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10 Things To Watch For

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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Commanders

DABOLL-RIVERA-10-THINGS

DeVITO 'GROWING EVERY DAY'

After coming in for the injured Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor in each of the last two games, respectively, DeVito got the first start of his NFL career this past Sunday. The undrafted rookie was faced with a difficult matchup as the Giants took on the elite Cowboys defense. DeVito finished the game 14 of 27 for 86 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and added 41 yards on seven rush attempts. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka told the media Thursday that he was encouraged with the development of the young quarterback.

"I think each day he comes in to work the right way," said Kafka. "In the meeting room, in the classroom, in the install on the field. He's growing every day, he's learning. I think he's taken steps in the right direction as far as his footwork, the huddle command, going through his progressions, even the protection game, so there are a bunch of elements of his game that he's improving each day."

"He's a good, young quarterback to work with, so you know, try to improve him this week from last week..." Daboll added. "He's done a good job. Improving, he's a young player, he's a young quarterback so a lot of things you go through. We'll see if we can get him better this week than he was last week."

The Commanders rank 31st in points and 29th in yards allowed. The Commanders are coming off a game against the Seahawks in which they allowed a season-high 489 total yards of offense, including 369 passing yards and two touchdowns to Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

ALL-TIME SERIES

The New York Giants visit the Washington Commanders in FedEx Field on Sunday, Nov. 19 for an NFC East matchup. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

The 181 regular-season matchups between the teams since 1932 make the Commanders the Giants' most frequent opponent. The Giants lead the all-time series, 106-70-5, and
have a record of 49-40-2 in Washington.

The Giants look to sweep the season series vs. Washington for the 35th time. In their first meeting this season, the Giants defeated the Commanders, 14-7, on Oct. 22 in MetLife
Stadium. The Giants' defense sacked QB Sam Howell a season-high six times in that victory.

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

INJURY REPORT

Giants

Out: CB Adoree' Jackson (concussion), T Evan Neal (ankle)

Questionable: T Andrew Thomas (knee)

Commanders

Out: FB Alex Armah (hamstring), DE James Smith-Williams (hamstring)

Doubtful: RB Antonio Gibson (toe)

WINK: DEFENSE MUST 'STAY CONSISTENT'

Last week, the Giants allowed 49 points and 640 total yards of offense. The point total was the most the Giants have allowed since 2017, while the yardage total was the second-most ever allowed in franchise history. The Cowboys, who sport a top five offense in both points and yards, also picked up 32 first downs. When speaking to the media Thursday, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was upfront about his unit's performance.

"It was tough. It doesn't happen very often, or you wouldn't have this job very long so, you know, it was a tough game," Martindale said about allowing 640 yards of offense. "It was really a tough game, but like I said I give Dallas credit. It was one of those games that you make a call, and you feel real good about it until the ball is snapped and then you are like, 'Oh, no.' You know? It was a tough one for all of us."

Despite last week's struggles, the defense still ranks well when it comes to key situations. Prior to the game in Dallas, the defense held the Raiders, Jets and Commanders to a combined eight of 44 (18.2 percent) on third down. Despite the Cowboys' success, the Giants' defense still ranks eighth in the NFL with a third down defense of 35.4 percent. We'll see if Wink Martindale's unit can get back on track against the Commanders this weekend, whose offense enters the matchup ranking 21st in third down conversions. Washington went 1 for 15 on third down in Week 7.

"We've hit the reset button, and we are getting ready to go play a better Washington team than we played 24, 25 days ago, how many days ago it's been," the defensive coordinator said. "It's going to be a tough challenge for us. I think (Commanders quarterback) Sam's (Howell) playing a lot better. He's getting rid of the ball quicker. I think that he's starting to find the answers that (Commanders offensive coordinator) Eric (Bieniemy) has in his offense...

"I think that you've got to stay consistent, and you do challenge them, you challenge them every week and the challenge is Washington's offense and this league, there is no easy outs, you know what I mean? They are going to step on your throat if they think you're down."

LATEST ON THE O-LINE

The Giants' offensive line has endured a lot of change throughout the season. Injuries have led to different starting combinations in almost every game this year, as numerous starters have missed multiple contests. But heading into Week 11, it appears as if the Giants will have the same starting line for the second consecutive week.

