Washington still in play for NFC East, hosts 1-7 Giants
Normally, holding a 2-5 record knocks a team out of contention for a division title, but that is not the case for the Washington Football Team due to its home in the NFC East.
Washington trails the 3-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFL’s weakest division and looks to build on its most impressive performance of the season Sunday afternoon when it hosts the New York Giants (1-7), an opponent struggling to win close games.
The teams play each other for the second time in three weeks.
Washington is two weeks removed from an impressive 25-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Washington outgained Dallas 397-142. Rookie Antonio Gibson ran for a career-high 128 yards while Kyle Allen was 15-for-25 with two touchdowns and 194 yards in his third start since replacing Dwayne Haskins.
Washington would be in a better position for the division’s top spot if not for what unfolded on Oct. 18 in East Rutherford in a 20-19 loss. Allen threw a 22-yard TD pass to Cam Sims with 36 seconds left but coach Ron Rivera’s gamble for a two-point try was unsuccessful.
“I don’t care if we’re 8-8 and getting into the playoffs. You’ve just got to be invited to the dance, and then we’ll see what happens,” Rivera said Monday. “We’ll see. Like I’ve said before, I’ve made it to the playoffs at 7-8-1 and people said we didn’t deserve to be there and we turn around and win our first playoff game and go on the road and scare the heck out of a good team. It doesn’t matter. However you can get in, get in.”
Rivera made the postseason with a losing record in 2014 as head coach at Carolina, defeating Arizona before losing to Seattle in the divisional round.
New York blew a 10-point lead before eking out the win over Washington. The Giants followed it up by blowing an 11-point lead in the final six-plus minutes of a 22-21 loss in Philadelphia on Oct. 22, and then blew another 11-point lead in Monday’s 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We’re not asking for moral victories,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “We know New York deserves better than that.”
New York has five losses by eight or fewer points and has led at some point in four of the defeats. On Monday, the Giants were derailed by quarterback Daniel Jones throwing two interceptions and continuing his problem of committing costly turnovers.
Jones has committed at least one turnover in every game and has thrown an interception in all but one game, giving him nine, which is the third-most in the league behind Carson Wentz (12) and Kirk Cousins (11).
Jones’ turnover problems are prompting a discussion about if he is the answer for New York, with former running back Tiki Barber going on WFAN and citing Jones’ mistakes as the only reason the Giants are not winning.
“I think those were costly mistakes for us that I have to continue to work on and improve,” Jones said.
Despite the interceptions, Jones was 25-for-41 Monday and threw a touchdown pass to Golden Tate in the final seconds before the Giants missed the two-point conversion.
Tate remained a Giant following Tuesday’s trade deadline. He was disciplined for complaining about his lack of touches in Monday’s game as the team made him stay home from Wednesday’s practice.
The Giants have won the past four meetings, including a 41-35 overtime victory in Washington on Dec. 22 after blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media