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Washington Commanders vs New York Giants Preview: 3 matchups to watch

The Washington Commanders host the New York Giants

NFL: Washington Commanders at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders are back in the driver’s seat for the playoffs and currently sit in the 6th seed in the NFC and have a 7-5-1 record. Their opponent on Sunday Night Football, the New York Giants, also has a 7-5-1 record, and are holding the 7th seed...for now. The Commanders and Giants played two weeks ago in New Jersey, and that game ended in a 20-20 tie. Washington got their late bye week, while New York was blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles, 48-22.

Washington is coming into this game as a home favorite, and the line has stayed at 4 12 since the line opened. This is another huge game for both teams, and has massive playoff implications for the NFC. You can check out the odds for this one courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Matchup 1: Daniel Jones vs Washington’s defense

Stopping Daniel Jones was our #1 matchup last week, and it continues to be this week. Jones seems to always look like Michael Vick when he plays Washington, and he was the Giants leading rusher again in Week 13. Jones rushed for 71 yards, while throwing for 200, and throwing 1 TD.

Jones might not have a lot of big-name targets, but he has still put up 2,530 yards over 13 games, and has 12 TDs through the air. He had his best passing game of the season a month ago against the Detroit Lions, putting up 341 yards. Since then he has faced the Cowboys, Commanders, and Eagles and averaged 199 years per game.

Jones will make mistakes with the ball in his hands, and Washington’s pressure up front is going to be a problem for him all day long. He has been sacked 41 times, averaging over 3 sacks per game. He has also fumbled the ball five times this year, his last fumbling coming against Washington. The Commanders will look to rattle Jones early again, but they need to contain him on the ground.

Matchup 2: Washington’s OL vs New York’s DL

Washington’s offensive line has been dealing with injuries since last season with Chase Roullier and Tyler Larsen both lost last year. Both of the centers came back this year, but they are once again on IR with season-ending injuries. Wes Schweitzer missed 9 games due to a concussion this year, but has returned and will slide over to play center vs the Giants.

New York’s pass rush was an issue for Taylor Heinicke and the Washington Commanders offensive line two weeks ago. Scott Turner will have to scheme to buy his QB more time, but Giants DC Wink Martindale will not make that easy. Heinicke was sacked 5 times during the last game which was his highest total for the season. He was constantly under pressure and getting hit hard multiple times. If that happens again on Sunday night we risk seeing Carson Wentz under center for Washington again.

Matchup 3: Red Zone offense

The Taylor Heinicke-led offense isn’t going to be high scoring. They have relied on their defense to keep the opposing team’s scoring down. Washington’s running game has changed since Brian Robinson returned and then even more when he got his game legs back under him. The offense is averaging 20.7 points scored per game with Heinicke under center. The defense is averaging 17.3 points allowed per game.

If you listen to a few Ron Rivera pressers you will hear him talk about missed opportunities on the field. A lot of the time he mentions plays from the red zone. He has talked about taking the next step in scoring, and actually beating teams by more than 1 score. That didn’t happen during the first Giants game. Washington’s red zone issues have been ongoing(hi Special Teams Player of the Month Joey Slye).