Three keys for the Giants to come away with a "W" on Thursday:
Both the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are coming off Sunday overtime games to play in primetime on Thanksgiving Day. The Giants, who won their thriller last week, are looking to stack two wins together for the first time this season while the Redskins, who lost theirs, are trying to keep any playoff hope alive on their home field. "Any time you have a chance to get two wins in five days," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said, "it's exciting."
"I think on Thanksgiving it'll be a special evening and when the Giants come to town, you see their blue helmets and it's quite the rivalry," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "We understand what it's all about, Giants vs. Redskins, it'll have special meaning, but being on Thanksgiving with everybody watching, I think it'll be a great treat for everybody involved."
Here are three keys to victory for the Giants, who will be kicking off just as you're reaching for second helpings of the holiday meal:
RULE OF 3
The Giants have forced three turnovers in two games this season, and it's no coincidence they came in both of their wins. The most recent, of course, was the three-interception outing by the defense in last week's overtime victory over the Chiefs, who had turned the ball over just four times all season heading into the game. In their last trip to FedEx Field, the Giants notched three takeaways against the Redskins, including two interceptions by cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Just as important, Big Blue never turned it over in the victory. This year, the Giants and Redskins and tied for 18th in the NFL with an even turnover differential.
LIMITING BIG PLAYS STILL KEY
The Giants put a tourniquet on the big plays that gashed them in their previous two outings by mostly keeping everything in front of them against the Chiefs. But there's no time to rest on the Redskins, who are second in the league with 42 passes of 20 yards or more (New Orleans has the most with 45). Kirk Cousins, the third-leading passer in the league, averages at least two completions of 25-plus yards in his six career starts against the Giants.
"We've got a long way to go, but we keep working at it every day," said Landon Collins, the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week. "Day-by-day, week-by-week, game-by-game, we're going to keep on improving."
IMPROVE THIRD DOWN
After going 3-for-13 on third down last week, the Giants dropped to 29th on the season with a 34.1 conversion percentage. That's an area McAdoo and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who has five games of calling plays under his belt this season, are emphasizing this week. Washington's defense is ranked 23rd on third down at 42.0 percent.
"Third down is a challenge for us right now," McAdoo said. "That's an area where we spend a lot of time and we want to continue to improve and work to improve. But I think Sully has done a tremendous job there calling it. It's not an easy chore. But we're making some progress, especially in the run game. He sticks to the run, which I like."
A look at the key playmakers on the Redskins' roster