Here are 10 storylines to follow as the Giants take on the Redskins Sunday at 4:25 PM ET: **
- WILD GIANTS PLAYING TO WIN**
With his team locked into the fifth seed for the upcoming postseason, first-year coach Ben McAdoo made the objective clear for the regular season finale against the Washington Redskins: win. So expect to see the normal players line up and start on New Year's Day at 4:25 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, they'll be going against the 8-6-1 Redskins, who need a win to clinch a playoff berth, so long as Green Bay vs. Detroit does not end in a tie.
"We have 53 on the roster; we're going to activate 46," McAdoo said. "We have to go down and win the ball game."
2. NEXT OPPONENT TBD
After the finale, Big Blue begins the journey of trying to become the 11th Wild Card team to advance to the Super Bowl (six have won it all, including the 2007 Giants). They'll have to do so on the road, beginning with a trip to either Green Bay (9-6), Detroit (9-6), Seattle (9-5-1) or Atlanta (10-5). The NFC North title will be determined in the 256th and final game of the 2016 NFL season when the Packers visit the Lions on Sunday night. Before then, the Seahawks play on the road against the 49ers (2-13), and the Falcons host the Saints (7-8).
3. GIANTS INJURY REPORT
Out: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle), S Nat Berhe (concussion) Questionable: TE Jerell Adams (shoulder), LB B.J. Goodson (concussion), CB Janoris Jenkins (back), CB Coty Sensabaugh (ankle)
4. REDSKINS INJURY REPORT
Out: S Su'a Cravens (upper arm), CB Quinton Dunbar (concussion), OL Vinston Painter (calf)
Questionable: DL Chris Baker (ankle), LB Will Compton (knee), RB Robert Kelley (knee), LB Ryan Kerrigan (elbow), C Spencer Long (ankle), LB Trent Murphy (foot), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), LB Martrell Spaight (shoulder)
5. D CLOSES IN ON TOP 3 RANKING
While the defense has allowed a league-low 24 offensive touchdowns this season, the Giants are No. 3 in the NFL in points allowed per game (18.3). Only the Patriots (15.7) and Seahawks (17.9) are better in that regard. As it stands, it would be an improvement of 9.3 points from 2015 when the Giants ranked 30th.
6. WASHINGTON LIKES THAT
Washington is second in the NFL with 74 plays of 20 or more yards, falling between Atlanta (79) and New Orleans (69). Quarterback Kirk Cousins is 370 passing yards shy of a 5,000-yard season while averaging 308.7 per game, second only to Drew Brees (323.9). In their Week 3 meeting – the Giants' only home loss of the season – five different Redskins had a reception of 20-plus yards, including a 44-yard touchdown by DeSean Jackson and a 55-yard score by Jamison Crowder.
7. ODELL CHASING HILTON, HISTORY
With 4,078 receiving yards, Odell Beckham Jr. needs 86 to break Randy Moss' record of 4,163 for the highest total in a player's first three seasons. Meanwhile, Beckham also has a chance for the 2016 receiving yardage title, trailing Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (1,353) by 30 yards heading into Week 17. There has been only one player in Giants history to lead the NFL in receiving yards: Ray Flaherty in 1932.
8. TUNING THE OFFENSE
While the Giants have climbed from 30th to third in scoring defense over the course of a year, they have gone from sixth to 25th on offense and have yet to put more than 28 points on the scoreboard. Last week, they outgained the Eagles, 470-286, in total yards while Manning passed for 356 yards on a franchise-record 63 passing attempts. But turnovers have been a chronic problem in 2016. "[I] would like to see us have a consistent game, where we show improvement and put ourselves in a position to be ready for the playoffs," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said.
9. MORE CARRIES FOR PERKINS
Since Week 12, rookie running back Paul Perkins leads the Giants in rushing yards, including a season-high 68 yards last Thursday night in Philadelphia. That added up to the second of back-to-back games with exactly 114 rushing yards as a team, more than 30 yards above the Giants' season average. Perkins is averaging 3.9 yards per carry for 354 yards on the season. He also has 15 receptions for 162 yards, 67 of which came on a screen pass in Week 4 at Minnesota.
10. CRUZ-ING TO THE FINISH LINE
In his return to Lincoln Financial Field last week, wide receiver Victor Cruz posted 84 yards on eight catches, the most since Week 11 of 2013. His 13 targets were the most since having 16 earlier in that same season. Cruz had just five catches in his previous six games, but four of them went for 29 or more yards each. "I'm trying to be a valve for Eli, be open, get myself open, and he found me a few times and it felt good," Cruz said. "It felt good to catch the rock, make some plays, and make some things happen."
These five players could make a key impact in Sunday's matchup with the Redskins