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The Giants' offense has to be more than the Eli-Odell pitch and catch combo
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham scores a touchdown in front of Washington Redskins cornerback Will Blackmon during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

The Giants lost a key game to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, getting down early and staying down until it was too late to recover. They threw the football 51 times and ran it just 13. That's about as far away from New York Giant football as you can get.

Statisitcs show the Giants are doomed when Eli attempts more than 50 passes in a game, compliling an infamous 2-22 record in those contests. On Sunday, the Giants got away from their running game, and the balance of the offense -- or imbalance, rather -- made them predictable and left them exposed.

Eighteen of those passes were thrown in the direction of superstar WR Odell Beckham Jr., who managed to reel in nine of them for 142 yards and a sensational diving TD catch thet drew the Giants within six points of Washington with about 5 minutes remaining.

It's all very fun to watch, but not practical to win this man's NFL. Good teams need to be able to run the football, and right now the Giants can't, or won't, or something. They keep getting away from the game plan, falling in love with what Beckham brings them.

What he's not bringing them is wins. In his 23 games as a pro, the Giants have won just nine of the games he's played in. Yes, he's great, no doubt, but the 52 other guys need to something once in while to go anywhere.

In his weekly Monday conference call, head coach Tom Coughlin tried to explain what happened to the running game against the Redskins on Sunday.

"We had a little bit of success early on and despite the fact that there were runs following that that weren't very successful, you always look back at that and say, 'Yeah, we should have run. We should have kept running,'" Coughlin said.

"We should have done something to, if nothing else, affect the ability to set up play action pass. In the game, in the process, in the game the way it was going, we were down quite significantly, not having a lot of success, and that always leads you the other way. But when you look at the end result and you look at the statistics from the game, you certainly would have liked to have rushed the ball a considerable amount of times more than we did."

Manning agreed they abandoned the run perhaps a bit too early.

"I thought we were fine running the ball early in the game. We were getting four yards a pop, and had some nice runs, and put in some good down and distance," Manning said. "We just kind of got into the second half, and got down, started hitting some big plays in the pass game, finally connected on some, and once you get to the midway towards the end of the third quarter and you're down 17, it's a little bit tougher to stay with the run."

But the offensive line is in flux again thanks to injuries to its core. Center Weston Richburg (ankle) and guard Justin Pugh (concussion) were already out before guard Geoff Schwartz was lost in the first quarter to a fractured leg. The reserves were no match for the Redskins defensive front.

As the game went on, events dictated the Giants had to take to the air.

"We had to score, and score quickly and kind of got into a passing deal," Manning said. "We didn't want it to be a game where we had to throw it 50 times; we would have liked to run it more, but I think it's also a combination. We took some shots trying to throw the ball on second down and we didn't complete a lot of them, and got into a lot of third and long situations. The second half, we also just had some runs where we were just losing yards. We lost yardage a few times, we weren't getting a whole lot of it, and it just became one of those games. It wasn't the game plan but just the way it became."

It can't continue, however. The Giants are on a losing streak as a passing team and it is about to bring the whole organization down if they don't balance things out.

Tags: Eli Manning , Geoff Schwartz , Justin Pugh , Odell Beckham Jr. , Weston Richburg , John Fennelly
Prince Amukamara: Giants are disappointed, but not discouraged
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin shakes hands with cornerback Prince Amukamara (20). (Tim Heitman)

The New York Giants lost their grasp on first place in the NFC East and now stand in a first-place tie with Washington after their 20-14 loss Sunday.

So, where do they turn next?

First, the team faces a mental hurdle after suffering a second loss in as many games. Thus far, the Giants have maintained confidence entering Week 13 and their remaining slate ahead of them.

"We're disappointed in ourselves but we're not discouraged," Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara said Monday.

"We're excited that we have another game this week to go out and prove ourselves, and we feel like our goal, which is winning the NFC East, is still achievable. [The] guys just have to be excited about that."

Amukamara doesn't believe the team's Week 12 performance in Washington should impact how it will performance next week against the Jets.

Defensively, the Giants failed to force a turnover for the third time this season. The team faced a 17-point point deficit, its largest of the season. Eli Manning matched a season-high with three picks as the offense held the ball for merely 24 minutes.

As far as Week 13 goes, a strong week of practice should help the Giants right the ship, Amukamara said.

"I don't think you can really gauge how we're going to perform next week by how guys feel after a game or by how guys feel this Monday," he said. "I think it's all about the preparation through a week of practice and even that, it's all about how guys show up on Sunday. We just hope to have the right mindset on Sunday."

The Giants' Week 13 just happens to come against their crosstown rivals, the Jets.

That may add extra fuel to this showdown through outsiders' eyes, but the Giants have maintained their focus on just getting a win, regardless of who's out there lining up against them at MetLife Stadium Saturday.

"We're all just focused on this just being just another opponent that we need to beat," Amukamara said. "We're still trying to win the division, and I don't think it's about who we're playing and if we need a rivalry to get us up. I feel like yesterday, we should've been more amped than any game on our schedule. I don't think we need it to be a rivalry for us to get us up. We know how great the Jets are. We know they came up with a huge win yesterday against the Dolphins so we know what's ahead of us."

Tags: Prince Amukamara , Sam Spiegelman
Washington 20, Giants 14: By the numbers
(Brad Mills)

The New York Giants lost their stranglehold on first place in the NFC East by falling 20-14 to Washington Sunday at FedEx Field.

The Giants have dropped two in a row and and have split their series with Washington. More importantly, at 5-6, both they and the Redskins are sitting atop the NFC East standings.

Here are more important numbers from Sunday's loss at Washington:

3: For the 3rd time this season, the Giants failed to earn a takeaway. They failed to do so against Atlanta and San Francisco, and now Washington. They are 1-2 when they force zero turnovers.

3: Eli Manning matched a season-high with 3 interceptions. It was the most interceptions Manning has thrown in a game since throwing 5 against San Francisco in 2014.

5: The Giants had won 5 in a row against Washington before Sunday's loss. They had last lost to the Redskins on Dec. 3, 2012 by a score of 17-16.

8: DeSean Jackson had two catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Jackson has 8 career touchdowns against the Giants as a member of both the Eagles and Redskins between rushing, receiving and via returns.

9: The Giants have lost road contests against all three divisional opponents for the first time in 9 years. They last lost to Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington on the road in 2006.

17: The Giants have lost 17 games after a bye week and are 10-17 all-time. They have lost each of the last two years after the bye. Previously, the Giants had won six in a row from 2008 to 2013.

17: The Giants trailed 17-0 at halftime, which was their largest halftime deficit of the season.

