The Giants (4-8) at the Washington Redskins (6-6) at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m.
It’ll be a chilly, gray day. Mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-30s.
WHAT IT MEANS
Well, if you’re a dreamer, the Giants are still alive for a playoff berth. It’s virtually impossible of course, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, I suppose. If nothing else, the Giants have maintained that finishing strong is an important objective. For Pat Shurmur, it’s about building his program and a culture and re-teaching his players how to win. For those who want the Giants to tank for a higher draft pick, that may sound hollow. But really, if they can finish 8-8 after a 1-7 start, how impressive and unbelievable would that be?
PLAYER TO WATCH: TE Evan Engram
He is expected to return to action on Sunday after a two-game absence, and in the midst of a hugely disappointing season. He has shown flashes of his talent and speed, but at the same time his playing time has diminished. He has just 23 catches for 257 yards and two touchdowns in his seven games. Considering how Rhett Ellison performed in his absence, there’s a legitimate question about Engram’s value going forward. The Giants love him as a weapon, particularly because he’s so fast which makes him a difficult matchup for the defense. But his blocking skills aren’t great. He’s turning into more of a situational player – almost like a two-minute drill specialist. That’s not exactly what is expected of a former first-round pick. If he doesn’t show something down the stretch, it’s possible the Giants could consider dealing him in the offseason. But he’s 24, relatively inexpensive, and does have talent so the Giants would prefer to keep him. He just has to show them how he fits.
As bad as the Giants’ season has been, it’s hard to top the misery of the Redskins, who went from a contender to a free fall after two quarterbacks were lost to broken legs. That leaves them to lean on the newly acquired Mark Sanchez, once the Jets’ franchise and now a journeyman backup. That’s a huge advantage for a Giants team that has started to click in recent weeks. Yes, the Redskins’ defense is still good, but the Bears’ defense is better and the Giants were able to solve that. The Giants’ defense has struggled and they’ll likely have their hands full with RB Adrian Peterson. But the Giants seem motivated, they’re relatively healthy, and they’ve got confidence and momentum on their side. That’s all a huge tribute to Shurmur, who has them believing (at least now that the pressure is off). No they’re not going to make the playoffs (probably), but the way they’re playing and with how decimated the Redskins are, they will continue their improbable ride one more week.. … Giants 20, Redskins 9.
MY RECORD: 5-7
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO WIN: 0-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO LOSE: 5-4