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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: Ending the season with a W

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The New York Giants (4-12) wrap up the season with a visit from the Washington Football Team (6-10) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Although the Giants have been eliminated from the postseason for the fifth consecutive year, Washington did not repeat as NFC East champions – a back-to-back winner has not happened in the division since the Eagles in the early 2000s.

Coach Joe Judge was asked what he expects to see from his club as the season comes to a close.

"The same thing I would expect from the first game, the absolute same thing I'd expect," he said. "We tell the guys all the time, 'Come in, be locked in. We're playing for each other as a team.' I expect to see them in the meetings fully prepared. Done a good job this morning of that. Expect to see them in the practices going out there and practicing with intensity, energy and urgency working on fundamentals, making sure we correct any mistakes as we go through the week from the film study and the next day corrections. And I expect to see the effort from the opening kickoff to the final whistle from our team. That's how we play around here."

Here are three keys to ending the season with a win:

Protect the ball

Turnover differential kept the Giants' head above water when they won three of five games in the middle of the season, but since then, they sunk by turning over the ball 13 times in their current five-game losing streak. They have lost those games by an average of 18.4 points. Last week alone, they found themselves down, 14-0, less than seven minutes into the game after two giveaways on their first six snaps.

Saquon does Saquon things

Barkley's best games tend to come against Washington, especially late in the season. In Week 16 of 2019, he broke Tiki Barber's single-game franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage, including a career-high 189 yards on the ground. Barkley's second-best game? He ran for 170 yards in Week 14 of 2018 … against Washington.

Last week, Barkley posted his first 100-yard rushing game since his comeback from a serious knee injury in 2020. The Giants ran the ball 40 times compared to just 11 pass attempts in that game and might lean heavy on the run again with Jake Fromm set to make his second career pro start. Last week, Mike Glennon suffered a wrist injury that requires surgery while making his fourth start in place of Daniel Jones, who suffered a season-ending neck injury.

Clean up mistakes in all three phases

A special teams miscue cost the Giants two points last week. Pharoh Cooper thought the ball would bounce into the end zone for a touchback on a kickoff. When it did not, Cooper had to pick it up and was tackled at the 5-yard line. Booker lost three yards on the next snap, and a false start penalty on offensive lineman Derrick Kelly II moved the Giants back to the 1, leading to a safety on the next play. The Giants rank 29th in the NFL in both starting field position and opponents' starting field position this season. The Giants have won five of their last six games against Washington, with the loss coming earlier this season on a field goal with no time on the clock. Of course, the one-point loss was remembered for an offside penalty which gave Dustin Hopkins a second field goal attempt after he missed the first chance to win the game.

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

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