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Scouting Report: Giants face top passer Sam Howell


Let's look at some key matchups that could dictate the outcome of Sunday's game between the Giants and Commanders:

Sam Howell vs. Giants secondary

Sam Howell is one of the most fascinating players in the National Football League this season. If you had Howell leading the NFL in passing yards through 10 weeks, go play the lottery this weekend, but that's where we are. Howell also leads the NFL in passing attempts, as Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has leaned into the passing game this year.

Howell is averaging 268.4 passing yards per game in his career, the most ever by a player drafted in the third round or later. His 2,952 yards through 11 career games is the fifth-most in NFL history. According to Pro Football Focus, Howell leads the NFL in big-time throws this season, with 24. The Commanders run their offense from under center at the second-highest rate in the NFL (37 percent).

Howell is only 15th in completion percentage (66.5 percent), 16th in interception rate (2.3 percent), and according to PFF, he has the fifth-most turnover-worthy plays (16). Howell also has issues with sacks. According to Next Gen Stats, Howell is the most sacked (47), hit (86) and pressured (188) quarterback in the NFL. He has 14 more sacks, 20 more hits, and 30 more pressures than any other quarterback in the NFL. Washington has the third-highest sack per pass attempt rate in the NFL (11.8 percent).

According to Next Gen Stats, Howell has been blitzed more than any other quarterback in the NFL (131 drop-backs). On those plays, he has a 67 percent completion rate, five touchdowns, one interception and a 98 passer rating. He has a 121.9 passer rating versus the blitz since Week 8, but the Giants blitz flummoxed him in Week 7, when he only managed a 52.9 passer rating versus Giants blitzes.

The Giants' pass rush dominated the Commanders' front in Week 7, led by Dexter Lawrence, who had two sacks, four quarterback hits, and eight total pressures. He had a 21.1 percent pressure rate, and Kayvon Thibodeaux added 1.5 sacks, though he might not play this week with a concussion.

The Commanders have a dangerous set of receivers with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown and tight end Logan Thomas. The Giants' injury report will need to be monitored this week with Adoree' Jackson missing last week's game with a neck/concussion and Cordale Flott (shoulder) and Deonte Banks (ankle) leaving last week's game and not returning.

Brian Robinson vs. The Giants Run Defense

Robinson leads the Commanders with 485 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, playing just over 50 percent of the offensive snaps. He splits time with Antonio Gibson. Robinson is tied for 11th in the NFL with .19 forced missed tackles per rush attempt, according to PFF. He is 13th in the NFL with 2.9 yards after contact per attempt, according to PFF. He is a powerful downhill running back at 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds.

After strong performances against the run versus the Commanders and Jets, the Giants allowed 125 rushing yards to the Raiders, and 168 yards against the Cowboys. The Commanders have the lowest rush rate in the NFL overall in first halves and on first-and-10. No team runs it less. But given the Giants' struggles against the run the last two weeks and the Commanders' issues blocking Dexter Lawrence, it will be interesting to see if they lean into the run game a little bit more.

Robinson has also been a target in the Commanders' passing game, with 20 catches for 256 yards and three receiving touchdowns. Last week in their 29-26 loss to the Seahawks, Robinson caught six passes for 119 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown reception.

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


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