Washington entered the Week 7 meeting feeling good, looking to take advantage of a wounded New York team, but, as the Commanders often have done, started slow on both sides of the ball and went into halftime down 14-0.
There would be no Sam Howell comeback on this day, as Howell was sacked six times behind an offensive line that struggled on that day.
What does Washington need to do to pick up its fifth win?
We’ve identified four keys to victory for the Commanders in Week 11 vs. Giants.
Get Sam Howell off to a quick start
Sam Howell has been outstanding over the past three games. One of the common themes for Howell has been a fast start. In Week 7, Howell struggled, partly because the offensive line couldn’t handle the Giants’ pressure. Howell’s sack numbers have declined over the past three weeks, and if Washington can keep Howell protected, he could be in store for a big day.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy should ensure that Howell gets off to another fast start, using the quick passing game. One way to ensure offensive success is forcing the ball to star wide receiver Terry McLaurin. When McLaurin gets the ball, the results are usually great for Washington’s offense.
Stop Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley has had plenty of success against the Commanders. In Week 7, Barkley finished with 118 total yards and a touchdown. His impact opened things up for the Giants in the passing game, including for Barkley. When you are facing an undrafted free-agent quarterback in Tommy DeVito, selling out to stop the run is the right move. Don’t allow Barkley to have a big game because if he does, the Giants can win this game.
Cut out the big plays
In Week 7, the punchless Giants offense had seven plays of 20 yards or longer. That was with a backup quarterback, down multiple offensive line starters and no true threat at outside wide receiver. That can’t happen again. Some big plays in the passing game would give DeVito confidence, something the Commanders can’t allow to happen.
Throw the kitchen sink at DeVito
Tommy DeVito was forced into action. Obviously, that’s something the Giants had hoped to avoid. We often talk about Sam Howell’s sack rate from the first seven weeks, but let’s look at DeVito’s in the last three weeks. DeVito has started one game and played in relief in two others. He’s attempted 54 passes and sacked 13 times. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio must be aggressive early in coming after DeVito. This is a game where defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne should dominate up front.