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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: How the Giants can start December right


December 4 is the latest the Giants and Commanders will meet for the first time in a season since 2010. Now they face each other twice in three weeks. 

This game will be the Giants' second of four consecutive contests in the NFC East, the second time in which all four teams have at least seven wins through Week 12 since NFL realignment in 2002 (AFC North in 2014).

After winning six of their first seven games, the Giants (7-4) have lost three of four, most recently in Dallas on Thanksgiving. The Commanders (7-5), meanwhile, are one of the hottest teams in the league with six wins in the past seven weeks.

Here are three things the Giants must do to change the current trajectory:

Control the clock

In their seven wins, the Giants' average time of possession was 32:32. In their four losses, it was 28:44. They have lost only one game this season in which they won the possession battle – at Seattle in Week 8 (33:34). The Commanders have had the time of possession advantage in six straight games, the longest active streak in the league and tied for the longest by Washington since at least 1991. The Commanders have an NFL-leading 10 games with a time of possession advantage.

The clock is just an indicator of recent struggles for the Giants, stemming from their down tick in rushing. The Giants averaged 34 carries for 165 yards over their first nine games. In their last two outings, they have 47 rushing attempts for a combined 179 yards.

"I think it's a combination of trusting it, all of us – players and coaches trusting it – executing it, getting the right fundamentals and techniques," offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said. "That'll just come with the work and that's why we're coming to practice today with a good mentality, a good attitude and I think we can clean up a lot of those things that we've been missing the last couple of weeks."

Handle the pressure (then apply it)

The Commanders have allowed an average of just 16 points over their past eight games, and that has been without defensive end Chase Young, who could make his return from a torn ACL this week. Whether or not that happens, Washington boasts other first-rounders across the defensive front. According to Next Gen Stats, the Commanders rank third in the NFL with a 31.5 QB pressure percentage this season, while the Giants' offense has been pressured at the league's second-highest rate this season. The Commanders have a league-high 87 QB hits.

"I think they play physical style football," coach Brian Daboll said. "(Commanders head) Coach (Ron) Rivera – I got a lot of respect for him. They're physical on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. That's what I think makes a good football team."

"This is where the biggest guys step up"

Following an extended break after their Thanksgiving game, part of Daboll's message to the team was "the season starts now." Everything is in front of the Giants, who are currently in the sixth playoff spot heading into Week 13. Furthermore, rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, the fifth overall pick who recorded a season-high five quarterback hits in Dallas, heard a similar message from some mentors who know a thing or two about playing their best football when it was needed the most.

"Not even just the playoffs and that, but just the idea of having those mentors like Michael Strahan and Carl Banks in the building, even Jessie Armstead, just to give you those insights to, 'This is where the biggest guys step up,'" Thibodeaux said. "So, it kind of gives you that extra thing to play for – extra motivation."

Notes to know from NFL Research

Week 13 features the first potential clinching scenarios of the 2022 season: Vikings can clinch the NFC North with a win and a Lions loss; Eagles can clinch a playoff berth with a win and losses by Commanders, 49ers, and Seahawks.

Teams that started 8-4 have made the postseason 81.9 percent of the time since 1990. That percentage drops to 54.9 percent for 7-5 teams.

The Giants have the NFL's toughest remaining strength of schedule (0.688 opponent win percentage), followed by the Bears (0.625) and Commanders (0.600).

The NFC East can be the first division all-time to have each team make the playoffs.

The Commanders will be the eighth team in the Super Bowl era to play the same opponent in consecutive games (at NYG Week 13, bye Week 14, vs NYG Week 15). Last instance: 2021 Browns vs Ravens (Cleveland lost first game, won second). Prior to last season it had not occurred since 1991.

The Giants have never missed the playoffs when starting 6-1 or better.

Jones has four fourth-quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives in 2022.

The Commanders are one of five teams with two running backs with 450+ rush yards in 2022 (Antonio Gibson, Brian Robinson Jr.).

This game will feature the top two interior defensive linemen in terms of QB pressures: Jonathan Allen (40), Dexter Lawrence (36).

Once again, the New York Giants are bringing back their classic blue uniforms from the '80s and '90s this Sunday as part of two Legacy Games presented by Quest.


Legacy Game Tickets

Limited tickets available for Giants vs. Commanders on Dec. 4

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