Let me preface by saying that, YES, I am a Giants fan. Disgruntled and frustrated just like the rest of Big Blue Nation. I continuously wonder each week which team is going to show up as the term “two-face” perfectly describes this team. Looking back, it’s no stretch that this team could be 8-3 or even 9-2; playing for a first-round bye rather than fighting for a pathetic division.
Last week, the Giants had a golden opportunity to put a strangle-hold on the NFC East. However, they decided to complicate things with a sub-par performance in a 20-14 loss to the Redskins. It’s pretty safe to say, at this point, that the division will come down to the Giants and Redskins; who have split their two division games. With five games to go, it seems more likely that the Redskins will come out as the winner of the mediocre NFC East. Here’s why:
Both the Redskins and Giants are tied at 5-6 atop the division with five games to go. Here are the remaining schedules for both teams unlabeled: (@Jets, @Dolphins, Panthers, @Vikings, Eagles) AND (Cowboys, @Bears, Bills, @Eagles, @Cowboys). Which schedule would you rather have? The seemingly easier of the two would be the second group; which is the Redskins’ remaining schedule. They both have three road games left (technically the Giants are playing on the road at their own stadium against the Jets) but the Redskins have the easier slate. All remaining games for Washington are winnable. The games against the Vikings and Panthers don’t bode well for the Gmen. Also, the Redskins still have three games against division opponents to the Giants’ one; giving them the chance at locking up the better division record in case of a tie-breaker. Advantage definitely goes to the Redskins here.
As we just covered the remaining schedules of both teams and who has it seemingly easier, it becomes more apparent that team defense will play a big role. The Redskins are ranked close to the bottom in the league (22nd) in total defense while the Giants are dead last (32nd) in the league. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Giants, harder remaining schedule and worst total defense, should have the tougher time down the stretch.
Here’s the stats that blow my mind. The Giants have the most redzone plays at 175 and the Redskins have 132. QB rating in opponents’ redzone: Washington is second in the league at 111.9 while the Giants are 28th in the league at 76.3. Also, redzone scoring (TD only), the Redskins are 58% while the Giants are 43%. If you can’t score TD’s then you just aren’t a very good team and don’t deserve to win football games.
What’s staggering and worth mentioning is that the Giants are actually +9 in the give/take while Washington is -2. What it boils down to is that the Giants just aren’t playing good football. They are just squandering opportunities to win football games and that stat alone is the biggest of all.
With these stats and knowing what we know about the remaining schedule, how could you NOT think that the Redskins are going to win this division. Momentum and getting hot at the right time can do wonders; just ask the Giants as they are the poster-child team for doing it. But, Washington, after beating the Giants last week, have I think given themselves the momentum and confidence as favorites to win the NFC East.