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Fact or Fiction: Debating latest Week 11 topics


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Saquon Barkley will have at least 25 touches against the Commanders.

John Schmeelk: Fact – I expect this game to be competitive into the fourth quarter, which should give the Giants' offensive staff the breathing room to stay dedicated to the run game throughout four quarters. The Commanders' rush defense is better than their pass defense, so I think the Giants will try to take some shots down the field. No team has given up more than the 19 30+ pass yards down the field than the Commanders have this season.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The Giants are 2-0 when Barkley scores a touchdown this season and 0-8 when he does not find the end zone.

Lance Medow: Fact – In the first matchup with the Commanders in Week 7, Saquon Barkley logged 25 touches (21 carries, four receptions), a total he has reached three times in his seven games this season. Eight of Washington's 10 games have been decided by one possession, so the Commanders rarely run away with things. As long as this game remains close, Barkley should be able to reach 25 touches.

Matt Citak: Fact – The best way to help rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito is to establish the run game. Barkley has also caught three or more passes in all but one of his games this season. His usage in the passing game combined with his likely heavy workload on the ground should result in Barkley easily reaching 25 touches against the Commanders.

Dexter Lawrence will have a sack this Sunday.

John Schmeelk: Fact – Dexter Lawrence dominated the game against the Commanders on Oct. 22, and even though he will be facing a new center in Tyler Larsen, I do not expect that to change. No one has dropped back to pass more than the Commanders this season, and Lawrence should have plenty of pass rush opportunities. Sam Howell has been sacked more than any other quarterback this season, but in the past three weeks he has only been sacked 7 times, which is way down from his pace early in the season.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Sam Howell leads the NFL in two categories, one good (passing yards) and one bad (times sacked). The Giants had a season-high six sacks in their first meeting.

Lance Medow: Fact – The last time the Giants collided with the Commanders, Dexter Lawrence recorded two sacks, but since that first meeting, Washington had made changes on the offensive line. Whether it's the new personnel, an adjustment with the scheme or Sam Howell's decision-making, the latter hasn't taken a high volume of sacks (seven) over the last three games. Regardless of who's playing center, Dex is still a handful and Washington has been far from perfect in the trenches, so I can see him add at least one to his season total.

Matt Citak: Fact - While Lawrence has just three sacks on the season, Pro Football Focus has him down for 46 total pressures, meaning his effect on opposing quarterbacks has gone beyond the box score. PFF also has Lawrence with the league's sixth-highest pass-rush win rate this season, and the highest among interior defensive lineman. Lawrence is beating his blocks, and eventually, those will turn into more sacks. The first time the Giants played the Commanders, Lawrence registered two of his three sacks on the year. This time around, he will pick up sack No. 4.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 11 matchup against the Washington Commanders.

Tommy DeVito will throw at least two touchdowns in his second consecutive start.

John Schmeelk: Fact – The Commanders struggle with their pass defense, and their pass rush is not the same since trading their two edge rushers in Montez Sweat and Chase Young. Washington has only one sack since trading those two players, and their talented defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne have not been able to make up for their absences. Payne has only one sack and 21 pressures this year, while Allen has a pressure rate under 10 percent. There should be opportunities for DeVito to get the ball into the end zone.

Dan Salomone: Fact – For whatever reason, no matter how the team is doing or who is playing, the Giants seem to have the Commanders' number. They are 7-2-1 against them in their last 10 meetings and averaging 24 points per game.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Although the Commanders have been susceptible to surrendering explosive plays through the air, I still think the Giants will look to establish the run through Saquon Barkley. Regardless of how attractive the matchup is, you don't want Tommy DeVito having a high volume of pass attempts, especially down the field. While all those factors don't necessarily get in the way of him throwing a pair of touchdown passes, I'd lean toward the ground attack playing a more significant role, especially if they get into the red zone a few times.

Matt Citak: Fiction – While one of his two touchdown passes came in the first half, the other came late in the fourth quarter with the game already out of hand. DeVito finished the game against the Cowboys with 86 passing yards, albeit against one of the league's elite defensive units. It's more likely the offense leans heavily on the run game and Saquon Barkley in this one.

The No. 1 key on Sunday is to pressure Sam Howell, who leads the league in both passing yards (2,783) and times sacked (47).

John Schmeelk: FACT SLAM – The Commanders have a very talented wide receiver corps with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel. The best way to slow them down is not to give Sam Howell the time to get them the football. Washington has allowed a 38 percent pressure rate, which is ranked 24th in the NFL.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Howell is the most sacked (47), hit (86), and pressured (188) quarterback in the NFL, but somehow that hasn't fazed him. The top priority is getting the offense going early so the team doesn't fall behind.

Lance Medow: Fiction – While pressuring Sam Howell proved to be a huge factor in the first meeting between these teams, until this trend changes, the No. 1 key on Sunday is producing more than 20 points. Yes, that may sound obvious, but it can't be emphasized enough. The Giants have scored fewer than 20 in nine of their 10 games and fewer than 10 four times. New York managed to win in Week 7 against Washington with only 14 points, but that is an extremely rare feat. If you want to put yourself in a position to claim a victory and take some pressure off the defense, at minimum, you must get into the 20s.

Matt Citak: Fact – Not many people would have predicted Howell as the league's leading passer heading into Week 11, but here we are. The Commanders quarterback has been slinging the ball around with ease the last few weeks, topping 300 yards passing in each of his last three games. Additionally, after getting sacked an average of 5.7 times per game through the first seven weeks of the season, Howell has been sacked just seven times total in the last three weeks. He reached 300 yards passing just once in those first seven games when facing a lot of pressure.

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


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