24: The Giants held the ball for 24 minutes Sunday, their third-lowest time of possession on the season. They only held the ball less in their two previous meetings with Dallas.

Tags: Eli Manning , Sam Spiegelman
Five things we learned from Tom Coughlin...
Tom Coughlin (AP)

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin spoke with the media during a conference call on Monday. Here are five things we learned...

1.) G Geoff Schwartz, who fractured his leg during Sunday's game against the Redskins, will have to be placed on IR, though Coughlin said the severity of the fracture is still not known.

2.) Coughlin is hopeful that CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who missed part of Sunday's game after injuring his ankle, will be able to play against the Jets on Sunday.

3.) Coughlin is hoping that the Giants will get one of G Justin Pugh or C Weston Richburg back against the Jets.

4.) Coughlin said that Eli Manning targeted Odell Beckham, Jr. 18 times against the Redskins because he wanted the ball in the hands of the guys that can be the most productive.

5.) The Giants would've liked to have run the ball more against the Redskins.

Beckham's catch no cure for Giants' many ills

As the Giants were unraveling in Washington Sunday afternoon, their one true star managed to stand tall.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the player who makes the cost of the tickets worth their face value, gave the fans something to cheer about with another one-handed, eye-popping TD catch in the Giants' embarrassing 20-14 loss to the Redskins.

The Giants came out flat and stayed there for three quarters. The Redskins, who also have no business playing for first place, managed to keep a depleted Giants team in the game as the fourth quarter approached.

With the door left ajar, QB Eli Manning hit WR Rueben Randle for a 40-yard TD on a fourth down play with 10:10 remaining to narrow the score to 20-7 in favor of the Redskins.

Five minutes later, Beckham beat former Giant Will Blackmon down the left sideline on a third-and-2 from the Washington 21. Beckham dove forward, grabbed the ball with his left hand, pulled it into his body and hit the paint of the end zone for a TD.

That made the score 20-14 and gave the Giants life, even though the Giants could not pull off the comeback. It was too little, too late for a Giant team that played a particularly sour brand of football all day.

With a chance to put some distance between them and the rest of their NFC East rivals, they fell flat on their faces with sloppy performance that we have seen way too many times in the recent past.

With no sacks and no turnovers to their credit and three INTs off the arm of Manning that should never have happened, the Giants almost won this mess of a game.

That's because Washington stinks, too. So does Philadelphia and Dallas. The Giants (5-6, like the Redskins) can still win this division, but it's going to take more than the effort of just one guy to do it.

Tags: Eli Manning , Odell Beckham Jr. , Rueben Randle , John Fennelly
Giants' rally falls short against Redskins
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) is congratulated after his touchdown catch by offensive guard Bobby Hart (68) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Box score | Play-by-play

LANDOVER, Md. -- For all of their deficiencies and inconsistency, Jay Gruden's Washington Redskins are right there at the top of the NFC East.

Kirk Cousins connected with DeSean Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown pass and scored on a fourth-down quarterback sneak, Washington intercepted Eli Manning three times, and the Redskins held on to beat the New York Giants 20-14 Sunday, pulling into a tie for first place.

New York trailed 20-0 before making things interesting as Manning threw fourth-quarter TD passes of 40 yards to Rueben Randle and 21 yards to Odell Beckham Jr., who made a fantastic diving catch, corralling the ball with his left hand while parallel to the ground.

The Giants came into the day with a chance to create some space in the standings. Instead, they're 5-6, just like the Redskins, with five games remaining. The Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) and Dallas Cowboys (3-8), both routed on Thanksgiving Day, are the other members of the mediocre division.

Setting the tone on a chilly, dreary day, New York's first two possessions ended when passes by Manning went in and out of receivers' hands and were picked off - first by linebacker Perry Riley Jr., then by cornerback Will Blackmon. And on the Giants' first drive of the second half, Manning's throw on third-and-goal at the 4 was intercepted in the end zone by rookie Quinton Dunbar, who switched from receiver to cornerback in training camp.

It was the 20th three-interception game of two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning's career. He wound up 26 for 51 for 321 yards with the pair of late scores. Beckham had nine catches for 141 yards.

Cousins was 20 for 29 for 302 yards, including the long TD to Jackson - who taunted the Giants by strutting along the goal line before actually crossing it - and zero interceptions. When the fourth-year QB avoids getting picked off this season, Washington is 5-0; when he throws at least one interception, the team is 0-6.

The Redskins have been about as up-and-down as can be in Gruden's second year. They are 5-1 at home, including five consecutive wins, and 0-5 on the road. They have not won two consecutive games. Entering Sunday, their previous two results were a 33-point victory, followed by a 28-point loss.

The Giants were coming off their bye and looked rusty, particularly on offense.

Manning had miscommunication issues with Beckham in the first quarter, and with Dwayne Harris in the second, resulting in throws that did not match the receivers' routes.

It didn't help matters that the Giants began the game without two injured starters along the offensive line, then lost a third in the first half when guard Geoff Schwartz left with a fractured lower leg.

New York's first 10 drives culminated in three turnovers and seven punts. On the team's 11th possession, Manning finally put some points on the board, hitting Randle. Then came Beckham's highlight-reel grab.

But it was too little, too late.

Washington led 17-0 at halftime, thanks in part to Cousins' 1-yard TD sneak with under 2 minutes to go that generated a full-throated chorus of "Hail to the Redskins!" As the teams headed to the locker rooms soon thereafter, fans gave a standing ovation, a rare salute to a club that has finished last in the NFC East in six of the past seven seasons.

Rodgers-Cromartie leaves game with leg injury
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left Sunday's game with ah right knee injury.

Rodgers-Cromartie was injured defending Washington TE Jordan Reed with 13:08 remaining in the second quarter and had to be carried off the field by members of the Giants training staff.

In his absense, the Giants were burned for a 63-yard TD pass play from Kirk Cousins to Desean Jackson. Jayron Hosley, in for Rodgers-Cromartie, was burned by Jackson.

DRC went into the locker room to undergo tests. First reports are that DRC hyperextended his right knee.

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie , John Fennelly
Giants' OL Geoff Schwartz fractures leg
New York Giants guard Geoff Schwartz (74) lines up against the Buffalo Bills during the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibition NFL football game Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in Canton, Ohio. New York won 17-13. (AP Photo/David Richard) (David Richard/AP)

Giants OL Geoff Schwartz fractured his lower leg in the first quarter of Sunday's game in Washington. Schwartz was injured on a running play with 5:43 left in the first quarter and will naturally not return.

He is likely done for the season.

