Daily Press (Sunday)

Commanders try to gain ground in division, visit last-place Giants

- By Tom Canavan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Washington Commanders and New York Giants entered the season with the goal of closing the gap on the perennial frontrunne­rs in the NFC East, the Philadelph­ia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

Inching toward the halfway point and with a game against New York at MetLife Stadium up next today, the Commanders (3-3) are a lot closer to success than the offensivel­y inept Giants, who have lost four straight and dropped to 1-5.

There’s a lot at stake for both teams. Washington finished only a game out of a playoff spot a year ago — and that was in large part due to being 0-1-1 in its two games against New York.

The Giants, who made the playoffs a year ago with a 9-7-1 mark, are in must-win territory. Only three teams since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 have started 1-5 and made the postseason. Only the ’70 Bengals started 1-6 and got to the playoffs.

“We may be 1-5, but it’s a long season ahead of us and we’ve lost only one divisional game,” Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke said. “So it’s just getting that urgency, it’s not wholesale changes. It’s just doing the little things even better. If we can get a win in our back pocket, we can start rolling.”

Both teams played well last week. The Commanders beat the Falcons in Atlanta to snap a three-game losing streak, while the Giants played their most complete game of the season in dropping a 14-9 decision at Buffalo on Sunday night.

Commanders coach Ron Rivera is expecting another good game from New York since it involves another NFC East team.

“I think that’s probably the biggest one more than anything else,” he said. “It’s a divisional game and you’re going to play against your divisional rivals a little better. At least I believe you typically should because you know them a little bit more. Because of that, I think that’s what really brings the game to being pretty evenly matched.”

Calling the signals

The Giants might start backup Tyrod Taylor — a former Hampton High and Virginia Tech star — at quarterbac­k for a second straight week. After missing the Buffalo game because of a neck injury, Daniel Jones was limited in practice this week and is questionab­le.

Taylor mostly played well against the Bills. The 13-year veteran was 24 of 36 for 200 yards and ran five times for 24 yards in his first start since 2021. His last start at Washington was in 2015 for Buffalo, a game in which he threw two touchdown passes to Sammy Watkins in a 35-25 loss.

The Giants’ offense hasn’t scored a first-half touchdown this season, and hasn’t scored in 205 minutes over the past threeplus games.

Forbes question

After riding the bench for the entire game last weekend, Commanders rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes said he has “no clue” what the coaching staff ’s plan is for him this weekend.

Rivera, who decided to sit the first-round pick late in a home loss to Chicago on Oct. 5, said there’s a difficult balance between wanting Forbes and other young players to develop and trying to win games.

Forbes has been thrown at 27 times, giving up 20 catches for 401 yards — the second-most of any defender in the NFL this season. The 22-year-old Mississipp­i State product insists he isn’t bothered by the uncertaint­y he’s mired in at the moment.

“I just come in and do my job,”

Forbes said. “As long as I do my job and give myself the best opportunit­y to play, I can’t complain about that.”

Gates goes back

This will be the first chance for former Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates to face his old team since signing with Washington. Gates played his first four pro seasons with the Giants and says he has no hard feelings toward them.

“It’s a business,” Gates said. “It’s part of this league. You’ve got to move on, and you’re going to go to other teams. It’ll be nice to see all my buddies and all the old training staff and stuff, but other than that, it’s just a football game.”

Giants’ O-line

With left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) very unlikely to play, the Giants’ offensive line probably will be “straight off the couch” Justin Pugh at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Ben Bredeson at center, Marcus McKethan at right guard and Evan Neal (ankle) at right tackle.

With Shane Lemieux (torn biceps) on IR, the backups will be Tyre Phillips, Joshua Miles and Sean Harlow, who were all signed off the practice squads of other teams in the past week.

The Giants have not had the same starting offensive line in consecutiv­e games this season.

 ?? DANNY KARNIK/AP ?? Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (with the ball) celebrates his first career intercepti­on with linebacker Cody Barton during last Sunday’s game against Atlanta.
DANNY KARNIK/AP Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (with the ball) celebrates his first career intercepti­on with linebacker Cody Barton during last Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States