The Washington Football Team is gearing up for its final game of the 2021 season with a road matchup against the New York Giants. Here are three keys to the game, presented by Van Metre.
1. Get production from its depth.
Head coach Ron Rivera made it clear during his Monday press conference that Washington will be playing to win against the Giants. The team is going to set a tone and put itself in position to finish the season 7-10. The other priority for Washington will be to get a better look at its depth.
"You want to play to win, but you also want to play for the future," Rivera said. "So, we are going to set ourselves up, you know, see what happens and try and set some sort of tone and temple early on, and then we'll go from there."
Some of Washington's younger players like Jaret Patterson, have already seen an increase in their roles. Patterson received his first start against the Philadelphia Eagles and finished with 98 total yards. John Bates has also played well and is only pace to finish the year with half the number of catches he made in his entire college career.
Other players like Dyami Brown, who has made impressive catches in the last two weeks, will have more opportunities against the Giants. Sammis Reyes, primarily a special teams player, could also see an increase in snaps, although he is questionable for Sunday's game. And while Jamin Davis is not considered a depth player, he should receive more snaps than the 13 he got last week.
2. Take advantage of Jake Fromm's inexperience.
The Giants' quarterback situation has taken a couple hits in recent weeks. Daniel Jones was placed on Injured Reserve and is done for the year, while backup Mike Glennon has been ruled out with a broken wrist. That leaves second-year pro Jake Fromm to line up under center for the season finale.
Fromm's limited stats have been underwhelming in two games. He's completed 41% of his passes for 107 yards and tossed a pick. Against the Eagles in Week 16, he completed just six passes for 25 yards.
This should be an opportunity for defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and Washington's defense to dial up pressure on the Giants. The Eagles seemed to try a similar approach and had success with it. According to Pro Football Reference, Fromm was pressured on 36.4% of his dropbacks and was sacked two times. PRF also determined that 43.8% of his passes could be considered poor throws.
Washington's front certainly has the talent to achieve that, so it could be a chance for the defensive line to finish strong after an up and down season.
3. Finish drives in the end zone.
Washington moved the ball well in the first half against the Eagles with all four of its drives ending with points on the board. The team held onto just a 16-7 lead entering the third quarter, though, and that's because it had to settle for field goals.
Joey Slye performed well once again, as he has yet to miss a field goal attempt since signing with Washington. However, his three kicks were slightly disappointing after Washington had moved the ball so well. After taking a 7-0 lead, Washington marched down to the Eagles' 22-yard line before stalling. Once the Eagles got on the board to make the score 10-7, a sack stymied another promising Washington drive and left Slye to kick a 39-yarder three plays later.
Washington jumped out to a lead in both games against the Eagles, only for them to come back in both instances. In order to avoid that in Week 18, the offense must make sure drives end in the end zone instead of through the uprights.