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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Washington

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WRAPPING UP 2021 SEASON

The Giants hope to finish the season on a high note. Washington picked up a 30-29 victory in the first meeting between the two teams in Week 2. Dustin Hopkins connected on a 43-yard field goal on the game's final snap following a defensive penalty. A Giants' win would give them a 4-4 record at MetLife Stadium this season.

Big Blue enters this matchup having lost five consecutive games and six of the last seven. The five-game losing streak coincides with the neck injury suffered by Daniel Jones, which ended his season after Week 12.

ALL-TIME SERIES

Sunday will mark the 180th meeting between the two teams, with the Giants leading the all-time series, 105-70-4. Earlier this season, Washington snapped a five-game losing streak in the rivalry. Big Blue last lost to Washington at MetLife Stadium in Week 8 of the 2018 season.

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INJURY REPORT

Giants

Out: QB Mike Glennon (Wrist), WR John Ross (Knee), WR Kadarius Toney (Shoulder)

Questionable: FB Cullen Gillaspia (Knee), WR Collin Johnson (Hamstring), OL Will Hernandez (Ankle)

Washington

Out: OL Saahdiq Charles (Knee), WR Curtis Samuel (Hamstring), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (Concussion), DE Montez Sweat (Not Injury Related - Personal)

Questionable: TE Sammis Reyes (Hamstring)

FROMM LIKELY TO START

Joe Judge announced on Monday that Mike Glennon suffered a season-ending wrist injury to his non-throwing hand. Jake Fromm is in line to make his second career NFL start. Fromm started against the Eagles in Week 16 (6-of-17 for 25 yards with an INT). Rookie Brian Lewerke would be in reserve – he spent time last season with the Patriots after going undrafted and signed with the Giants in August. He's spent the entire season on the team's practice squad.

"We have Brian Lewerke with us all year, including some of the preseason. He's been with us and familiar with our schemes," Judge told the media. "We'll work both those guys in practice this week. Right now, based on reps and games, Jake would have the nod. I would anticipate getting him prepared that way, but like any other week we'll get both guys ready and make sure they're both prepared and ready to play."

SAQUON BUILDING OFF LAST WEEK

Saquon Barkley had his best rushing performance of the season against the Bears last week. Barkley carried the ball a season-high 21 times, five attempts more than any other game, and finished with his first 100-yard rushing performance of the year. The fourth-year back averaged 4.9 yards per carry, finishing with 102 yards on the ground. It was the first time Barkley topped 100-yards rushing since Week 16 of the 2019 season.

"I'd say in terms of what I saw from him, he really ran tough and aggressive {vs. the Bears]," Judge said. "He ran with good ball security, he ran downhill. He was very productive for us in a game that a team knew that we were going to just run the ball and run the ball. We were able to run the ball when they knew we had to run the ball and a large part of that – obviously, it takes everybody – but a large part of that was his ability to find a seam, push vertical, run tough, create extra yards."

In the first meeting against Washington, Barkley registered 13 rush attempts for 57 yards (4.4 avg.), adding two receptions for 12 yards. In their loss to the Eagles last week, Washington surrendered 118 yards on 34 carries (3.5 avg.), including 47 yards and two touchdowns to running back Boston Scott. Washington owns the No. 8 rushing defense this season.

CARTER'S LATE-SEASON SURGE

Carter has at least one sack in three straight games, combining for four to go with two forced fumbles and three pass breakups. The 26-year-old has earned one of the highest grades on the Giants defense from Pro Football Focus during the last three weeks, earning overall grades of 72.0, 66.5 and a 90.8 against the Cowboys, in which he was named to PFF's Team of the Week. In 13 games this season, Carter has a 78.7 coverage grade, which is the eighth-highest among all edge defenders.

"I told him yesterday, I'm going to start calling him Mr. Carter," assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham told the media Thursday. "Mr. Carter showed up. Who knows the exact reason? I know he works hard; he works really hard during the week and I'm happy for him that it's starting to come together, having some success. He's playing pretty well, he's doing a good job in the run setting the edge, being able to transition especially on early downs getting some pass rush and stuff. You saw last week – we talked about flashing the long arm on like the third kick with that guy. Boom got it and it worked out perfectly. It's starting to come together for him."

JAYLON'S IMPACT ON DEFENSE

Jaylon Smith, who signed with the Giants prior to their Week 15 matchup against the Cowboys, has totaled 14 tackles (eight solo) and one sack over three games. His overall grade of 78.6 last week was the highest on the defense. In the past two games, he has received pass rush grades of 72.2 and 71.0, while his coverage grades since joining the Giants have been consistently strong - 77.5, 66.0 and 79.4. His 66.5 overall grade on the season (including limited action in six games with the Cowboys and Packers) ranks 18th among NFL linebackers, while his impressive 80.5 coverage grade is the fourth-best mark at the position.

"The thing that you see right away is the pace and how he plays in terms of how fast he's playing," Graham said last week. "I think leadership is showing definitely, leadership in terms of I'm not afraid to ask the question in front of the group. We've got a relatively young group and there are some guys that aren't used to playing as much, but he's not afraid to ask those questions, 'Pat, go back over that.' I think that's a positive. I think that's a positive. I think his energy, he has great energy."

THOMAS FINISHING STRONG

Andrew Thomas has seen tremendous growth in his second NFL season. The 22-year-old tackle has played in 12 games and allowed just two sacks in 740 snaps. His 80.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus ranks 17th among all offensive tackles, while his 82.2 pass block grade ranks 12th. Thomas also stepped up in the ground attack against the Bears last week, picking up a dominant 81.9 run block grade. Last month, PFF named him as one of its second-year breakout players.

"For me, the focus is just trying to be the best player I can be for my team," Thomas told the media this week. "There are obviously things that I need to clean up as a player before I can look at somebody else and point the finger. I've got to be playing at the best possible way I can, so to do that, I'm focused on that…

"I think both seasons I've continued to get better as the season went on. A lot of things I still want to clean up and be better at. We've got another opportunity this week to play at a level that I'm proud of, so just trying to work on that every day."

GIBSON AND THE RUN GAME

Washington's run game clearly revolves around second-year back Antonio Gibson. In 15 games, Gibson has run for 891 yards on 237 carries, just 3.8 yards per carry, with six touchdowns. Gibson also ranks third on the team with 41 receptions, totaling 289 yards and three touchdowns. He missed last week's game in COVID protocol. Washington's second-leading rusher is quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who has 58 attempts for 310 yards (5.3 avg.) and a touchdown.

"Heinicke has done a really good job of extending plays, improvising on his feet," Judge said. "Gibson is obviously one of their top targets as a runner, a screen catcher and then also a receiver out of the backfield.

Washington recently placed pass-catching back J.D. McKissic on injured reserve. He was the team's second-leading receiver with 43 receptions for 397 yards, so rookie Jaret Patterson has had to step up. Last week, Patterson set season highs with 57 yards and a TD on 12 carries (4.8 avg.) while catching five passes for 41 yards.

CONTAINING MCLAURIN

Due to various injuries, Washington has only had one of its starting pass-catchers start every game this season. Terry McLaurin is miles ahead of his teammates in every receiving category with his 73 receptions for 960 yards and five touchdowns. Their second-leading healthy receiver is Adam Humphries with 40 receptions for 380 yards.

"I'm focused on Washington right now, figuring out a way to stop 24 (Antonio Gibson), figuring out a way to limit 17 (Terry McLaurin) on Sunday."

"McLaurin is obviously still an explosive player for them in terms of how he plays," Judge added."

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

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