The Giants entered the game with two starters on the offensive line inactive. LG Justin Pugh (conccussion) and center Weston Richburg (ankle) were ruled out this week and replaced by John Jerry and Dallas Reynolds respectively.

After Schwartz' injury, rookie Bobby Hart was inserted into the lineup.

Tags: Geoff Schwartz , John Fennelly
Week 12 prediction: Giants vs. Washington

The Washington Redskins (4-6) host the Giants (5-5) on Sunday/
Washington is 4-1 at FedEx Field this season and has won four in a row in its own building since the season opener against Miami. This game pins the first-place team in the NFC East against Washington, which would slide into the top spot with a victory over the Giants.

Last meeting: Giants won, 32-21, on Sept. 24 at MetLife Stadium.
How the Giants will win: The Giants will need to hold Washington to fewer than 100 yards on the ground. The last time out, the Giants limited the Redskins' three-prong rushing attack to 88 yards in a convincing victory. Washington's running game is the team's catalyst. The team is 3-1 when rushing for more than 100 yards. In order to slow down the run game, the Giants will need major contributions from its defensive reinforcements returning to the field in linebackers Uani Unga and J.T. Thomas.
How the Redskins will win: The Redskins can win if DeSean Jackson continues its tear. Dating back to his days with Philadelphia, Jackson is a notorious Giants killer. Last week, in his third game back in the lineup since Week 1, Jackson hauled in a season-high five receptions on eight targets, which resulted in 87 yards and a touchdown. If the Redskins have a healthy Jordan Reed at tight end along with Pierre Garcon out wide and Chris Thompson coming out of the backfield, the Giants have a whole other aspect of the Washington offense to contend with.
How the Giants will lose: If the Giants do not put constant pressure on Kirk Cousins. Against New England, the Giants defensive line flashed signed by notching a season-high three sacks of Tom Brady. Jason Pierre-Paul is playing better and just had an extra week to get back into football shape. Paired with the return of two starting linebackers, the front seven should be at full strength. Washington's offense features tons of short passes, which means the Giants need to get pressure and do so quickly.
How the Redskins will lose: The Redskins cannot afford to turn the ball over more than twice. This season, Washington is 0-6 when turning the ball over at least two times. Conversely, the team is 4-0 when it turns it over one time or less. The Redskins turned the rock over three times in their Week 3 tilt against the Giants, which did them in for a loss.
Prediction: Giants 35, Redskins 31
Why: The Giants proved they are capable of taking away Washington's running game way in their first meeting in Week 3. At the time, a healthy Giants defense held Washington to 88 yards on the ground, which came at a juncture in the season in which the defense limited opponents to fewer than 100 yards for a four-game stretch. Since then, injuries have ravished the Giants defense, which should return to full strength in Week 12. Two weeks ago, the Giants suffered a confidence-building loss to New England in which the pass rush showed signs and the defense stood tall time and time again against Tom Brady. After a bye week to get healthy and re-focus, the Giants realize they have a six-game schedule to run away with the NFC East. That begins with a pivotal clash with Washington on Sunday.

Nicks, Herzlich active for Giants
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (14) stiff arms New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks will be active for the Giants Sunday as he makes his return to the team when they play Washington at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Also active is linebacker Mark Herzlich. On the inactive list are WR Geremy Davis, CB Leon McFadden, OL Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, TE Larry Donnell, DE George Selvie, S Cooper Taylor.

NFL Week 12 GameDay: NY Giants (5-5) at Washington (4-6)
Nov 22, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won 44-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

The New York Giants (5-5) travel down to the nation's capital to face the the 4-6 Washington Redskins in battle for first place in the NFC East.

Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. Eastern 
Site: FedEx Field 
Referee: Carl Cheffers
TV: FOX Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin (field reporter)
Radio: WFAN 660AM and 101.9FM Bob Papa, Carl Banks and Howard Cross
The Series: Giants lead, 97-64-4, and have won the past 5 meetings.

Last Game: 9/24/15: Redskins 21 at Giants 32: New York QB Eli Manning passed for 279 yards & two TDs. Giants WR Rueben Randle had seven receptions for 116 yards and a TD.


Giants: OUT: TE Larry Donnell (neck), LB Mark Herzlich (quadricep), G Justin Pugh (concussion) DOUBTFUL: C Weston Richburg (ankle) QUESTIONABLE: LB J.T. Thomas (ankle) PROBABLE: LB Uani 'Unga (neck), CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Leon McFadden (groin), DE Damontre Moore (hamstring), G Geoff Schwartz (ankle)

Redskins: OUT: S Trenton Robinson (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE: CB Bashaud Breeland (hamstring, illness), CB Deshazor Everett (hamstring), LB Keenan Robinson (shoulder) PROBABLE: S Dashon Goldson (knee, hamstring, wrist), CB DeAngelo Hall (toe), DE Jason Hatcher (knee), S Jeron Johnson (illness), LB Ryan Kerrigan (hand), DT Terrance Knighton (migraine), C Josh LeRibeus (ankle, shoulder), RB Alfred Morris (rib), WR Andre Roberts (ankle), G Brandon Scherff (thigh), T Trent Williams (knee)

Giants Notes

QB Eli Manning has won five in a row vs. Washington and has a 106 rating (11 TDs, three INTs). Has nine TDs, one INT & 118.3 rating in the past three meetings. Has started 177 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL…

RB Rashad Jennings blocked a punt for safety in Week 3. RB Andre Williams has TD in two of three meetings. RB Shane Vereen aims for third game in a row on road with TD…

WR Odell Beckham Jr. has 21 catches for 339 yards (113 per game) & four TDs in the past three games. Has 20 TDs in 22 games. Has 19 catches for 222 yards (111 per game) & four TDs in two meetings. TE Larry Donnell had career-high three TDs in last game at Was. WR Rueben Randle had seven catches for 116 yards & a TD in Week 3. WR-KR Dwayne Harris has four TDs (three receiving, one KR) in his past four games.

CB Prince Amukamara aims for third game in a row vs. Was. with an INT. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has three INTs (one TD) & two FFs in his past six games. Has seven career TDs (six INTs, one FR) & avg. 56.9 yards per TD. CB Trumaine McBride has three INTs, FF & FR in past three meetings…

Redskins Notes

QB Kirk Cousins passed for 316 yards in Week 3. In his past four games at home, is 4-0 with nine TDs, no INTs with 122.6 rating & two rushing TDs…

Since entering NFL in 2012, RB Alfred Morris is fourth in NFL with 4,366 rush yards & tied for fourth with 28 rush TDs. Rookie RB Matt Jones has 395 scrimmage yards (98.8 per game) & three TDs in his past four at home. RB Chris Thompson had TD & career-high eight catches for 57 yards in Week 3…

TE Jordan Reed has five TDs in the past four. Had six catches for 96 yards in last meeting. WR DeSean Jackson has seven career TDs vs. NYG (four rec., two PR, one rush). Had 56-yard TD last week. KR-WR Rashad Ross had 101-yard KR-TD in Week 3. WR-KR Andre Roberts had 99-yard KR-TD last week. Since 2013, WR Pierre Garcon has 227 catches, second most in NFC…

LB Ryan Kerrigan has 11.5 sacks in the past 14 games at home. Since entering NFL in 2011, he is one of two players with 40+ sacks (42.5) & two or more INT-TDs (two).