Let's start with left tackle Andrew Thomas, the anchor of the unit. Thomas briefly departed Sunday's game with a knee injury, but later returned. It was only Thomas' third game this season, as a hamstring injury sidelined him for Weeks 2-8. Against the Cowboys this past Sunday, the 24-year-old tackle did not allow a single pressure on 18 pass blocking snaps. Thomas was limited in Wednesday's practice.

Justin Pugh is now listed as the starting left guard on the team's unofficial depth chart, while Ben Bredeson, who has started three games at left guard this season, moved over to right guard. Starting between the two veteran guards is rookie center John Michael Schmitz, who has allowed just two sacks in seven starts this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Starting right tackle Evan Neal missed his third game of the season this past Sunday after suffering an ankle injury in Week 9. Neal previously missed Weeks 7 and 8 with an ankle injury but returned in Week 9. He then suffered an injury to his other ankle, which sidelined him for every practice leading into Week 10. After not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday, Neal's status for Week 11 is in doubt. If Neal is ruled out, Tyre Phillips will start at right tackle, his third start there this season.

OKEREKE'S SNAP STREAK

Okereke was brought in to be the anchor of the middle of the Giants defense, and through the first 10 games of the season, he has done just that. The veteran linebacker has been a model of consistency, playing an eye-opening 100 percent of the team's defensive snaps in every single game. Not only has he not missed a single snap all year, but he has also been highly productive while on the field.

Okereke racked up 11 total tackles (seven solo) in the loss to the Cowboys, which marked the fifth time this season he has reached double digit tackles. The inside linebacker now has 91 total tackles on the year, which leads the team and ranks eighth in the NFL. While he has served as a tackling machine for the Giants, Okereke has also been a standout in coverage. PFF has awarded Okereke an 80.0 coverage grade this season, which is the eighth highest among all linebackers.

The Commanders have turned into more of a pass-first offense over the last month and a half, but that doesn't mean they can't run the ball. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. has gained 485 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season, while Antonio Gibson has added 137 yards. The two have also combined for 50 receptions for 525 yards and five scores. While the two backs were limited to just 51 combined rushing yards against the Seahawks last week, the two played a key role in the passing attack. Robinson caught six passes for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown, while Gibson also found the end zone while recording five receptions for 42 yards.

"They do have very dynamic running backs," Okereke told the media Thursday. "So, when a team can pass and run it makes it very difficult, so obviously you have to stop the run and put them in passing situations, but they are a dynamic offense. (Eric) Bieniemy is a great offensive coordinator. (Commanders quarterback) Sam Howell is throwing the ball really well and they have very dynamic receivers so we'll just be excited for the challenge."

LEANING ON SAQUON

With the Giants trailing early in each of the last two games, running back Saquon Barkley has seen less volume than the previous few weeks. After averaging 27 rush attempts per game from Weeks 6-8, including a career-high 36 carries against the Jets, Barkley ran the ball just 13 and 16 times over the last two games, respectively.

While his touches were lower than normal, his efficiency has seen a big increase. In the last two weeks, Barkley has averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 14.5 rush attempts. The Giants could lean heavily on the sixth-year running back again this weekend in Washington, both in the run and passing game. Barkley carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards in the first meeting against the Commanders but added three receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Barkley has played a sizeable role in the passing game all season, as last week's game against the Cowboys was the first time he didn't catch at least three passes.

The Commanders have been a little better against the run than the pass. They come into this matchup ranking 21st in rushing yards allowed, although they come in at 25th in rushing yards per attempt. Their six rushing touchdowns surrendered is tied for 11th in the league. Washington has allowed over 100 rushing yards in eight of10 games, and allowed a combined 107 yards to Seahawks running backs Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet last week. They also combined for five receptions for 82 yards and a score.

McFADDEN CONTINUING TO DEVELOP

One of the bright spots on the defense this season has undoubtedly been the play of Micah McFadden. The second-year inside linebacker has already topped his rookie year marks with 60 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two passes defensed and three takeaways (one interception, two fumble recoveries). Additionally, Pro Football Focus has McFadden down for 11 total pressures, almost twice as many as he picked up in his first season (six). The 23-year-old has started nine games this year, and Martindale said the young linebacker has done well in making the most of his opportunities.

