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Washington Football Team vs Giants: Week 2 NFL preview

Two NFC East rivals in that the Washington Football Team and New York Giants will do battle Thursday night after ugly season-opening losses.

Washington fell at home to the Los Angeles Chargers with starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suffering an injured hip. Meanwhile, more mistakes from Daniel Jones doomed the Giants in a loss to the Denver Broncos. Below, we preview this Washington Football Team vs Giants Week 2 NFL matchup.

Washington Football Team vs Giants: What you need to know

Find out where Washington and New York stand in our most-recent NFL power rankings

Taylor Heinicke vs Daniel Jones

washington football team vs giants
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) is expected to miss multiple weeks, Taylor Heinicke will get the start Thursday night for Washington. This is pretty much a must win for Ron Rivera’s squad after an ugly Week 1 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Speaking of ugly losses, the Giants continued to kick themselves in the foot at home Sunday against the Denver Broncos. That started with Daniel Jones, who put the ball on the turf for the 30th time in his young career.

  • Fixing Daniel Jones: With the Giants driving in a 17-7 game this past Sunday, Jones fumbled deep in Denver’s territory. It led immediately to a field goal and a 13-point Broncos lead. This is just the latest example of the third-year quarterback being mistake prone. Jones is no longer a rookie. He can’t continue to make game-altering turnovers if the former first-round pick wants to be seen as a legitimate starter-caliber quarterback.
  • Taylor’s chance: We have to give this former undrafted free agent credit. Taking over under center in the playoffs last season after myriad injuries in D.C., Heinicke tallied north of 350 total yards and two touchdowns against the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wildcard round. The 28-year-old veteran will now be given his chance to prove his worth as a potential starter-caliber option.

Advantage: Washington Football Team

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New York Giants offensive line vs Washington Football Team pass rush

washington football team vs giants preview
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s questionable offensive line yielded two quarterback hits and two sacks of Jones in last week’s loss to the Denver Broncos. It wasn’t a horrible performance from this unit, but there’s still a lot of improvement that needs to be made.

As for Washington’s elite-level defensive line, it was not the consistent force we’ve seen in the past against Justin Herbert and the Chargers last week. It’s one of the reasons Herbert went for 337 yards in the Chargers’ win.

  • Chasing Jones: Chase Young was held in neutral against the Chargers, recording just three tackles and one tackle for loss without registering a sack. He’s the biggest cog in Washington’s defense, and needs to take his game to the next level if this team is going to repeat as NFC East champs. We simply did not see that Sunday afternoon in D.C.
  • Andrew Thomas’ improvement: The second-year player from Georgia was stellar in New York’s season opener, registering a 87.6 pass-protection grade. This comes after some major struggles from Thomas during the preseason. His ability to continue at this level in front of a mistake-prone quarterback is going to be vital for New York.

Advantage: Washington Football Team

Terry McLaurin vs James Bradberry

washington football team vs giants preview
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Targeted just four times in last week’s loss to Los Angeles, McLaurin caught all four. He also put up a catch-of-the-year candidate in a loss to the Chargers. Right there with Antonio Gibson as the most-important player on Washington’s offense, his performance Thursday will loom large.

As for James Bradberry, he needs to start living up to his contract. That was not the case in Week 1 with the veteran yielding six receptions on seven targets for an opposing 144.9 passer rating. Yuck!

  • Consistency out of McLaurin: Last season saw the third-year player put up north of 70 yards in 67% of his outings en route to him breaking through big time. He had a mere 62 yards last Sunday. In order for Washington to make up for the loss of Fitzpatrick, the youngster needs to step up.
  • Giants pass defense: New York yielded just 22 passing touchdowns a season ago. It was a surprisingly strong defense in this regard. That obviously wasn’t the case against Denver Week 1. Starting with Bradberry, this unit needs to improve. If not, the Giants are looking at a second consecutive loss to open the season.

Advantage: Washington Football Team

Bottom line: This Washington Football Team vs Giants matchup is incredibly big for both teams. While the NFC East remains weak, losing two consecutive to open the season wouldn’t be a good sign. We’re going to go with the home team to come away with the win on a short week.