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Cover 4: What the tie means for Giants with Eagles next


The crew reacts to the team's first tie since 1997 and just the third in 50 years:

John Schmeelk: It was odd walking into the Giants locker room after the game on Sunday. The Giants tied Washington, 20-20, but it felt more like a losing locker room than a winning one. You can understand the disappointment from the players. The team had opportunities to win the game, and a victory would have certainly put the Giants in the driver's seat, but their larger playoff picture remains largely unchanged.

Even if the Giants had beaten Washington on Sunday, their game in two weeks at Fed Ex field still would have been a virtual must-win due to the in-division tiebreaker situation. Washington already has a win against Philadelphia on their ledger, while the Giants have not yet beaten an NFC East team.

A win would have been helpful in the Giants quest to stay on win ahead of the Seahawks, but they are still ahead of them in the standings with one fewer loss. All in all, the Giants still control their own destiny when it comes to claiming a playoff spot, but the importance of beating Washington when they meet two weeks from yesterday is ratcheted up even higher.

If the Giants lose to Philadelphia next week, and again in Washington, they would be a full game behind the Commanders in the standings with a disadvantage in the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Giants would then have to pick up two games in the final three weeks to finish ahead of the Commanders. It also works the other way. A win over Washington in two weeks could put the Commanders in a similar situation with the need to make up games against the Giants with only three weeks of games remaining.

Everything still lays ahead for the Giants. The tie was just that, a tie. It basically maintained the status quo. What happens in the final five weeks is still going to decide whether the Giants make the playoffs.

Dan Salomone: Especially in the NFL, sports teams can't afford to look back or too far ahead. They have to stay in the moment, and the next challenge is against the "star-studded cast" – as Brian Daboll called it – of the Philadelphia Eagles, who have the best record in the NFL. The surest way to the postseason is to take care of business within your division, and right now the Giants find themselves 0-2-1 against the NFC East field. Since their last playoff berth in 2016 (when they went 4-2 in the division), the Giants are 9-23-1 against their closest rivals. Of the 14 teams currently in playoff contention, the Giants are the only team without a win in their division. That math will be tough to overcome if it stays the same.

Lance Medow: When the Giants go back and watch the film of their game against the Commanders, they're going to review several missed opportunities and lost possessions in the second half and overtime. The best analogy for this game is a boxing match where you go 12 rounds with your opponent but simply can't provide the knockout punch. New York could never pull away or put another score on the board for some extra breathing room.

After the Giants scored a go-ahead touchdown with 11:34 to go in the third, they had seven more possessions in the second half and overtime combined. Those resulted in six punts and a 58-yard missed field goal with three drives ending in three and outs and two others lasting just four plays apiece. The common theme highlighting those possessions was negative plays as five of the seven drives contained at least one including a sack, penalty or run for a loss of yards. It completely ate away at any rhythm on offense.

There were two plays, in particular, that came back to bite the Giants. With 6:22 to go in the fourth and New York leading by seven, Daniel Jones and Co. took over at the Commanders 47. Jones connected with Darius Slayton for 12, but Jon Feliciano was called for taunting which turned the play into a loss of three yards while also taking them out of field goal range. The Giants wound up gaining just one yard on the next three plays combined. The second play came in overtime with 1:50 to go. They faced a 3rd-and-3 at the Washington 45, but Jones was sacked by Jonathan Allen after an apparent miscommunication between Jones, Saquon Barkley and Richie James. The Giants then took a delay of game penalty and punted the ball. Given the wind and the fact that Graham Gano came up short on a 58-yard field goal attempt at the end of the extra session, a 62-yard attempt there was impractical. 

Matt Citak: One positive to come out of the tie against Washington is the play of the defensive front. The Giants had one of their most successful days getting after the quarterback in Week 13 as they registered five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, along with 25 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

This was only the third game this season (and the first since Week 4) the Giants had their pair of starting edge rushers on the field together, and it showed. Kayvon Thibodeaux picked up his second sack of the season and added two quarterback hits and four total pressures. The rookie has stepped up his game over the past two weeks as he's totaled 13 total pressures, including six quarterback hits, six hurries and a sack. On the other end, Azeez Ojulari returned to the field for the first time in over two months and picked up right where he left off. Ojulari led the team with seven total pressures, including his second sack of the season, two quarterback hits and four hurries. The second-year outside linebacker added a strip-sack as well, which he eventually recovered. Ojulari has a sack and forced fumble in his last two games, despite two months between the two contests. Jihad Ward also had a sack Sunday, his third of the season which matches his previous career-high.

The pressure on the edge helped open things up a bit on the interior. Dexter Lawrence continued his stellar 2022 campaign with his career-high sixth sack of the season. He finished with two quarterback hits, bringing his season total to another career-mark of 20, along with five total pressures. The fourth-year defensive lineman also racked up a season-high nine total tackles (four solo). While Leonard Williams departed the game early, the veteran did have one quarterback hit and three total pressures on just 17 pass rush snaps. The fifth and final sack of the game came from defensive lineman Justin Ellis, which was the first of his nine-year NFL career (112 games).

It remains to be seen if Leonard Williams will miss time or not, as coach Brian Daboll described him as "sore" on Monday. Either way, the team's pass rush looks to be in much better shape now that their top two edge defenders are healthy and back in the lineup. This is important given that all four of the team's remaining opponents (Giants play Eagles twice) are in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks allowed. The Colts have surrendered the most sacks in the NFL (46), while the Commanders have allowed 37 (fifth), and the Vikings and Eagles are a 30 (tied for 14th).


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