The Redskins on Sunday take on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Giants.com's Michael Eisen (@giantseisen on Twitter) gives us an insider's look at the major storylines for the opposing team heading into the matchup.*
Redskins.com: The Giants were sitting at 3-2 after a Week 5 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, but then fell into a rut, losing their next seven games, including a 25-24 loss Week 13 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were finally able to put it all together last Sunday, however, in their 36-7 victory against the Tennessee Titans. Was that win a huge sigh of relief for the franchise?
Eisen: "Well it was huge, A., because it had been such a long time since we'd won, and, B., because really we could have won any of the previous four games. There was certainly a growing sense of frustration both among the players and the coaches just because we hadn't won. Tom Coughlin didn't want to use the word relief, but it sure felt good to win after such a long time without a victory."
Redskins.com:Odell Beckham Jr. has been on a tear since playing in his first-career game Week 5 against the Falcons, and, even as a rookie, is considered one of the top receivers in the game right now. He became
known worldwide after that spectacular one-handed touchdown grab against the Dallas Cowboys Week 7. How has Beckham Jr. responded to the added attention, and is he just scratching the surface of what he's capable of?
Eisen:"He's responded very well to it. He's working hard and I don't think it's gone to his head in any way. He certainly has received a lot of attention. He had dinner with LeBron James, which not every rookie gets to do.
Scratching the surface? I would certainly hope so. I don't know how much more he can do. Just as an example, he's caught 49 passes in the last six games. That's an NFL record for a rookie. The record he broke was his own which was 42 in the previous six games. If he hadn't missed the first four games with a hamstring injury, he might be leading the league in receptions."
Redskins.com:New York has ramped up the intensity on defense the past couple weeks, recording 15 sacks during that timespan after getting only 19 sacks in their first 11 weeks of the season. To what do you attribute the Giants' improvements in their pass rush?
Eisen: "I think they were just dissatisfied with the pressure they had when placing. I think they're sending more blitzers. Devon Kennard, who by the way was just named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, he's got four sacks in the last two games. No Giants rookie linebacker has ever done that. They're getting more people involved in the pressure. Jason Pierre-Paul has played really well the last two weeks. I just think really it's a commitment. I think they got tired of hearing they can't rush the passer so they went out and started rushing the passer."
Redskins.com:Eli Manning hasn't had a bad season by any means, but he hasn't turned in the Top-5 or even a Top-10 quarterback performance that he would likely expect. What has been the theme of Manning's season to this point of the year?
Eisen: "First of all, I don't think Eli cares about his stats. This year, he's in a new offense and the idea was to get his completion [percentage] up, which it is. I think he could finish with his highest completion percentage. He probably has not played at times as well as he would like, but he hasn't really gotten help sometimes. He hasn't had Victor Cruz basically all year. The offensive line has been banged up. He hasn't protection. Rashad Jennings, his top running back, has missed four games.
I think the thing with Eli, he plays very well for most of the time. He's really just been making that big mistake every game. We would have had a shutout last week but Eli threw a bad interception. So I think he's had a good year, but not a great year."
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