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

The Washington Commanders visit the New York Giants

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Washington Commanders were coming off their 6th win out of the last 7 games, and took it down to the wire vs the Atlanta Falcons. They now have a 7-5 record entering Week 13, and sit in the 7th seed for the NFC. This is Washington’s last game before they finally get a bye week, and then prepare for the home stretch, and hopefully a playoff berth.

There is a lot of football to play in this season, and this week the team faces the only division rival they haven’t played this year. The NFL schedule makers might have done Washington a favor by giving us a Giants-Bye-Giants set of games. This allows Washington to focus on the Giants for 3 straight weeks, and correct any issues that come up in the first game over the bye week. They also get the second game at home on a week’s rest.

Washington is coming into this game as a road favorite, and the line has moved from -1 to -2 since it opened. This is a 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

Daniel Jones is the New York Giants #2 rusher and it’s not even close. Saquon Barkley: 992 yards. Daniel Jones: 451 yards. Matt Breida: 112 yards. Any Washington fan knows that Jones has always been a problem with his legs when he plays us, and that’s one of the few ways this team is going to hurt Washington’s defense. The Giants offense has been pretty banged up at WR, and Jones passing hasn’t been lighting up the score board.

Jones might not have a lot of big-name targets, but he has still put up 2,165 yards over 11 games, and has 10 TDs through the air. He had his best passing game of the season two weeks ago against the Detroit Lions, putting up 341 yards, but he also doubled his INT total by throwing two picks.

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 33 times, averaging 3 sacks per game. He has also fumbled the ball four times this year, losing two. Washington will look to rattly Jones early, shut down the passing game, and force multiple turnovers.

Matchup 2: Slow down Saquon Barkley

Washington’s defense has been shutting teams down over the last 6 games, but that dam broke last week against the multi-headed running game of the Falcons. Atlanta rushed for 167 yards, while they only passed for 165 yards. Washington faces a similar offense this week with Daniel Jones only passing for more than 200 yards in 4 out of 11 games this season.

That puts the focus squarely on Saquon Barkley who has finally recovered from his ACL injury two years ago and has been averaging 110+ yards from scrimmage every week. Washington is allowing the 8th fewest yards per game in the NFL(108.4). They are also allowing the 13th lowest yards per carry in the league(4.4). The Falcons game dropped their averages down, but the defense is still getting the job done vs the run and will have to slow Barkley down to grind the Giants offense to a halt.

Matchup 3: Ball control football

Washington was matched up with a similar team in the Atlanta Falcons last week, but they still won the time of possession battle 33:09 to 26:51. Washington and Atlanta each had a turnover, with the Falcons tip-pick coming at the worst possible time for them as they attempted to take the lead late in the 4th quarter.

Washington comes into their first game against the New York Giants with the best time of possession average in the NFL(32:45). New York clocks in at #6(31:08). The Giants have a better turnover differential at +3. That is the result of giving up 4 interceptions and 10 fumbles, while taking away 5 INTs and 6 fumbles. Washington’s turnover differential currently sits at 0. Through 12 games the defense has 7 INTs and 7 fumble recoveries, and the team has given up 11 interceptions and 3 fumbles.