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September 14, 2021
Taylor Heineke Leads Washington vs Giants

Somehow, the NFC East won again. Despite being the NFL’s worst division, the Giants and Washington will be featured in Week 2 on Thursday Night Football. It should come as no surprise to anyone that both the Giants and the Football Team will enter Week 2 with identical 0-1 records. Both team’s suffered defeats in the opening week of the 2021 season, but Washington suffered an even bigger loss.

Washington will be without starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick after he suffered a hip injury in the second quarter of the team’s loss to the Chargers. Fitzpatrick was placed on injured reserve and won’t be available until later in the season. Taylor Heinicke, who started in the playoffs last year, took over and will start Thursday against the Giants. 

Heinicke was efficient if anything after replacing Fitzpatrick. He completed 11-of-15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown to TE Logan Thomas. Antonio Gibson (90 yards) led the Football Team to a total of 126 yards on the ground. A strong running game can help take some of the pressure off of Heinicke. 

While Heinicke deals with the Giants defense on Thursday, Giants QB Daniel Jones will have the tougher task. Jones and the Giants offense was not sharp in their debut against Denver. Jones went 22-of-37 for 267 yards and a touchdown, but he lost a fumble in the red zone when the Giants were down 20-7 in the third quarter.

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If New York expects to do anything on Thursday, they need to figure out their running game and do so quickly. The Giants welcomed back 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley last week, but he produced just 26 yards on 10 carries. Barkley missed most of last season with an ACL injury. Jones, who ran for 27 yards, ended up being New York’s leading rusher. His four-yard touchdown run on the game’s final play covered up the beat-down the Giants took from Denver all game long. If New York is unable to run the ball against Washington, things could get ugly for Jones and the rest of the offense.

If there is one thing that will keep Washington in games this season, it is their defense. The pass rush is relentless and the front seven is as good as any in the NFL. In last week’s loss to the Chargers, Washington held the Chargers to 90 yards rushing, sacked QB Justin Herbert twice, picked him off once, and forced him to lose a fumble in the Football Team’s end zone

Because of the defense, Washington typically is able to keep games close. In their last nine games, for example, the Football Team is 6-3 against the spread. They did not cover in Week 1 as they were a two-point favorite over the Chargers. LA turned out to be one of nine underdogs that won outright in Week 1. Washington is a three-point favorite this week.

The Giants are not normally bettor-friendly. They are only 1-4 ATS in their last five games and, of course, did  not cover in their 27-13 loss to Denver. However, what the Giants have done is perform well against Washington. New York has actually won the last five straight over the Football Team and they have covered the spread in four of those five games. 

When betting the NFC East, the division is so bad that it is hard to trust even a three-point home favorite. What is easier to fathom is wagering on the total, which has been more consistent in the last several Giants-Washington games. Of the last nine such games, the total has exceeded 43 points just twice. The Giants won the two games last season 20-19 and 23-20. The Under has hit in six of those last nine games with a record of 6-2-1. 

The Under is 9-0 in the Giants last nine games and is 10-1 in Washington’s last 11 games played on grass. A shaky Giants running game, Washington’s powerful defense, and a backup quarterback are why this total is so low at 41. They are also the reason why not a lot points will get put on the board on Thursday night. 


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