Tags: John Fennelly
Donnell, Pugh and Richburg don't travel to Washington

Center Weston Richburg (ankle) has been downgraded to out and will miss Sunday's game against the Redskins.

Richburg, tight end Larry Donnell (ankle) and guard Justin Pugh (concussion) did not travel with the team to Washington.

Linebacker Mark Herzlich (quad) was upgraded from out to questionable, the team announced.

Dallas Reynolds will start at center for the Giants in place of Richburg. John Jerry will be at left guard in relief of Pugh. Reynolds has been with the club since 2013 and Jerry started all 16 games last season at right guard in place of Geoff Schwartz.

"John's played a lot of football," head coach Tom Coughlin said on Friday. "John's been a starter here, he's played in the backup capacity. We've always been fortunate to be able to call on him, and here we go again."

"(I'm) very confident, yeah, very confident," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said. "We had a good week this week. Dallas came in, we haven't missed a beat so far up front. He does a nice job directing traffic for us. We'll need a big week from those guys this week. Washington does a nice job up front creating some havoc."

First-year players Will Tye and Jerome Cunningham will fill in at tight end for Donnell. Tye has 15 catches for 152 yards in seven games played this season.

Linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle) is also questionable, while linebacker Unai' Unga (neck), guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle), defensive end Damontre Moore (hamstring) and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (pectoral) and Leon McFadden (groin) are probable.

Tags: Justin Pugh , Larry Donnell , Mark Herzlich , Weston Richburg
Steve Spagnuolo sees drastic improvement out of Jason Pierre-Paul
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul high fives teammates as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

As Jason Pierre-Paul prepares for his third game of the season, he has certainly garnered the attention of coaches, and for good reason.
Pierre-Paul has made strides from game to game, evident by a sack Week 10 against New England, which was called back due to a penalty.
Still, as Pierre-Paul learns to make adjustments with his hand, he has continued to improve as a pass rusher.
"The first game, I remember he was even flipping trying to get comfortable on which side should he be on," Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said.
"I think the second game we saw a little bit more of him, especially in the passing situations, but I think the run game. I think he's been OK there, we always preach in terms of defense of using your hands, and even when you're out here in practice and he's got it wrapped up, it's a little tougher to do, but I do see him using it more and more. That's encouraging and I think that's good."
Pierre-Paul has had to learn to put his left hand down in the ground instead of his right, which has been among the biggest adjustments for the defensive end.
Other teams have taken notice, too.
As opponents make adjustment for Pierre-Paul, he's working to combat it.
"You can see on film that in obvious passing situations, they'll use a guy to chip, and I think that's something that you're going to see when you've got somebody of his caliber out there rushing the passer," Spagnuolo said. "They have to decide where they think he is, whether he's like he was a year ago, or two years ago, or if he's different because of the injury he's dealing with. I think he's always going to face that, I really do."
However, he has worked tirelessly with defensive line coach Robert Nunn in an effort to improve.
Spagnuolo believes eventually that hard work will yield positive results.
"He's just battling the comfort level," he said. "It's getting used to a lot of different things every game. I think he obviously feels more comfortable this week than he did last week and hopefully that'll pay off."

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul , Sam Spiegelman
GEICO SportsNite: NY Giants 00:01:52
Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Tom Coughlin discuss their confidence in Hakeem Nicks in the Giants' Week 12 matchup vs. Washington.
McAdoo: Giants' running game has to start breaking off some long runs
Nov 8, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Giants' running game is lost right now. Gaining only 3.8 yards per carry, it is the thing the Giants do when they need a rest from passing. Using four different backs, the Giants have only scored three touchdowns on the ground this season. Conversely, they've only fumbled once and did not lose it.

Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo told reporters on Friday the running game is set to take off. They just haven't been able to get going, but it's not too late. In evaluating what has been happening over the bye week, McAdoo revealed what he saw on tape these past two weeks.

"In the run game, we were winning the down at a fairly decent clip," he said. "We need to eliminate the zero and negative yardage runs that hurt you. The other thing we do is when we get a chance to have a one-on-one, we need to break an arm tackle and take it to the house, that's something we haven't done."

Asked to explain, he said what many of us have seen: the explosion isn't there and it has to return.

"The play is blocked, we're gaining yards," McAdoo said. "We need to rip off a couple big ones. We need to minimize the zero and negative yardage runs when we're getting hit in the backfield or whether we just get back to the line of scrimmage or lose one or two. We need to get those out of our system."

McAdoo backtracked when it was suggested he was placing the blame on the poor output.

"Well, no. It's everyone's involved in that, it's not one group," he said. "Believe me, there's enough to go around and I'm included. For the backs, the biggest thing for the backs is they need to be aware of the situation. When there's one yard to go, they need to get that yard on third and one. When you get one-on-one with a safety, we expect our backs to beat that safety and take one the distance, and we haven't done that yet and it's a challenge on them to do that. We expect them to do it and we count on them to do it."

Asked the Giants were going to continue the four-man rotation of Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams and Orleans Darkwa, McAdoo confirmed they would. He was then asked who is the best at breaking those arm tackles that have been so frustrating.

"They've each had their moments," he said. "They've each had their moments. I don't know that one sticks out one way or the other. Andre is a big, physical guy and if he gets a body one-on-one in the hole he's pretty good with it. Shane has some wiggle to him. They each have their own skillset. Rashad does a nice job, he's had some nice second half runs in games where he's come out. But we just need to play the way we're capable of there."

