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5 things to watch as Giants face Commanders in Week 11 of 2023 NFL season

The Giants have been blown out in their last two games, but have a chance to steady the ship on Sunday as they travel to face a team they’ve already beaten this year in the Washington Commanders.

Tyrod Taylor’s two touchdown passes and a strong defensive effort enabled New York to hang on for a 14-7 win back in Week 7. Can Washington get their revenge this weekend?

Here are the biggest stories to watch...

Have the Giants hit rock bottom?

With a 30-6 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders and a 49-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the last two weeks, it’s worth asking whether things can get much worse for a Giants team that entered the season with plenty of optimism.

The Cowboys loss was arguably even worse than the scoreboard suggests, as New York was outgained by almost 500 yards but scored two second-half touchdowns to bring the final margin closer after the Cowboys took their foot off the gas.

This week should be a winnable game but there are already signs that the locker room might be starting to fracture in terms of some of the sideline interactions and postgame comments.

Can Tommy DeVito take some momentum from last week’s performance?

The Giants have yet to fully rally around their rookie quarterback, who looks likely to have to hold the fort for at least a few more weeks while New York waits for Taylor to return from IR.

However, after a rocky start, DeVito did at least manage to drive the Giants downfield for two touchdowns in the second half of last Sunday’s blowout loss. The Giants will be hoping that DeVito gained some confidence from these two drives and that he’ll be able to have some success against the Commanders.

Will New York be able to protect DeVito?

New York’s offensive line has struggled all year, especially against teams with elite pass rushing talent. However, they may be catching a break this week as they face a Commanders team that traded away their two best pass rushers – Montez Sweat and Chase Young – at the trade deadline.

Washington was only able to sack Geno Smith once during last week’s loss to Seattle and might find it more difficult to get to the quarterback than they did in the previous meeting between these teams now that Andrew Thomas is back in the lineup. If the Giants can keep DeVito's pocket clean, it will provide the ideal set of situations for him to build some confidence.

Can Big Blue get plenty of pressure on Sam Howell again?

The Giants entered the previous Commanders game last in the league in sacks, but Howell is the league’s most sacked quarterback -- and they sacked him six times in that game. The Commanders only gave up three sacks on Sunday against Seattle, though.

Kayvon Thibodeaux leads the Giants with 8.5 sacks, but he didn’t register any pressure against the Raiders and Cowboys. If he fails to record a sack on Sunday, it will be the first time he’s gone three games without one this season.

Azeez Ojulari made his return from injury last week, so hopefully New York’s pass rush will have an added dimension with him back in the lineup.

Will the Giants be able to slow down Brian Robinson?

Washington found a new element to its passing game on Sunday as Robinson, a running back, racked up 119 yards -- including a long touchdown on six catches against Seattle. This could be something they are keen to exploit again, so this will put the pressure on the Giants’ linebackers and safeties to make tackles in space.

Robinson had averaged fewer than 10 receiving yards per game in his career before Sunday’s game. It was his first time going over 50 yards, let alone 100. The Giants need to be wary of the Commanders using him in this way again, though.