It’s week two of the NFL season and we’re headed to our nation’s capital for a Thursday night showdown between the Washington Football Team and New York Giants today (8:20pm ET; TV: Live on NFL Network).
For the second straight week, the NFC East will be on display in the NFL’s Thursday night contest. In the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys played the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers tough, but ultimately fell just a little short. This week, an NFC East team is guaranteed a win when the Giants travel to DC to face the still unnamed Washington Football Team.
Both New York and Washington lost their week one matchups against the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers respectively. While Washington played well against a Chargers team that is expected to be a playoff contender, the Giants struggled against a mid-level Denver team. Both teams walked away with a week one loss though, and will look to turn their seasons around in this week two divisional matchup.
Read on for our preview of this NFL matchup, with predictions and betting picks at the end.
Washington’s Quarterback Situation
By now, everyone knows the story. Recovering from a leg injury that not just nearly took his leg but also his life, Alex Smith returned to the field in 2020. He went on to win Comeback Player of the Year as he led Washington to an NFC East Championship and playoff appearance. The Washington Football Team faced the tough task of hosting the Buccaneers and while they lost, the season was still largely a successful one. Heading into 2021, the QB situation in Washington is drastically different. In fact, it’s drastically different in week two than it was in week one.
Washington, knowing their chances to win the NFC East were as good as anyone else in the division, went with an established quarterback to lead them. The team went out and got Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose track record speaks for itself. Fitzpatrick is a long-time journeyman of the league and would have been a stable addition to a Washington team that has a lot of its other pieces in place. But after just a few minutes and even fewer plays, Fitzpatrick’s season was over before it really began. The veteran sustained a hip injury that caused the Football Team to change course. Taylor Heinicke stepped in to finish the game and played well, but didn’t fully inspire confidence in a long-term starting job. That said, Washington’s depth chart behind Fitzpatrick is slim so it’s time for the team to see what they have in Heinicke and if he’s someone who can move their season forward.
Daniel Jones’ Unbeaten Streak
Speaking of QB question marks, the Giants have a big one in Daniel Jones. Jones has been in the league a few years now but hasn’t quite shown the level of improvement that New York has been hoping. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Giants look to elsewhere at the position in a coming draft. In the meantime, Jones is the guy under center and for all his struggles, there is one notable fact relating to the man’s Giants’ career. He has yet to lose a game against the Football Team. Not only is Jones undefeated against Washington but he has also played some of his best games against New York’s divisional rival.
While normally turnover prone, Jones has protected the ball well against Washington, despite the pressure put on him by the Football Team’s defensive line. Washington has real talent at the position and may be even better this year than in the past. Jones will need to continue finding a way to protect the ball while using his legs to his advantage if he wants to keep his winning streak going.
Fortunately, this season, he won’t be alone as the Giants have returned standout Saquon Barkley to the roster. Barkley may be Jones’ biggest asset. A strong running game takes some of the pressure off Jones and will hopefully allow him to make better decisions under pressure. That said, Barkley was slow to start last week which left Jones holding the bag yet again. Coming off an injury is never easy so it may take a few weeks for Barkley to get back to his rookie sensation form. In the meantime, the Giants will just need Jones to make better decisions with the football.
Our Betting Preview’s New York Giants vs Washington Football Team Predictions & Picks Recommendations
Looking back on the week one slate of games and the early paths of Washington and New York seem to tell a different story. The Football Team played a tough game against a good team and came just a few missed plays away from winning despite having their backup QB in place.
The Giants meanwhile, are still muddling around. The NFC East is well within reach for any team, even the Giants. But they’ll need to turn things around soon. Playing Washington on the road won’t be an easy task though especially given the strength of the team’s defense.
New York may have had Washington’s number of late but Ron Rivera is rounding his team into a solid unit and that winning streak could be in jeopardy. Washington has a strong red zone defense which was on display last week and a lot of other pluses in their column. Add to the fact that they are at home and it’s all a formula for Washington to get a big win tonight. So, coming to the picks, these are our betting predictions for this NFL game:
- Take Washington -3.5pts on the spread with the stateside bookmakers. The best odds for this option are +100 (evens) with Intertops. It is -105 with Bovada and BetOnline.
- Go under 40.5 total points at -107 with BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.