The Giants (1-6) vs. the Washington Redskins (4-2) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. ET.
If this game had been played 24 hours earlier, it would've been in the thick of an ugly Nor'easter. Instead, it'll be just another gray, fall day with temperatures in the low 50s, moderate winds, lots of cloud cover and perhaps a little chance of some light rain later in the game.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Redskins are in first place and looking to put a little distance between themselves and everyone else in a division that nobody seems ready to win. It's probably too early for the Giants to be motivated by the "spoiler" role. Right now, they just need a win to feel good about something. It's been tense around their locker room with all the losing and the start of a fire sale that could continue on Monday. They are looking at a long, ugly season, possibly played out in front of sparse and angry crowds. At this point, anything that changes a little of the tone would be welcome.
PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Janoris Jenkins
Jenkins is the Giants' best cornerback, but he hasn't played consistently well this season. He's also proven to be vulnerable deep, and not always just against top NFL receivers. After all, he's given up long touchdowns this season to Dallas' Tavon Austin and Atlanta's Marvin Hall. This week, he'll match up at times against Paul Richardson, an under-the-radar deep threat who has 16 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns, but has the speed to win a one-on-one battle if Jenkins is off.
What makes this really interesting, though, is that this could be an audition of sorts for Jenkins, who is one of several Giants believed to be on the trade block ahead of the NFL trading deadline on Tuesday. It's definitely on his mind. Who knows how it'll affect him? Also, keep in mind that he lost some of his help this week when the Giants traded CB Eli Apple to New Orleans. The Redskins don't have a strong passing game, but they have a quarterback (Alex Smith) and enough weapons to make something happen against a depleted Giants defense, especially if Jenkins struggles.
First of all, did everyone forget that this game features Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman? Once upon a time, that would've been the marquee story of the week. I guess that's how far the Giants have fallen that Beckham-Norman hardly registers at the moment. And make no mistake, the Giants have fallen. Sure, they showed some signs of life, especially in the passing game and with big plays, in their loss in Atlanta on Monday night. But keep in mind that was against a Falcons team that ranks 30th in passing defense, 30th in scoring defense and 30th in defense overall. The Redskins defense? Fifth overall, 12th against the pass. Defense is their strength and why they're leading the NFC East. So if the Giants could only score 20 against the awful Falcons defense, it's hard to count on an explosion in this game.
The Giants' offensive line obviously struggled on Monday, and surely will struggle more against the Redskins. The big play likely won't be as readily available against the Redskins secondary. Plus the Giants' running game has struggled all year, and now they face the NFL's third-best rushing defense. It's a matchup nightmare. While the Redskins offense is struggling too, which opens the door for the Giants to win a defensive battle, keep in mind the Giants just traded away two defensive starters -- Apple and DT Damon Harrison, among the best run-stopping defensive lineman in the league. The defensive players are shell-shocked, and at least a few of them are wondering if they might be next. It's hard to imagine all of their heads will be squarely in this game. Oh, and if that doesn't offer enough pessimism about the matchup, consider that the Giants are on a short week, too! Yikes. After all that doom and gloom, I'm tempted to say, "So of course this is the game the Giants will win." But instead, I'd rather play the odds. … Redskins 27, Giants 20.
MY RECORD: 4-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO LOSE: 4-1