiencies.
The offense was fine in the first meeting with the Giants accumulating 480 yards, but Manning was only sacked once and the Skins somehow allowed Victor Cruz to get behind the defense for the game winning 77-yards touchdown catch with 1:13 remaining for a 27-23 loss. Another key is running the ball more with Alfred Morris in an attempt to take some time off the clock, as that is another way to keep Washington’s defense on the sideline.
3. Total Talk: Despite the fact that we expect Manning to pass a lot vs. a terrible pass defense, we actually like the ‘under’ at this bloated number. This goes back to what we said about taking time off the clock with Morris, and the Skins almost pulled the upset in the first meeting while controlling the ball for five more minutes and rushing for an impressive 248 yards with Morris having 108 of those yards. Granted, a lot of Robert Griffin’s 89 rushing yards that game came on scrambles, but look for more called running plays here as Washington tries to increase that 33:00 TOP. Unfortunately, we are still picking the Giants to win because they will not need that much time to score.
4. Betting Trends for Giants/Redskins: The ‘under’ is 4-1 the last five meetings and the Giants are 38-16-1 ATS their last 55 road games.
New York 24 – Washington 20
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