Giants may be walking into Redskins buzzsaw, no matter how they play it
The Giants have nothing to play for in Week 17, but the Redskins certainly do.
Therein lies the potential problem.
The Redskins’ path to a playoff berth was cleared considerably on Monday night when the Cowboys thumped the Lions, 42-21, at AT&T Stadium. That means the Giants should have their hands full on New Year’s Day at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., no matter how they decide to approach the game.
Washington (8-6-1) is more or less looking at a win-and-in situation. If they beat the Giants, they should end the day as the NFC’s second wild card team and the No. 6 seed. If the Redskins beat the Giants, the only way they do not make the playoffs is if the Lions and Packers tie on Sunday Night Football in the de facto NFC North title game.
If there was a tie in that game, the Packers would win the division. The Lions would be a wild card team on the strength of their head-to-head win over the Redskins.
The Giants are locked in to the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs. Quarterback Eli Manning made his case Monday to play against the Redskins, but it’s not clear what head coach Ben McAdoo has planned. He may decide to play the starters for a good portion of the game at the least, or the Giants could treat the game like it’s the preseason and focus on rest.
Either way, the Redskins are playing as if it’s the Super Bowl. Because for them, it is.
The Redskins already beat the Giants this season, a 29-27 victory in Week 3. The Giants led by 11 points early, but became unraveled in the fourth quarter. Manning threw two killer interceptions in the loss. Washington has won two straight against the Giants.
“If McAdoo wants to [rest players], then so be it. But we still want to finish this regular season strong, and Washington has beat us already,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. “Ao that would be tough if we go in not trying to beat Washington. … I think McAdoo is the guy that wants to beat Washington for sure.”