Tags: Andre Williams , Orleans Darkwa , Rashad Jennings , Shane Vereen , John Fennelly
Spagnuolo: Prince Amukamara can help us
Sep 24, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports (Chris Faytok/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports)

After missing five games due to a partial pectoral tear, Prince Amukamara is back.
The oft-injured Giants cornerback will start opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Sunday as the team faces Washington in an NFC East tilt.
Before Amukamara sustained his injury, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was impressed with his level of play. Now that he's back in the fold, he's optimistic about this Giants secondary.
"We know he's a good football player," Spagnuolo said. "I really thought right before he got hurt, I thought he was really coming along and playing real well for us.
"Anytime you lose a player of Prince's caliber, it makes it a challenge. I think the guys have done a good job to this point. We're glad we have him back. … Hopefully he can knock the rust off really quick in the game and he can help us."
Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride took on larger roles with Amukamara sidelined, but that didn't lead to Spagnuolo changing up his defense.
That will remain the same as Amukamara returns to the starting lineup.
However, the defensive coordinator indicated there's a higher degree of confidence with both the Giants' starting cornerbacks back out there.
"I probably won't call anything differently now that he is in there," Spagnuolo said. "He's played in this league a long time, he's a solid pro, we rely on him as one of our real good football players, and to have one on either side, that being DRC (Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie), I think there is a sense of security there for us."

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie , Jayron Hosley , Prince Amukamara , Trumaine McBride , Sam Spiegelman
Giants' WR will have opportunities against weakened Washington secondary
Nov 8, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Giants head into this weekend's game against the Washington Redskins with a clear advantage: their wide receivers against the Redskins' banged-up secondary.

CB Chris Culliver tore both the MCL and ACL in his left knee in last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers and is out for the remainder of the season. Starting strong safety Trenton Robinson (hamstring) is also out this Sunday. In addition, CBs Bashaud Breeland (hamstring/illness) and Deshazor Everett (hamstring) are questionable. CB DeAngelo Hall (toe) and safety Dashon Goldson (knee/hamstring.wrist) are probable.

The Giants are looking forward to throwing the football this weekend. WR Hakeem Nicks is returning and Odell Beckham Jr. is also poised for a big afternoon. 

"He had a good week of practice, caught the ball well, seemed to pick up with the signals and with the offense," head coach Tom Coughlin said of Nicks on Friday. "So to what extent is he really prepared? Not going to give you percentages, but I think he's done a good job. He's worked hard, he's studied, he's had extra time with coaches. So I feel confident that the experience will kick in as well and, if called upon, he'd be able to go."

"I think Coach said it best when he said he was the best guy out there, and we're fortunate that he was out there," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said of Nicks. "He came in and he's doing a nice job. He's working at it, putting in some extra time learning it, spending some time with Sean (Ryan) and Ryan Roeder, putting the time in after practice and in the evenings. He's had a nice week."

Beckham was not around when Nicks was the team's star wide receiver. He was asked for his impression of Nicks, whom he met for the first time this week.

"I've seen him and first time I met him, I had to put my hand up to his," Beckham said. "I was like, "You know, we've got to kill the awkwardness and see what's going on." That's kind of how we broke the ice and we've been cool ever since he's been here. He knows what's going on, he knows how to win. From what I've seen, he's been great and he always will be great."

Beckham said Nicks' hands may be a little bigger and he will not lend him his gloves. The two of them are only half of the Giants' wide receiving equation right now. Rueben Randle is healthy and Dwayne Harris is playing at a higher level than the Giants expected he would.

Coughlin was asked if thought Beckham would continue to get better, or has he hit his ceiling.

"You're either going to get better or going to get worse and there's no question what he can do," Coughlin said. "He will be better and he'll continue to grow and develop and know more about the opposition, know more about who he's playing against, know more about what's expected when someone does something defensively to try to adjust to what you're doing. He's going to do nothing but get better."

The Redskins pass defense is currently ranked ninth in the NFL, but with all of these new injuries, it is going to be difficult for them to contain the Giants' receiving corps on Sunday.

"Washington plays so well at home," Coughlin said. "I mean, they've done an exceptional job. Their finest output of the year offensively was at home against New Orleans. They ran into a very, very good football in Carolina last weekend and a couple weeks prior they played New England, there's two undefeated teams. They battled and so on and so forth. We have great respect for them and when you see how well the quarterback has played, Cousins had played at home, they've done an outstanding job."

Tags: Dwayne Harris , Odell Beckham Jr. , Rueben Randle , John Fennelly
Larry Donnell's season is in doubt
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke)

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell's season is in doubt due to a neck injury (Raanan, Nov. 27).  

"It's going to be a while," Donnell said. "There is a chance that I could play, but this is not an arm, this is not a foot, this is my neck. So I'll take all the time that is needed to make sure that is right before I get back out there." 

Donnell, 27, was injured while making a diving catch in the first quarter of the Giants loss to the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 1. He has not appeared in a game since.

"There is concern. Well, there is concern or he'd be able to play," coach Tom Coughlin said. "The fact is they're not where they want him to be when they'd give him the green light, so he's not ready to go.

The possibility remains that Donnell could be placed on season-ending IR.

"He gets a test pretty much every week. So we're in a holding pattern there," Coughlin added.

Donnell has 29 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns this season. 

Tags: Larry Donnell , Tim Reilly
Giants injury report
New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Chris Faytok/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports)

Out: G Justin Pugh (concussion), TE Larry Donnell (ankle) and LB Mark Herzlich (quad)

Doubtful: C Weston Richburg (ankle)

Questionable: LB J.T Thomas (ankle)

Probable: CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral), CB Leon McFadden (groin), DE Damontre Moore (hamstring), G Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and LB Uani Unga (neck).

Tags: Tim Reilly
NFC East: Giants can put themselves in driver's seat with win over Redskins
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) at the line of scrimmage during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

With all the Giants' misfortunes this season, who would ever have thought they could open up a two-game lead on Thanksgiving weekend?

Well, thats where they stand right now. If they beat the Redskins in Washington this Sunday, they will be 6-5 and two full games ahead both Philadelphia and Washington, who would both be 4-7 should that happen.

Thanksgiving was an ugly one for the Eagles and the Cowboys. Philadelphia was crushed by the Lions on Detroit, 45-14, and Dallas' season was all but ended at home by the unbeaten Carolina Panthers, 33-14. QB Tony Romo re-injured the clavicle that had kept him out of action since Week 2 of the season.

The misfortunes that have plagued the Giants the past few years have now seeped into their rivals' seasons. The Eagles have completely fallen apart, and by the time they come here to play the Giants, they could be without head coach Chip Kelly, who is on the hot seat and may be let go in the coming weeks.

The Giants are finished with Dallas this season, having split their two games with them. Washington, however, still has two games against the Cowboys and can still play a spoiler role.

New York currently has a five-game winning streak over Washington, but Giants head coach Tom Coughlin isn't taking anything for granted. He was asked on Wednesday what is different about what the difference is between the Redskins they'll see this week and the team they beat 32-21 back on Sept. 24.

