This is going to be a Washington Redskins team that comes into MetLife Stadium on Sunday hungry and desperate, knowing full well that a loss might doom them in the NFC East.
Despite their 0-2 record to start the year, the Redskins are far from a bad team. This is the same group that won the division last year and returned the vast chunk of their core. They came into 2016 as favorites to win the NFC East and can rectify their season and still justify those preseason predictions. But if they can’t get a win in Week 3 at the New York Giants on Sunday then this season could take a bad turn.
And Washington knows it.
“I think it's a tough hole to be in if you're 0-3, but we're not thinking about 0-3. 1-2 is all we can think about. We try to be positive and upbeat” Washington head coach Jay Gruden said this week in a conference call with the New York media.
“We're going to do whatever we can to try to get this W. If it does happen, then we'll deal with that when it happens. But right now, we're 0-2 and we're expecting great things this week.”
Despite the struggles of quarterback Kirk Cousins, much maligned this year for his three interceptions in two games, the offense is moving the ball well through the air.
The Redskins do boast dangerous targets in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon along with tight end Jordan Reed, who Giants head coach Ben McAdoo called this week “an elite tight end.” Washington is third in the league in passing yards but eighth worst in running the ball.
While inconsistencies have plagued the Redskins they are a dangerous team. Even more than that, they are a group that must win this weekend or face an uphill battle to make the playoffs let alone repeat as divisional champions.
The Giants swept the season series in 2015 between these two teams. The Redskins have lost six straight games to the Giants, their last win coming in Week 13 of the 2012 season.
“We have an opportunity to host the division champs this week. As we all know, when we play these games, these rivalry games, you can throw the records out the window. They’re a very good, talented football team,” McAdoo said.
“Their offense is creative. It’s multiple. Cousins is coming off of an outstanding 2015 season. They have a fast and dynamic perimeter group with Jackson, Garcon and Reed. Jones is a physical runner, big physical back. He fits well behind their big tackles and guards. Their center does a nice job getting everything lined up and directing traffic upfront.”