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Week 3 Preview: Redskins at Giants

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The Sports Xchange

Washington Redskins (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2)

Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson

*Keys to the game: Rams coach Jeff Fisher called it “Dallas all over again” after watching the Redskins rush for 182 yards on 37 carries while holding more than a 15-minute time-of-possession advantage in Washington’s Week 2 victory. Redskins coach Jay Gruden stuck to the run even in second- and third-and-long situations and vowed to continue that approach to take advantage of a physical offensive line. Rookie RB Matt Jones has earned a tandem role with Alfred Morris in the backfield, and the run-heavy approach also served to take pressure off QB Kirk Cousins last week. The Giants want to flip that script with a stout defensive run helping to limit opponents to 68 rushing yards per game thus far – although that would lead to Cousins taking aim at the league’s 32nd-ranked pass defense.

Gruden also acknowledged his staff will pick the brain of Redskins defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, who used to be the Giants’ defensive coordinator. Giants coach Tom Coughlin has plenty of issues to address internally before he concerns himself with Fewell insider trading. The offense has self-destructed in the fourth quarter in both losses, from delay of game penalties to embarrassing clock mismanagement. QB Eli Manning is completing 61.8 percent of his passes, but the stated goal is to be far closer to 70. Washington aims to be physical on both sides of the ball and the solid run defense will likely force the brunt of the offense onto Manning’s arm.

*Matchup to watch – Redskins RT Morgan Moses vs. Giants LDE Cullen Jenkins: Gruden named Jenkins as a leader of the Giants’ run defense, and the veteran will be regularly engaged with the second-year man Moses, who can be a mauler against the run but is still very green in pass protection.

*Player spotlight – Giants WR Dwayne Harris: With Preston Parker released and Victor Cruz (calf) a longshot to return this week, Harris – known for his prowess as a return man – is expected to log the majority of the slot snaps.

*Fast facts: The Redskins owned the ball for 37:44 in Week 2 after holding it for 37:54 in Week 1 against the Dolphins — the first time they have topped 37-plus minutes of possession in back-to-back games since 1992. … The Giants are the first team in NFL history to blow double-digit leads in losing their first two games of the season.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The messages from the head coaches were starkly different this week, with the Giants’ Tom Coughlin addressing a constant slew of mentor errors from his team while the Redskins’ Jay Gruden is riding the wave from a physical beat-down of the Rams. With their season already on the line, the Giants’ focus benefits from the pressure and New York battles hard for a critical home win.

*Our pick: Giants 20-19


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