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Giants aim to continue momentum in Thanksgiving matchup

Posted Nov 22, 2017

The Giants face the Redskins Thanksgiving night in Washington, looking for back-to-back wins:


LANDOVER, Md. – Eli Manning says he is happy postponing his Thanksgiving dinner so he can play a football game.

“I think for a lot of these guys, I don’t know what it was like for them, but growing up we used to always watch football on Thanksgiving,” Manning said. “Being around family and friends, eat a big meal and watch football. So it is special to be a part of that, knowing that a lot of people will have eaten a big meal, maybe taken a little nap here and there, but watching the game and to be a part of that tradition is special.”

But as Manning learned eight years ago, participating in a great NFL and American tradition is fun only if you win. In 2009, the Giants traveled to Denver for Thanksgiving and were never in the game in a 26-6 loss to the Broncos.

Tonight, they’ll be in FedExField to face their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins. The Giants arrived here with renewed confidence after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, 12-9, in overtime for just their second victory of the season. They will leave deflated if they can’t win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 11-18, 2016.

“I think that’s always the goal, to stack wins, to keep this going, keep the spirits high, the enthusiasm,” Manning said. “I think our preparation has been good. I think that has not wavered this whole time, but now it’s just find ways to win. Each game is going to be different, each situation is going to be different, but just having that toughness and that belief you’re going to find a way to win the game.”

The 2-8 Giants and 4-6 Redskins share the twin challenges of playing on a short week after overtime games on Sunday (Washington lost in New Orleans) and rosters depleted by injuries. But coach Ben McAdoo has seen signs all week the Giants are embracing the opportunity.


“Just by the way they work,” McAdoo said. “By the way they prepare. Had a lot of energy in meetings. A short week, sometimes guys can get lackadaisical, look tired. But they were positive, had a lot of energy in the team meeting and were bouncing around out here a little bit.

“We have a tough opponent. We have to go on the road, travel on a short week. We feel we’re making all the right decisions from a scheduling standpoint, from a load standpoint with their legs. It’s going to be a big mental week for us and look forward to an inspired effort on Thursday night.”

The Giants have tried to flip the narrative by saying the short break between games will help them maintain the momentum they generated in beating the Chiefs.

“You just got a win and you kind of still got that hype behind you,” said safety Landon Collins, who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his 14-tackle, one-interception performance against the Chiefs. “Not as in a good hype, but behind each other and that good feeling that we can do this again, and we want to just showcase it right then and there. We’ve got the opportunity to do so.”

“I feel like we’ve been putting fights up this whole year,” defensive end Olivier Vernon said. “This time it just ended up (with a victory). We just kept fighting, kept fighting and sticking to the simple things and it worked out for us. But headed into this game, it’s a division game, we’re still out there fighting. We understand our situation right now, but there is nothing we can do. All we can do is to go out there fighting. We know how good it feels to get a W and we don’t want to lose that feeling. So we’ll see how it goes on Thursday.”

*The Giants declared three players out of the game, including what would be the two starters on the right side of their offensive line – guard D.J. Fluker (toe), and tackle Justin Pugh (back). Also out is linebacker B.J. Godson (ankle).

Fluker will miss his first game of the season due to injury; he was inactive in the season opener in Dallas due to a coach’s decision. McAdoo has not announced who will start at guard. The candidates appear to be first-year pro Jon Halapio and 10-year veteran John Greco, who was signed last week.

Pugh will miss his second game in a row and third this season. Chad Wheeler will start his second game at right tackle.

Goodson will sit out for the fourth consecutive game, and the sixth time this season.

Linebacker Calvin Munson, who had 12 tackles last week in the victory against Kansas City, is doubtful with a quad injury.

Six players are questionable: wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness), defensive end Olivier Vernon (shoulder), linebackers Jonathan Casillas (neck) and Kelvin Sheppard (groin), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle/elbow) and long snapper Zak DeOssie (trap).