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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Washington



The New York Giants and Washington Football Team head into Thursday Night Football looking to avoid the 0-2 hole after they both dropped their season openers. The Giants gave up 24 unanswered points in a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos at home, while Washington lost a fourth-quarter lead to the Los Angeles Chargers during a game in which starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatick left with a hip injury.


Thursday Night Football marks the 177th regular-season meeting between the Giants and Washington, with Big Blue holding a 104-68-4 series advantage. The Giants have won each of the past five games in their most frequently contested rivalry. The Giants have won 11 of their past 15 trips to FedExField, including three consecutive victories.



New York Giants

  • Out: LB Cam Brown (hamstring), TE Evan Engram (calf), G Shane Lemieux (knee)
  • Questionable: RB Saquon Barkley (knee)

Washington Football Team

  • Fitzpatrick (hip) was placed on injured reserve this week. RB Antonio Gibson (shoulder) was limited to start the week but is full-go.


With Lemiuex out, the Giants have a hole to fill at left guard. Ben Bredeson, a late arrival to the roster, is next up on the depth chart and played in 44 of the offense's 61 snaps last week. Bredeson was acquired via trade from the Ravens at the end of August. Meanwhile, center Nick Gates, who was voted a team captain for the first time this year, has versatility and NFL experience at guard. His backup at center is Billy Price, a former first-round draft choice. The Giants traded with the Bengals for Price one day before they dealt for Bredeson.

On Thursday afternoon, the Giants placed Lemieux on injured reserve. Matt Skura, who has started 52 of the 57 regular-season and postseason games in which he's played, was signed off the practice squad to replace him. In addition, the Giants elevated wide receiver/kickoff returner C.J. Board and tight end Chris Myarick from the practice squad to their game roster.


Quarterback Jones is 4-0 as a starter against the Washington Football Team. Against everyone else, he is 4-19. In his four starts against Washington, Jones has completed 68.3 percent of his passes with a rating of 100.0. He posted career highs in touchdowns (five), yards (352), and passer rating (132.1) in the team's 2019 trip to Washington.


The schedule didn't do any favors for Barkley, who will play two games in five days after not playing in one for nearly a year. The running back touched the ball 11 times – 10 carries and one reception – for 27 total yards in Week 1, his first game back from suffering a serious knee injury nearly one year ago.

Barkley has totaled 587 scrimmage yards (195.7 per game) in three career games against Washington, including a franchise-record 279 scrimmage yards (career-best 189 rushing yards) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in his last game against Washington on Dec. 22, 2019. In his only career game on Thursday Night Football (Oct. 11, 2018 vs. Philadelphia), Barkley registered 229 scrimmage yards and one rushing touchdown.

View rare photos of the all-time series between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.


Five players caught their first pass as Giants last week: Kenny Golladay had four receptions for 64 yards (his first catch gained 17 yards), Kyle Rudolph two for eight yards, first-round draft choice Kadarius Toney two for minus-two yards, Devontae Booker one for six yards, and rookie Gary Brightwell one for one yard.


Taylor Heinicke completed 11 of 15 pass attempts (73.3 percent) for 122 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 119.3 rating in relief of Fitzpatrick last week. Thursday marks his second-career regular season start, with his last NFL start coming in the 2020 NFC Wild Card round with Washington, where he passed for 306 yards and totaled two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing).

"I think the thing you talk about with Heinicke replacing Fitz, they both have a lot of similarities in terms of their competitiveness, how they play and think on their feet, how they improvise during a game or how they extend plays," coach Joe Judge said. "These guys are really true gamers, and I say gunslinger in a very complimentary way for these guys. These are guys you cannot sleep on. I mean, I have a lot of respect for Fitz. I think it's important to see everybody's players in the game and see everybody play. We cannot sleep on Heinicke. This guy's a good player. This guy's a talented player. This guy goes out there and plays 60 minutes and he's going to give us everything we can handle."


Washington, the second-ranked defense in yards allowed last season, boasts first-round picks up and down the defensive front. The list includes defensive ends Chase Young, the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Montez Sweat, who got on the board with a sack of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in Week 1.


There has not been a repeat champion in the division since the Eagles won four in a row from 2001-2004. In the pursuit to keep the streak alive and dethrone Washington this year, only Philadelphia won its season opener and will look to start 2-0 with a visit from the 49ers on Sunday. The Cowboys will play the second leg of back-to-back road games and take on the Chargers after losing to the Buccaneers.

View photos of the likely starters for the Washington Football Team ahead of the Week 18 matchup against the Giants.

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