What to Watch For: Giants at Redskins

The Giants look to end the regular season on a high note and gain some momentum as they head down to Landover, Maryland to face an 8=6-1 Redskins team that can help their playoff aspirations with a win. Here are three big storylines to keep in mind going into Sunday’s game.

1.      Can Eli Manning put together a turnover-free game, similar to his performance against the Detroit Lions, to give fans a little more confidence heading into Wild Card weekend?
Manning was flat-out terrible against the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday night, throwing just one touchdown to three interceptions and just over 350 yards.  He completed just over 50 percent of his 68 throws, and made a bunch of bad reads and throws all night.  He did throw two picks against the Eagles when the two rivals met in early November, making it possibly that the Philly secondary has Manning’s number, but his up-and-down play all season long is a concern heading into the playoffs.  Manning hasn’t thrown in an interception in only six games this season, and turnovers just won’t fly in the postseason, where every single mistake a player makes his amplified.  Giant fans need to hope that Manning, for however long he plays on Sunday, plays mistake-free football and throws the ball with some zip and accuracy.  If he can’t, then it could foreshadow the possibility of the Giants season may come to an abrupt end next weekend.

2.      How long will Ben McAdoo keep his starters in the game?
A head coach who is a week away from the playoffs always has a tough decision to make when it comes to resting players, and McAdoo’s situation is no different.  Sunday’s game against Washington doesn’t mean much for the Giants, who are locked in at the fifth seed, but a Washington win could keep them mathematically alive for the playoffs, which could be a big enough factor to get McAdoo to keep his starters in the game for all four quarters.  He has come out and said that he is playing to win the game and that he will play the starters the entire game at FedEx Field, but that remains to be seen if either team jumps out to a big lead against the other or a few players start getting injured. Although it may seem like a done deal since McAdoo said so, don’t bet on it. Football is an unpredictable sport, and things as well as minds kind be changed with every snap of the ball.

3.      Will the Redskins be able to sneak into the playoffs?
More than likely because they already are the sixth seed, and a win would certainly do the trick, but there is a scenario where teams behind them such as Tampa Bay could miraculously pass them for the sixth seed.  For this to happen, the Buccanners would have to beat the Panthers, the Cowboys would need to beat the Eagles, the Lions would need to beat the Packers and win the NFC North, the 49ers would need to beat the Seahawks, the Colts would need to beat the Jaguars, and the Titans would need to beat the Texans.  Oh, and by the way, the Redskins themselves would need to tie the Giants for a record of 8-6-2.  Tampa Bay would then be 9-7 with a win and would get in over the 9-7 Green Bay Packers and Redskins.  An unlikely scenario to say the least, but anything can happen.

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