Thanksgiving Day football: Streaming, how to watch; Redskins try to bounce back vs. Giants
After an epic collapse against the Saints, the Redskins are hoping to right the ship
The Redskins and Giants are two of three NFC East teams playing on Thanksgiving Day, and both teams come into this game limping in different ways. For the Giants, they've essentially lost a leg and are hobbling along waiting for the season to end, although they are coming off of a shocking upset of the Chiefs. On the Redskins' side, it's like someone took a hammer and whacked their leg with it, as they had the streaking Saints in the palm of their hand but couldn't close the game out.
The Redskins, now 4-6, will be squaring off against the 2-8 Giants at home, so at least the confines are friendly. The game is the final one of the three-game Thanksgiving slate, and Kirk Cousins is coming off of a very good showing against New Orleans that just didn't end favorably. He threw for 322 yards, three touchdowns and didn't throw any picks. Although the Redskins are on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff picture, the sixth-seed race is tight. The Lions and Falcons (6-4) and Cowboys and Packers (5-5) all have first bids now, but nothing is impossible, particularly when teams are limping like the Cowboys and Packers are due to losing their stars.
For their win against the Chiefs, the formula was simple for the Giants. Create pressure and mitigate gains. Obviously easier said than done, but the Giants got the normally cautious Alex Smith to throw two interceptions and forced him to throw the ball 40 times, undermining the normal Chiefs' game plan. Orleans Darkwa ran for 74 yards, and Kareem Hunt was kept in check. With the Redskins losing Chris Thompson for the season, the Giants should expect a heavy dose of rookie Samaje Perine. Perine ran for 117 yards against the Saints, so bottling him up is no easy feat. This is another game for the Giants that could easily turn into a running slugfest, and whoever wins in the trenches could come out on top.
How to watch, stream
Date: Thursday, Nov. 23
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field -- Hyattsville, Maryland
Channel: NBC (check local listings)
Stream: Watch NBC
Is Samaje Perine that good?
Losing Chris Thompson is a potentially devastating loss for the Redskins, make no mistake, but Perine ran all over an admittedly injured Saints defense. He looked comfortable carrying the ball, but he had only one catch for nine yards. Losing Chris Thompson's receiving out of the backfield could be huge for the Redskins.
Perine was overshadowed at Oklahoma by fellow 2017 draftee Joe Mixon, the controversial running back that was drafted by the Bengals. Always known as a hard worker, he's getting a chance to prove himself now. However, in today's NFL, running backs need to double as receivers, which is where Perine will be tested.
The Giants are currently 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up over 1,300 yards. With that in mind, the Redskins should lean heavily on Perine early and often. The Giants are also 29th against the pass, so the Redskins will be looking to have their way against a defense that has struggled mightily all season.
Josh Doctson also had a big game against the Saints, picking up 81 yards on four catches. He's caught only 19 passes on the season for 400 yards, but he's ramped it up the last few weeks. He's proven to be a reliable vertical threat, one that Cousins can use often.
Jamison Crowder and, bizarrely, Vernon Davis are also having solid seasons for the Redskins, so expect to see Cousins spread the ball around against the Giants as the Redskins begin to open up the playbook while the game unfolds.
So where was this Giants defense?
This year has been, in a word, absurd for the Giants. A team with borderline Super Bowl aspirations returning its entire talented defense is 31st in total defense, ahead of the New England Patriots (because we all predicted that too). Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have both spent time suspended this year, and they just didn't seem to care.
So what happened against the Chiefs? The Giants won 12-9 in overtime, gave up 230 yards through the air, held Kareem Hunt to 73 yards, and swarmed every attempt the Chiefs made to get their backfield involved in the passing game. Only Travis Kelce, outside of a truly, truly horrible pass, was able to get rolling against the Giants.
Was this team there the whole time? Did the Chiefs have a bad day? Well they need to figure it out quickly. The Redskins' offense is seventh in the league in passing and ninth in total offense, and Cousins has proven that he is, if nothing else, consistent. Jay Gruden has called good games, the Redskins have just shown some flashes of extraordinarily bad luck this season.
The Giants need to swarm the ball to beat the shifty Redskins' offense, and they showed that they can do so. Landon Collins remains one of the best safeties in football, and the Giants recorded multiple turnovers against a protective (some say to a fault) KC offense. If the Giants can force some mistakes, then this game promises to be close. Never mind the x-factor here that we're on a shortened week.
Who's eating turkey?
In spite of the momentum favoring the Giants, Pete Prisco has the Redskins winning on Thanksgiving. It should be a tough, gritty game, but when one team is fighting for its life, it's more difficult to pick against them than the team that's already dead in the water. Crazy enough, should the Giants pull off the upset they'd be a mere game back of the Redskins in the standings.
The Giants showed some life last week in upsetting the Chiefs. I expect them to be feisty here too against their division rival. The Redskins need to win here to have any real playoff shot. The Giants will make it close, but Washington finds a way.
Pick: Redskins 20, Giants 17
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