Washington has built a team with stout defensive play and a ball-control offense. Kirk Cousins has operated the offense, which leans on a 1-2 rushing tandem of Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones, and has made the team much more formidable this season.
"It goes back to being able to run the football and converting manageable third downs," Cousins explained. "When you can covert third downs and stay on the field, then you can run the football. That enables the clock to run, enables you to be able to control the tempo, and gives your defense a rest.
"It can be a help, so certainly it’s not the most telling stat of all statistics that are out there, but when you control time of possession, it typically means you’re able to control the football, move the football, and that’s certainly a good start."
Last week, Morris and Jones combined for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Rams, leading to Washington's first victory of the year.
On Thursday, that rushing tandem will face a Giants rush defense that ranks third in the NFL through the early part of the year.
"I’ve seen talented playmakers, I’ve seen a variety of coverages and fronts, and blitzes, and they really do a good job of keeping you on your toes and mixing it up," Cousins said in reference to the Giants defense.
"I expect them to be very tough on Thursday night."
The Giants may be short top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who must pass the league-mandated concussion protocol in order to suit up for Thursday night.
Additionally, linebacker Jon Beason remains a question mark.
Still, Cousins has been impressed with the Giants defense, beginning with its pass rush and including the secondary, with or without Rodgers-Cromartie.
"I think they do have some good pass rushers still that can get home," Cousins said. "The NFL pass rush, no matter who it is, is still very active, and can put the pressure on anybody. It’ll always be an emphasis to avoid sacks and get the ball out of my hand and find completions.
"He certainly is one of the better cornerbacks in this league and I’m sure they have depth just like we have depth, and so in the NFL, injuries are a part of the deal. It’s always next man up and you have to find a way. He’s certainly a very talented player and makes them a very tough secondary when he’s playing."