Shawn Lealos

The Washington Redskins entered the 2015 NFL season with little expectations. They lost their starting quarterback and chose to move on, making Kirk Cousins their new signal caller. Washington finished 2014 with four wins and things looked bleak. However, they came out of Week 2 with a big win over the St. Louis Rams and find themselves in second place in the NFC East with a 1-1 record. Their opponent on Thursday Night Football in Week 3 is their division rival New York Giants, a team that had a nice lead in both of their games this season, but comes into this divisional game with a 0-2 record after failing to capitalize on their lead in both games.

Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants History

The Giants and Redskins have been rivals for years, playing each other for the first time in 1932. As the oldest rivalry in the NFC East, it may not be the flashiest, but it is always interesting. The Giants lead the series, 97-65-4, and the two teams have a combined seven Super Bowl trophies. However, neither team has seen much success the last two years. Since 2010, the Giants have beaten the Redskins in seven of 10 games and look to try to improve on that record on this week.

New York Giants Blowing Big Leagues

In the first game of the 2015 NFL season, the Giants went into the fourth quarter with a 16-13 lead over the Cowboys. At the start of the fourth quarter, they added a touchdown and went up 23-13 and it looked like they were going to win. Even after the Cowboys scored a touchdown to come within three again, NY added a field goal with just over a minute remaining. Dallas drove down the field, without their top receiver Dez Bryant, and scored a touchdown to win the game. In Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Giants led 20-10 to start the fourth quarter when the Falcons roared back and then drove down the field and scored a touchdown with just over one minute remaining to win. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that his team need to finish games. “I’ll keep score, and let you know when the game’s over. That’s not what happened.”

Washington Redskins Winning in the Trenches

When asked about the Redskins in their win over St. Louis, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said that it was all about the men in the trenches, comparing the Redskins offensive line to that of the Dallas Cowboys from 2014. In 2014, the Cowboys had the best offensive line in the NFL, with three Pro Bowlers and the 2014 NFL rushing leader running behind the line. Fisher said that, “Coach Callahan has done a great job with that offensive line,” referring to Bill Callahan, the man who served as the Cowboys offensive line coach in 2014 and moved to Washington in 2015. In the first game of the season, Alfred Morris of the Redskins ran for 121 yards and, in the second, Matt Jones ran for 123 yards. It’s clear that the rushing game is making up for lack of consistency at quarterback. Despite a 1-1 record to start the season, Washington first overall in rushing offense.

Kirk Cousins

The Redskins owner really wanted Robert Griffin III to step up and become the star that they hoped he would be when they drafted him from Baylor. However, another injury knocked him out for the start of the 2015 NFL season. Head coach Jay Gruden said that Kirk Cousins was now the starting quarterback, and would be until he proved otherwise. In two starts this season, Cousins has completed 75.9 percent of his passes for 399 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Cousins ranks a low 25th, but the Giants rank dead last against the pass, giving he Redskins an advantage in this game.

Eli Manning

If the Giants want to win this game, they have to take a big lead, and that falls on the shoulders on Eli Manning. The Giants two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback has an 89.0 passer rating, thanks to the fact that he has only thrown a total of two touchdown passes in the first two games of the season. Manning has also only completed 61.8 percent of his passes, but he is the key to winning. The Redskins will grind the ball and eat up the clock, much as Dallas did in 2014, so Manning and his top receiver Odell Beckham Jr. need to strike fast and hard if they want to win. Then, the Giants need to hold that lead to win the game.

Advantage

The New York Giants come into the Thursday Night Football game with a better team than the Washington Redskins, but they may not have the advantage. The Giants have led both the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons and then lost both games. If they take a big lead on the Redskins, like they did with Dallas and Atlanta, they will win the game. However, if the Giants stumble out of the gate, the Redskins can put them away and win on Thursday night. The Giants should win, but the Redskins can’t be counted out.

Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.