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5 storylines to follow heading into Week 11


The Giants will hit the road for the third consecutive week as they travel to Landover, Md., to take on the Commanders in Week 11.

The two teams met at MetLife Stadium back in Week 7, with the Giants pulling out a 14-7 victory over their division foe. The Giants lost their next three games to the Jets, Raiders and Cowboys, but will look to snap the losing streak against a Commanders team that they have not lost to since Week 18 of the 2021 season.

Washington is coming off a close loss, as Jason Myers 43-yard field goal as time expired gave Seattle a 29-26 win. While the Commanders are 2-3 in their last five games, all three of their losses have been by just one score.

Here are five storylines to follow in the NFC East matchup.

1. DeVito to start again

The Giants are going into their second game with both Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve. In their place, undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito made his first NFL start against the Cowboys. The 25-year-old rookie completed 14 of 27 passes for 86 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while adding seven rush attempts for 41 yards (5.9 avg.). Coach Brian Daboll announced Wednesday that DeVito, who was listed as limited on Wednesday with a left shoulder injury, will once again start under center this Sunday.

"He's a good, young quarterback to work with, so you know, try to improve him this week from last week..." Daboll told the media Wednesday. "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."

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 has ran the ball just 13 and 16 times, respectively, over the last two games. 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.

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

2. Getting the defense back on track

After keeping the Bills, Commanders and Jets to 14 points or fewer in three consecutive weeks, the Giants' defense has struggled in its last two outings. The unit surrendered 30 points to the Raiders in Week 9 and a season-high 49 points to the Cowboys last week. It was the most points the Giants have allowed since 2017. Additionally, the Cowboys' 640 total yards of offense was the second-most ever allowed by the Giants, while their 32 first downs was tied for the third-most by a Giants opponent.

The unit still finds itself among the best in the league when it comes to getting off the field in key situations. The Giants' have the NFL's eighth-best third down defense (35.4 percent) and third-best fourth down defense (36.4 percent).

The Cowboys have one of the league's top offenses, especially in recent weeks. Washington's offense doesn't offer quite the same challenge, but the unit has been on a roll over the last month and a half. Besides the loss to the Giants last month, the Commanders have scored at least 20 points in every outing since Week 4, with an average of 25.3 points in those six games.

3. 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. Neal was once again not participating in practice to start the week. In his place, Tyre Phillips started at right tackle for the third time this season.

4. Injury updates

The Giants ruled out four players before traveling to Dallas for last weekend's game. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson suffered a concussion in Week 9, which kept him off the practice field all week. Jackson, who was also listed with a neck injury, was ruled out on Friday. The starting cornerback did not participate in Wednesday's practice as he works his way through the concussion protocol.

Running back Deon Jackson also missed Week 10 with a concussion, while guard Mark Glowinski did not travel to Dallas due to a personal matter. Glowinski was back at practice Wednesday, as was Jackson, who's still in the concussion protocol but practiced in full.

Several players were also forced out of Sunday's game early, starting with outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. The second-year edge rusher was ruled out with a concussion, and as of Wednesday is still working his way through the protocol. The same goes for rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who also suffered a concussion in the second half of the Week 10 matchup. Neither player participated in Wednesday's practice.

The other two injuries were both at the cornerback position. Rookie Deonte Banks suffered an ankle injury and was listed as questionable to return against the Cowboys, while Cor'Dale Flott hurt his shoulder and was ruled out. Both young corners were limited participants in the first practice of the week.

Inside linebacker Bobby Okereke also did not practice due to a hip injury. Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley (ankle), Tommy DeVito (left shoulder), Xavier McKinney (rib), Jason Pinnock (thumb/ankle), and Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) were all limited on Wednesday. 

5. 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.


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