"Just the fact that they've been very successful," he said. "But they've played some pretty good teams on the road, too."

Someone asked if the Giants understand that this game is for first place.

"Oh no, I tell them and they understand it," Coughlin said. "We try to make everything absolutely clear, absolutely understandable, the circumstances, as we go along. The six-game season, one game at a time, this is the most important game of the year, right here in the division."

The Giants' winning streak means little to Coughlin as well.

"You have to earn it every time you play," he said. "Past records mean nothing. We're in the division."

And that division has fallen down around them, leaving just the Redskins in their way

Tags: John Fennelly
Cowboys' Romo likely done for season

ESPN reported that Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is "done for the season" after re-injuring his left collarbone Thursday in a 33-14 loss to unbeaten Carolina in Arlington, Texas.

Dallas fell to 3-8, and without Romo are very unlikely to challenge the NFC East-leading Giants the division title the Cowboys won last year.

Romo was injured on the final play of the third quarter during when he was sacked by Thomas Davis.

"You can hear something happen, you're just disappointed, frustrated," said Romo, describing the injury as similar to what he felt when he broke his collarbone in Week 2 against Philadelphia before missing seven games - all losses.

Owner Jerry Jones said the team needs more information to know Romo's status for the rest of the season, and the 35-year-old quarterback will have more tests Friday. Coach Jason Garrett said X-rays taken when Romo came out of the game were inconclusive.

While Romo's left arm was in a sling, he was able to leave the stadium driving his car after playing his first game at home since the season opener.

Dallas already trailed 30-6 when Romo got hurt. The Panthers (11-0) had three interceptions before halftime, and returned two of those for touchdowns. Linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepted two straight passes, returning the first 32 yards for a touchdown, and setting up a field goal at the end of the half with the second.

Romo finished 11 of 21 for 106 yards with a 27.2 passer rating.


Redskins lose DB Culliver for season

Washington Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver tore the ACL in his right knee Thursday during practice and is out for the season, according to multiple media reports.

Washington (4-6) hosts the first-place Giants (5-5) on Sunday.

Coach Jay Gruden says Culliver "tweaked" his knee after jumping for a ball and landing on it.

Culliver missed three games earlier this season after injuring his left knee in practice and also had been dealing with a shoulder injury. He missed the entire 2013 season in San Francisco after tearing his left ACL in training camp.

Culliver signed a four-year free agent deal in the offseason. He is the sixth Washington starter to be lost for the season.

Giants injury updates...
Justin Pugh (Kevin Hoffman)

TE Larry Donnell, LB Mark Herzlich, G Justin Pugh, and C Weston Richburg did not practice on Thursday.

LB J.T. Thomas was limited during practice.

CB Prince Amukamara, CB Leon McFadden, DE Damontre Moore, G Geoff Schwartz, and LB Uani 'Unga were all full participants.


Tags: Justin Pugh , Larry Donnell , Mark Herzlich , Weston Richburg
Family of Frank Gifford reveals Giants great suffered from CTE
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The family of Frank Gifford revealed in a statement that the Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and broadcast icon suffered from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) a brain disorder that is commonly associated with concussions and head trauma.

From NBCNews:

"We as a family made the difficult decision to have [Gifford's] brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury," Gifford's family said.

"Our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed when a team of pathologists recently diagnosed his condition as that of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) - a progressive degenerative brain disease," it said.

"We have great respect and sympathy for the Gifford family," the Giants said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "We all miss Frank dearly. We support the family's decision to contribute to the discussion and research of an issue we take very seriously."

Gifford, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 84, played for the Giants for 12 seasons. He may be most famous for the violent hit he sustained at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles' Chuck Bednarik in 1960 that was classified as a "deep brain concussion" at the time and kept Gifford on the sidelines until 1962.

Below is a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

"Frank Gifford was a beloved member of the NFL family. He exemplified everything good about our game throughout his 85 years of extraordinary accomplishments, both on and off the field.

We appreciate the Gifford family's desire to help the medical community understand more about CTE, and we are grateful for their support of the league's efforts to improve safety in our game. At the NFL, we are supporting grants to NIH and Boston University as well as other independent efforts to research the effects of repetitive head trauma.

But we are not waiting until science provides all of the answers. We are working now to improve the safety of our game. The NFL has made numerous rules changes to the game, all to enhance player health and safety at all levels of football. These include 39 rule changes and better training and practice protocols that are yielding measurable results.

This work will continue as the health and safety of our players remains our highest priority. We have more work to do - work that honors great men like Frank Gifford."

Tags: John Fennelly
GEICO SportsNite: NY Giants 00:02:01
Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and Rashad Jennings talk about the NFC playoff race and look forward to facing Washington in Week 12.

Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and Rashad Jennings talk about the NFC playoff race and look forward to facing Washington in Week 12.

Landon Collins can't get past near-interception against Patriots
Nov 15, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Landon Collins (21) tries in vain to pull in pass interception during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. New England Patriots defeat the New York Giants 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports (Jim O'Connor)

Landon Collins was a 5-star safety at Dutchtown High School (La.) and an honorable All-American at Alabama, so playmaking came natural.

Having an interception slip out of his grips against the Patriots two weeks ago hasn't been easy to get over.

"That was the first time I had the game in my hands and dropped the ball," Collins said. "That was the first time that happened."

Sometimes the first time stings the most.

"It was definitely hard because I don't do that," Collins said. "I killed myself when I went home, I just couldn't take it, but I'm just ready to get back on the field and just keep it going and prove myself."

"I got over it," he added, "but I mean just to feel that I let the team down is always in the back of your mind."

Collins' first chance to make amends for that dropped interception comes Sunday against Washington.

The rookie safety will have a chance to play his first game at FedEx Field, the same stadium where his idol, Sean Taylor, played in.

"It's going to be fantastic and it's going to be a dream come true to be on the field he played on," Collins said. "When I go out there and do warm ups and stuff with myself, I just want to (think) of him and his name and stuff like that."

How much Collins plays remains a question.

Collins' snap percentage dipped in the Week 10 loss to New England and remains up in the air entering Sunday.

Regardless, the rookie will be ready when his name is called.

"We're doing this rotation thing now and we're just working on getting everybody in because all of us have been getting a lot of snaps and they're just trying to keep my legs straight and just trying to switch it up a little bit," Collins explained.

"It didn't bother me. I understand where coach is coming from because it's a long season, and they just want to make sure I keep my legs underneath me, and be able to keep contributing as much as I can."

