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3 Keys to victory vs. Washington

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The New York Giants bring a five-game winning streak over the Washington Redskins into FedEx Field on Sunday.


NEWS
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They look to extend it in the Week 12 matchup but will have to do so in the venue where Washington is 4-1 this season. While the Redskins have lost all five of their road games and were outscored 162-86 in those contests, they haven't lost in the comfort of their own home since the season-opener against Miami.

Meanwhile, the Giants (5-5) are fresh off the bye week and trying to put distance behind them as the current leader in the NFC East race. All of that should make for an intriguing game in the latest installment of the division's oldest rivalry.

Here are three keys to victory for the Giants:

1. DISRUPT COUSINS

Playmakers on Washington's first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is currently third in the league behind Drew Brees and Philip Rivers with a 68.3 completion percentage, including marks of 82.5 and 80.0 in his last two home games. He also put up a perfect 158.3 passer rating in his last outing at FedEx Field against the New Orleans Saints.

On the flipside, the Giants hoped they turned the corner with their pass rush after having a season-high three sacks against the Patriots. They had just nine through the first nine games. With defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul playing in his third game back, the Giants need to get to the quarterback quickly as the Redskins are No. 1 in the NFL in averaging 87.0 yards per game on passes shorter than six yards. The Giants have 18 sacks in their current five-game winning streak vs. Washington.

"Well, I think he's much more confident," coach Tom Coughlin said of Cousins. "I think the rhythm with which he goes about his business, particularly in the play-action pass game, is outstanding."

Meanwhile, the Giants will look to capitalize off turnovers, which has been the calling card of the team this season. Big Blue is tied with the undefeated Panthers with a plus-13 turnover differential and is second with 23 takeaways. Washington is tied with Jacksonville and Cleveland for 24th at minus-five in turnover differential due to 19 giveaways, which are sixth-most in the league.

2. STOP THE RUN

While the Giants need to contain wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, who scored his first touchdown of 2015 last week on a 56-yard pass from Cousins, the Redskins have been most successful when they can pound the ball on the ground.

Washington averaged 142.0 rushing yards per game in its four victories. In the six losses, the Redskins rushed for just 64.2 yards per game, including 12 carries for 14 yards last week against Carolina. Bottling up the run will cut down the effectiveness of the play-action passing game for the Redskins, whose average time of possession in wins is 35:17.

3. ALL THREE PHASES

Offense, defense and special teams need to feed off each other down the stretch in a playoff race, especially the latter when it comes to the Redskins. They are third in the NFL in kickoff return average (27.0 yards per attempt), thanks to two return touchdowns. The other 31 clubs have just four combined. The first was a 101-yarder from Rashad Ross in Week 3 against the Giants, and Andre Roberts returned the second 99 yards last week against the Panthers.

Conversely, the Redskins are No. 2 in kickoff return coverage, which will be strength vs. strength with the Giants. Former Cowboy Dwayne Harris, who already has one kickoff return touchdown with the Giants, put up big games against the Redskins with his old team. In seven career games against the Redskins, he averages 16.3 yards per punt return and had an 86-yard return touchdown in Week 6 of 2013. He also averages 26.6 yards per kickoff return with a long of 90 yards that was in the same game as the punt return touchdown.

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