Following an extended break after their Thanksgiving game in Dallas, the New York Giants (7-4) are in the thick of preparations for the Washington Commanders (7-5). Washington has won six of its past seven games, making the NFC East the second division in which all four teams have at least seven wins through Week 12 since realignment in 2002 (AFC North in 2014).
This will be the first meeting of the season between the Giants and Commanders, who swept the 2021 series to break a five-game win streak by Big Blue. They will now face each other twice in three weeks, with the Giants hosting the Eagles in between and the Commanders sitting idle.
Coach Brian Daboll met with the media before Tuesday's practice to preview the game and update injuries. The team adjusted its schedule to practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Players will be off Thursday.
Here is everything you need to know:
🔹 The Giants were not close to full strength on a short week leading up to Dallas. The players inactive because of injury included offensive linemen Jon Feliciano (neck), Evan Neal (knee/illness), Joshua Ezeudu (neck) and Shane Lemieux (toe) and cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson (knee) and Fabian Moreau (oblique), plus tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye). On Tuesday, Daboll said the injury situation this week "looks promising for quite a bit of guys." Only Ezeudu, Jackson, and Lemieux were not scheduled to practice.
🔹 The Giants practiced in full pads today. The last time they did that was coming out of the bye week. "We'll do some good hitting, kind of see where guys are at and take it day-by-day and get to Friday, and hopefully we'll have some guys back."
🔹 Bellinger, who injured his eye on Oct. 23 in Jacksonville, is "trending in the right direction." Daboll is "optimistic" about his return.
🔹 Last week's rash of injuries placed Nick Gates, Jack Anderson and Tyre Phillips into the starting lineup on offense and Cor'Dale Flott, Nick McCloud and Jason Pinnock on defense. "I would say relative to the guys coming back, there's still a few days here. Let's get through practice today; let's go to the next day. I don't want to make some split-second decision. I think that's one of the reasons we're going pads: Let's work a little bit on the running game. Let's get some of these guys back and see how they operate in contact stuff."
🔹 Daboll was asked specifically about the possibility of playing Feliciano at center and Gates at guard. "I think we'd consider whatever we think is best. If we have a bunch of guys out here, we'll roll them in and see how everyone operates."
🔹 Flott is still in the concussion protocol.
🔹 The Giants have been going in the opposite direction of the Commanders. After a 6-1 start, they have lost three of four. Sunday will be the final game in the third "quarter" of the Giants' season. How is the team handling the losing? "I think the way they're handling winning – they're consistent. We've all been in this league a long time. The last time that you haven't faced adversity will be the first time. You're going to face it. Week 1, Week 5, Week 10. So, the approach is to be consistent, like the message I've tried to give really since I've been here."
🔹 On Monday, Kayvon Thibodeaux said part of Daboll's message to the team was that the "season starts now." Daboll echoed that to the media: "When you play meaningful games in December, I think that's why we all do this. You go all the way back to OTAs and to preseason and the beginning part of the season; now you're in December. And I've been on teams that have played meaningful games in December, and I've been part of teams that haven't. It's not a lot of fun when you're not playing meaningful games. So, let's come to work with a great attitude, a positive mindset. Keep getting better. And you focus on the week's opponent: That's how you have to do it. But they're important games now."
🔹 Cornerback Rodarius Williams picked up his first career interception on Thursday. It was just his seventh career game and second this season after the 2021 sixth-round draft choice tore his ACL as a rookie. "The short time he's been back, I think he's improved out here each day at practice, and again, it's good to see guys make some plays when they're working hard. We'll need him to continue to do that."
🔹 Defensive end Chase Young had nine sacks and six forced fumbles in his first 24 games after the Commanders drafted him second overall in 2020. But the former AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year has not played since he tore his ACL on Nov. 14, 2021. Washington activated Young on Nov. 21, 2022 and listed him as questionable leading into the Falcons game this past week. However, they downgraded him to out that morning due to the knee and an illness. Will he make his return this week at MetLife Stadium? Young has one sack and two tackles for loss in three games against the Giants.
"You never know exactly what you're going to get each week. You're always facing good players. We'll see how many snaps he plays when he gets back. Obviously, he's a dynamic guy with where he was selected, how he's played. All hands on deck."
🔹 The Giants brought back three players to the practice squad: offensive lineman Devery Hamilton, defensive back Trenton Thompson, and linebacker Quincy Roche. Wide receiver Robert Foster was released from the practice squad.
🔹 Daboll gave his scouting report of the Commanders, who boast first-rounders across their defensive front: "They're good at the run and the pass. I think that's what (makes them so good). I think having strong fronts – both defense and offensively – is kind of where you want to build your football team. And they certainly have done it. I think the last eight games, they've up 16 points – that's without (Commanders defensive end) Chase (Young). So, they've got some other good players in there – two Bama (University of Alabama) guys inside. I was with (Commanders defensive tackle Daron) Payne for that one year. (Commanders defensive tackle Johnathan) Allen. (Defensive end Montez) Sweat. They're challenging on both fronts. They don't give up a lot of points. They haven't given up a lot of points here in the last eight weeks or six and seven. I think they play physical style football. (Commanders head) Coach (Ron) Rivera – I got a lot of respect for him and how he. They're physical on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. That's what I think makes a good football team."
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.