Tags: Landon Collins , Sam Spiegelman
Eli stoked to regain the magic with Nicks
Eli Manning and the Giants are hoping to spring another upset of the Patriots on Sunday. (AP)

One of the reasons the Giants decided to bring WR Hakeem Nicks back last week is his familiarity with QB Eli Manning, who he connected with for touchdown 26 times in the five seasons Nicks was here from 2009-13.

Only Plaxico Burress (33) has caught more TDs from Manning, who is looking forward to seeing his old mate out on the field in blue again this Sunday in Washington.

"He looks good, he looks like he's running well, grasping the offense," Manning said of Nicks on Wednesday. "We just got to be smart and put him in there, make sure he knows what he can do so we can put him out there and play fast. He was running some routes and there's obviously certain routes we've thrown many times and read his body language and go over things. I think he's picked up things pretty quickly and hopefully he can come in and help us out."

The Giants have Odell Beckham, Jr. as their new "go-to" guy and Rueben Randle and Dwayne Harris have also made big plays this season. So how is Nicks going to fit in and contribute?

Sometimes players just have chemistry with one another, and Nicks and Manning have always had that. Manning said that even with a new offense and the fact that the two hadn't practiced together in two and a half years, some of that magic might still be there.

"That's the goal," Manning said. "There's obviously some things -- similar routes, similar things we've run many times. He knows how to do it. I don't know what the plan is on how much or where's he's going to be or what all the thoughts are but he practiced today and made some plays for us."

Reminded that Nicks was still only 27 years old, which is seven years younger than Manning, he said, "Yeah, he's young."

Let's see if there is an any fire left, or if it's just a lot of smoke.

Tags: Eli Manning
Larry Donnell likely to miss Sunday's game with a neck injury
New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) reception 1st quarter as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) defends at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is likely to miss Sunday's game against Washington due to a neck injury (Vacchiano, Nov. 25).

Donnell, who was cleared to resume football activities by team doctors on Monday, underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning and the Giants medical staff determined he was unable to practice.  

"I don't know too much. I don't really want to know," Donnell said when asked by reporters on Wednesday regarding the results. "I feel fine but obviously something is wrong."

Donnell, 27, originally hurt his neck in the Giants week 8 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He has 29 receptions for 223 receiving yards and two touchdowns this season. 

Tags: Larry Donnell , Tim Reilly
Scouting the Redskins: By the numbers
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

With game day nearing, we delve into the scouting report to break down the Giants' Week 12 opponent, the Washington Redskins

Here are some numbers that tell the story about Washington, including how they have fared so far in the 2015 season and the Giants' history against them…

3: The Giants registered 3 sacks against the Giants before the bye week, which was a season-high mark.

6: The Giants have 6 games remaining on their schedule, including two against NFC East opponents. Those six games are against opponents with a combined 34-26 record.

9: Washington's offense has turned the ball over at least once in 9 of 10 games this season. Since the Week 8 bye, the Redskins have turned the ball over seven times in three games, including five a week ago against Carolina.

9: Sunday could mark the season debut for former 2009 first-round pick Hakeem Nicks. Nicks ranks 9th all-time on the Giants' franchise receptions and receiving yardage list after five seasons with the team.

13: The Giants own a +13 turnover differential, which is tied with Carolina for the best mark in the NFL. The Giants have 23 takeaways, which is second to the Panthers' 25.

16: Giants quarterback Eli Manning is 16-6 in his career against the Redskins. He has thrown 25 touchdowns compared to 18 interceptions.

17: Washington's defense has notched 17 sacks this season. Ryan Kerrigan is responsible for 4.5 of those sacks. The Giants have allowed 15 sacks this season, good for the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

19: Washington is tied for fourth in the NFL with 19 turnovers on the season. Kirk Cousins has accounted for 10 of those turnovers via interceptions.

20: The Washington defense has allowed 20 touchdowns through the air this season, which is tied for third-most in the NFL along with Philadelphia. Last week, Cam Newton passed for a career-high five touchdowns against the Redskins.

28: Washington ranks 28th in total yards per game (332.8). The team ranks 20th in passing (237.5 yards per game) and 25th in rushing (95.3 yards per game).

47: Tight end Jordan Reed leads Washington with 47 receptions for 443 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. Reed is questionable for Sunday's game after sustaining a knee injury against the Panthers late last week.

Tags: Eli Manning , Washington Redskins , Sam Spiegelman
Giants could play in London in 2016
General view of Wilson NFL official Duke football at Wembley Stadium in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Giants could play a game in London in 2016 if they finish in the same place in the NFC East as the St. Louis Rams in the NFC West....

From the NFL:





The formula for the second game means that the Rams will face either the Philadelphia Eagles, who would be making their first regular-season trip to the UK, the Dallas Cowboys or New York Giants, who would be making return visits, or the Washington Redskins, who could become the first team ever to play in consecutive weeks in London.

The Miami Dolphins hosted the Giants in the first ever NFL regular season game played outside of North America at Wembley Stadium in London on Oct. 28, 2007. The Giants won the game 13-10.

New York has not played in the International Series since that inaugural game. 

Tags: Tim Reilly
Amukamara, Donnell, Thomas, Unga return; Pugh, Richburg do not
Oct 11, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) catches the game winning touchdown in front of San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

The Giants will be preparing for their six-game stretch run by getting several key contributors back from injury. CB Prince Amukamara (pec) and TE Larry Donnell (neck) are scheduled to practice in full on Wednesday.

Prince told reporters on Monday that he is "100 percent" and head coach Tom Coughlin also noted that Amukamara has received medical clearance to play, but would not put a percentage on his health. The Giants are next to last in passing defense and Amukamara's return can only help the besieged secondary.

"I think he can add a lot," Coughlin said when asked what Prince can bring to the defense. "He's a good player and he's demonstrated that over the years. He'll hang in there, he's done a nice job of that. Everybody gets beat on a route once in a while, but he hangs in there and he keeps battling away. He has a strong physical presence, so I think there's no doubt he'll add tremendously."

Paired with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is arguably having his best season as a pro, Amukamara's return can help balance out the coverage scheme. Coughlin commented that was the general thinking.

"I think that hopefully is what we're going to get, is outstanding play on both sides," he said.

Donnell is dealing with a neck injury that has caused him to miss the last two games. The Giants have had issues scoring touchdowns in the red zone, having the seventh-lowest red zone touchdown percentage, and Donnell's size is sorely needed in that area. LBs J.T. Thomas (ankle), who has missed three games, and Uani' Unga (neck) who has missed two, are also in line to return.

OL Justin Pugh (concussion) and C Weston Richburg (ankle) are unlikely to practice Wednesday and will be questionable this week. Pugh is in the league's concussion protocol and Coughlin said he could not give a timeframe until Pugh passes all the tests.

