The Redskins have their eyes on an NFC East Division title, but need two victories against the New York Giants starting on Week 8 at Metlife Stadium, with the Giants making the trip to Washington on Week 14.
New York Key Additions: Signed OT Nate Solder, DE/OLB Kareem Martin, RB Jonathan Stewart, G Patrick Omameh, S Will Gray, S Michael Thomas, WR Cody Latimer, LB Alec Ogletree (via trade)
New York Key Subtractions: WR Brandon Marshall, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, G/OT Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, CB Ross Crockwell, QB Geno Smith, OLB Devon Kennard, G/OT D.J. Fluker, S Nat Berhe, WR/KR Dwayne Harris,
Washington's second matchup with the Giants could be critical if the Redskins want the NFC East Division title and a playoff appearance. The Redskins will be familiar with the Giants after playing them in Week 8, but Week 14 at FedExField is a possible challenge if New York's defense improves.
Losing two defensive backs and Jason Pierre-Paul hurts the defense from a leadership standpoint. Even with that experience, the Giants gave up the second most yards per game in 2017 with a 373.2 average.
While the Giants lost veteran players, they acquired Alec Ogletree from the Rams, gaining an active linebacker who finds the ball carrier. In five years, Ogletree has combined for over 100 tackles in three of his pro seasons and came up with 95 stops while scoring his second career touchdown off a 41-yard interception.
After ranking in the Top-10 in total tackles in 2016, Ogletree finished in the Top-30 in the same category while contributing to their first playoff appearance last season since 2004. Facing the Redskins last season, the former Georgia product had his second highest game tackle total with 11.
New York also brought in other veteran defensive experience in Kareem Martin. Playing four seasons for the Arizona Cardinals, the former North Carolina product has appeared in 56 games while totaling 56 tackles. Although Martin is listed at linebacker, he is known for adding defensive end depth and the Giants should benefit from this.
A potential playmaker on defense could come in the third-round pick Lorenzo Carter. The former Georgia outside linebacker is known as a hard-nosed edge rusher, potentially providing a need for New York's new 3-4 defensive scheme. Even though Carter's downside was his medical issues, his name could be one NFL fans know quickly if he can stay healthy.
The Giants had one of their best performances from a defensive standpoint in their final game of the season, resulting in an 18-10 victory over the Redskins. Not only did New York hold Washington to their lowest point total of the season, they also shut out the Redskins in the second half. Two sacks and three interceptions from the defense allowed the Giants to prevent any momentum during the New Year's Eve game and forced the 2017 season to end without a positive note for the Burgundy and Gold.
When New York held their opponents to 10 points or less in 2017, they won every game. In the last two seasons, the Giants hold a record of 10-1 whenever they prevented their opponents from scoring more than 20 points.
It's safe to say that when the Giants' defense is on point, they can cause headaches for opposing offenses. Alex Smith and co. would like to make sure that doesn't happen and defend home turf, like Washington did last year.