"I think he has developed and credit to him, the hard work he's put in, the hard work he put in the offseason," said the defensive coordinator. "He's got more confidence and I think (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) has a lot to do with Micah's development as well. Egs (inside linebackers coach John Egoruwu) has done a great job with all those guys in that room but Micah, he's done a nice job of taking the opportunity and running with it. And you know, he'd be the first to tell you he still has things he wants to work on and get better at as well and that's one of the reasons why he's improving."

LATEST ON THE KICKERS

Following the placement of Graham Gano on injured reserve, the Giants added two kickers. Over the last two outings, the team has elevated veteran Randy Bullock from the practice squad to serve as the active kicker on gameday. Bullock connected on his only field goal attempt from 40 yards out, while making both extra point attempts, as well.

"Randy's been Randy," said special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. "He's done a good job. Randy's a veteran kicker. He's been around for a long time. He's played a lot of games. He's been a pro. He's come out, he's done a good job. We're just working through the process of the whole process, the new mechanics of everything. So, been good."

With Bullock elevated the last two games, Cade York has been inactive. While the 22-year-old has yet to appear in a game with the Giants, McGaughey is encouraged with the growth he's seen out of the young kicker since arriving in East Rutherford.

"Cade's very, very, very talented. Very young, talented kicker. Cade's working through some things with his swing, but he's getting better. He has a very strong leg, very talented and he has a lot of upside, for sure."

As for who will be active on gameday, McGaughey said the team will approach the kicker situation for Week 11 the same way they have the last few games.

"Same as last week," the special teams coordinator said Thursday. "They're going to kick again. They'll kick again today, they'll kick tomorrow, and we'll make a decision this weekend."

SCOUTING THE COMMANDERS

The biggest reason for Washington's recent offensive surge has been the play of quarterback Sam Howell. Heading into Week 11, Howell leads the NFL with 397 pass attempts, 264 completions and 2,783 passing yards. He enters this matchup with a 66.5 completion percentage, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a passer rating of 91.5. He's also taken a league-high 47 sacks on the year, while adding 174 yards and an additional score on the ground.

"They're throwing a fair amount of quick stuff, a good amount of screens, getting them on the perimeter some, he's getting the ball out of his hand," Daboll said about the Washington offense. "I said the last time, I think he's a good young player. He throws on time, he's accurate, makes some loose plays. Last week, he made some big plays to (Commanders running back) Brian Robinson (Jr.) on some scramble situations, some even on three-step where he's scrambling out. So, I think he sees the field. He's in the shotgun predominantly, it's mostly dropback pass. He's done a good job. I think he's doing a good job of developing."

Brian Robinson Jr. leads the Commanders' backfield with 121 rush attempts for 485 yards and five touchdowns. Robinson is coming off a career-game as a pass-catcher as he reeled in a career-high six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. He's made a big impact in the passing game this year with 20 receptions for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow running back Antonio Gibson has added 30 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns, as well.

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin has caught a team-high 51 receptions for 601 yards and two touchdowns. In eight career games against the Giants, McLaurin has 56 receptions for 740 yards and three scores. Howell has done a great job of spreading the ball around, as six different players have multiple receiving touchdowns this season.

The Commanders defense has struggled this season. They enter this weekend's matchup ranking 31st in points and 29th in yards allowed on the year.

The Washington defense will look different this weekend than it did in Week 7. Prior to the trade deadline, the Commanders sent Chase Young to San Francisco and Montez Sweat to Chicago in exchange for draft capital. Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Casey Toohill now lead the team with four sacks apiece.

"Those are two good players, high picks that they moved, but I think they've done a good job," Daboll said about the Commanders defense following their trade deadline moves. "Again, I've said this before, I've got a lot of respect for coach (Commanders Defensive Coordinator Jack) Del Rio and how they play but obviously, those were two good players for them. They've still got those two guys inside who cause plenty of issues."

In the secondary, cornerback Benjamin St-Juste has picked up an impressive 15 passes defensed. Rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes is second with eight pass breakups, while veteran Kendall Fuller leads the team with two interceptions.

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