Richburg was injured in the New England game and did not return. He was replaced by Dallas Reynolds, who will start this week if Richburg can't. John Jerry will continue to fill in at LG for Pugh.

Stat of the Day

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is second in the NFL in making third down catches. Beckham has been targeted 33 times this season and caught 22 of them with no drops. He is behind only Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, who has caught 27 of 39 targets, also with no drops.

Tags: J.T. Thomas , Justin Pugh , Larry Donnell , Odell Beckham Jr. , Prince Amukamara , Uani' Unga , Weston Richburg , John Fennelly
Five things we want to see from the Giants after the bye week
New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle (82) gives New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) stiff arm after pass reception during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor)

At 5-5,the New York Giants still control their own fate as they enter the stretch run of the season.
Still leading the NFC East, the Giants return from the bye week with a game at Washington before a difficult four-game stretch that leads the team to its regular-season finale against Philadelphia. 
After the Week 11 bye, the Giants had a chance to retool and get healthy.
Here are five things we'd like to see from the Giants following the bye week:
A pass rush
The Giants enter Week 12 tied for last place in the NFL with 12.0 sacks. But in Week 10, the Giants seemingly pieced together their best pass rush of the season, sacking Tom Brady three times in a close loss. 
Jason Pierre-Paul also had a sack, but it was wiped away by a penalty. Nonetheless, it's an encouraging sign that Pierre-Paul is already making strides despite playing in two games, and the rest of the Giants' defensive line is stepping up to the challenge as well.
The Giants need a pass rush to win the NFC East and make noise in the playoffs. It's a blueprint that led the team to two Super Bowls over the past decade. As we saw early on in this season, a lack of a pass rush made the team wildly inconsistent and an easy stepping stone against superior teams.
Defensive reinforcements
The Giants opened the season with one of the better defenses in the league. However, as injuries began to force players out of the lineup, this rag-tag group began to falter.
This week, the Giants had a chance to make room for defensive reinforcements at multiple levels of the defense. Cornerback Prince Amukamara is back opposite of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Amukamara had been dealing with a pectoral tear and missed five games. He'll take over for Jayron Hosley in the starting lineup and be an upgrade against teams' No. 2 wideouts.
Additionally, J.T. Thomas (ankle) and Uani 'Unga (neck) should be back in the mix, too. Thomas has missed the last three games and Unga has missed the past two. 
In other words, nearly the Giants' entire starting linebacking corps was sidelined. With Thomas and Unga back, the front seven is again solidified and should help improve a rush defense that has struggled in recent weeks, allowing more than 100 yards in five of the last six games.
More Darkwa
The Giants have rushed for more than 100 yards twice in eight games, and no Giants running back has eclipsed 100 yards in a single game to date.
That needs to change if the Giants are going to find balance in their offense down the stretch. 
With a backfield comprised of Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa, Tom Coughlin must configure a plan in which the team has more success on the ground to set up play-action pass and control the time of possession. Otherwise, the Giants are going to continue to be predictable and inconsistent running the ball. 
Darkwa leads the team with a 4.7 yard per carry average, which is more than the Giants' team averages per carry (3.8), which is 27th in the NFL. The 23-year-old back has proven he's deserving of more carries as he fits what the Giants are trying to do offensively. 
Ereck Flowers' strong second half
The Giants' rookie left tackle is going to remain right where he has been all season since incumbent Will Beatty will not be returning to the field in 2015.
Thus far, Flowers has had a very … rookie type of season, with bright spots and blemished all alike. 
With some injuries nagging the Giants along the offensive line to Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, the team needs stability from other areas. One of those areas needs to be at left tackle.
Flowers needs to come out strong for the stretch run and protect Eli Manning from some talented edge rushers that the Giants are going to face over the final six games. 
Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said Flowers' technique is improving at practice, but it needs to translates to the games. After a week to continue to perfect his technique, Flowers needs to step up and play a pivotal role on this offensive line.
Rueben Randle being a true No. 2
Odell Beckham Jr. has enjoyed continued success his sophomore seasons. He ranks seventh in the NFL with 863 receiving yards on 63 receptions to go along with eight touchdowns.
And he might not be the most important receiver on the Giants.
We know what to expect out of Beckham - playmaking ability, outstanding catch-and-runs and a consistent threat to opposing defenses.
However, Beckham is susceptible to struggles when defenses blanket him.
Those defenses are unable to do so when Randle is at his best.
When Randle catches a touchdown, the Giants are 3-0. He's a perfect complement to Beckham's skillset, and with Dwayne Harris now the full-time starter in the slot and perhaps Hakeem Nicks finding a niche role in the offense, Randle needs to step up and be a true No. 2 option for Manning.
Randle has seen an uptick in targets. Six seems to be a magic number of sorts. When Randle is targeted six or more times, the Giants are 3-2. Not too shabby.


Tags: Ereck Flowers , Jason Pierre-Paul , Orleans Darkwa , Prince Amukamara , Rueben Randle , Uani' Unga , Sam Spiegelman
Rested Giants are ready for "six-game season" to begin
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin watches his players during the pregame warmup for their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

The New York Giants come out of their bye week in better shape than when they entered. At 5-5, they are currently one full game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins and two ahead of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.

The Giants' bye week came late this season, and in the NFL these days that is a blessing of sorts. If you are in position to make a run for the playoffs, a late bye can put you in the driver's seat.

"There were some fresh legs, that's for sure," head coach Tom Coughlin said when asked if his team came back recharged on Monday.

"Six-game season, that's exactly what it is," Coughlin surmised the immediate future. "Every game is a critical game. We are relevant and now we've got to do something about it. "Finish," that word we keep using, you've got to finish. We've got to be playing at our best in all three phases with no lapses, and that's where I'd like to see us go."

The six-game season begins this week in Washington, with a chance to put the Redskins two games behind them. Washington was annihilated by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, 44-16, and the Giants will attempt to kick them while they are down.

This is not the season to be looking past any opponent, but for the Giants, it doesn't matter. They've been competitive against every team but one, the Philadelphia Eagles, who they play in Week 17.

In between Washington and Philadelphia, they play the Jets at home, at Miami, Carolina at home and then Minnesota on the road. They are probably looking at eight wins at best. With Philadelphia in turmoil and Washington vulnerable, the Cowboys could get themselves back in the mix. QB Tony Romo is back and the Cowboys have stayed competitive without him, and will certainly be better with him. The Giants split their meetings with Dallas this season.

Tags: John Fennelly
GEICO SportsNite: NY Giants 00:01:40
Ralph Vacchiano reports from Giants camp as wide receiver Hakeem Nicks discusses his joy in returning to Big Blue.
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