The New York Giants are making significant personnel changes ahead of Thursday night's game against Washington. New York plans to start Billy Price at center and will move Nick Gates over to left guard, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan.
Along with center, Gates has previously seen time for the Giants at right guard and left tackle. During his first start at guard, Giants running back Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and two scores in a 2019 win over Miami. One of the team's captains for the 2021 season, Gates played in each of the Giants' offensive snaps without allowing a sack during the 2020 season.
Price was acquired via a trade with the Bengals on August 30. A former standout at Ohio State, Price was the 21st overall pick in the 2018 draft. After starting 10 games at center during his rookie season, Price started eight games at left guard in 2019. Price, who battled through injuries during his time with the Bengals, made just one start during the 2020 season. He is coming off of a solid preseason that saw him make marked improvement in pass protection.
New York is looking to improve on last week's underwhelming offensive totals that included just 60 yards on 20 rushing attempts. Barkley ran for just 26 yards on 10 carries, while quarterback Daniel Jones served as the Giants' leading rusher with 27 yards on six rushing attempts. In a 27-13 home loss to the Broncos, New York's offense tallied just 19 first downs, 314 total yards and were just 1 of 3 in the red zone. They also controlled the ball for less than 25 minutes, as the Broncos churned out 420 total yards of total offense.
The Giants' offense will face a Washington defense that allowed 27 first downs and 424 total yards in its 20-16 Week 1 loss to the Chargers. While Washington's defense allowed the Chargers to gain just 90 yards on 29 carries (a 3.1 yards per carry average), they struggled to contain quarterback Justin Herbert, who threw for 337 yards on 31 of 47 passing. Los Angeles allowed two sacks on Herbert but did not allow reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young to make a significant impact on the game.
Washington is a 3.5-point favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook, with the over/under set at 41 points. New York swept its season-series with Washington last season, with Jones completing 66% of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception in those games.