Three keys to a WFT victory against the Giants on Thursday Night Football


The Washington Football Team look to pick up their first victory of 2021 against the New York Giants on Thursday NIght Football (Photo credit: Dan Benton)

By Gibson Hirt

After dropping their season opener to the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, the Washington Football Team will look to rebound on short rest against an already struggling New York Giants squad on Thursday night. While Sunday’s performance against the Chargers wasn’t horrible, it was still disappointing for fans to watch the comedy of mistakes and a lack of pass rush sink Washington in Week 1. With Ryan Fitzpatrick on the mend for at least a few weeks, Taylor Heinicke is set to take on the role of starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. Despite their recent misfortune, Washington has a good shot of beating the Giants — who are coming off of an uninspiring 27–13 loss to the Broncos — on Thursday. 

Here are three keys to victory against the Giants in Week 2:

Limit mistakes

Costly turnovers and bad penalties plagued Washington in Week 1. A fumble by Antonio Gibson in the fourth quarter gave L.A. the ball back inside Washington’s 20 yard line, where the Chargers took the lead almost immediately. On the ensuing drive, a hold by Cameron Cheeseman on punt coverage all but clinched a Chargers victory. While New York’s offense is not exactly anything scary, Washington still cannot afford to give them free possessions. Playing clean football is a necessity if Washington wants to capture their first victory of the season.

Get into the Giants backfield and pressure Daniel Jones 

Daniel Jones is a walking turnover. After two seasons in the league, Jones has thrown 22 interceptions and fumbled a ridiculous 29 times, losing 18 of them. Jones lost a fumble this past Sunday, marking his 25th career game with a fumble or an interception. For context, Jones has appeared in 28 career games, so he’s either fumbled or thrown an interception in just over 89% of his games. Despite a decent performance against Denver, this Giants offensive line is still subpar and one of the worst in the league. Washington should easily be able to generate pressure on Jones and force at least one turnover. The Giants rushing attack was also relatively modest, as Saquon Barkley struggled to get himself going in his first game back from a torn ACL versus the Broncos and didn’t look anywhere near his usual explosive self; should he suit up for Thursday’s contest, Barkley will still likely see limited playing time as he continues to ease back into game action, meaning that the Giants rushing attack is far from daunting. After a down performance from the Washington front seven in Week 1, a dominant performance is expected on Thursday night, especially against a weak Giants offensive line and offense as a whole. 

Get Terry McLaurin involved 

In Sunday’s defeat to the Chargers, McLaurin only received four targets, hauling in all of them. One of those four catches was an incredible spinning catch that made fans ask “How?” While Heinicke’s unexpected entrance may have played a role in the minimal number of passes thrown, McLaurin absolutely deserves to see more than four targets. James Bradberry, a top five cornerback, will most likely be guarding McLaurin on Thursday night. Even with Bradberry guarding McLaurin, Heinicke should still look for him as his primary option every time he runs a route. Heinicke needs to trust McLaurin to do what he does best — sharp route running and tough pass catching — and give him as many chances to catch the ball as possible. McLaurin is too vital to Washington’s offense to receive as little volume as he did this past Sunday.

The season has only just begun, but Washington certainly doesn’t want to find itself in an 0–2 hole. As long as they can make life difficult for Daniel Jones and limit mental mistakes, they’ll be in great shape to pick up a needed win on short rest.