In a game that could decide the NFC East Champion the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants tonight in second week Thursday night action.
Second week and this game decides the division?
Well, wins come few and far between in the NFC East, and one of these two teams is going to pick one up tonight. When that happens, one of these teams will even their record at 1-1, a .500 average, which is 62 percentage points higher than the 7-9 Redskins achieved last season while winning the NFC East.
Picking a favorite to win the NFC East is truly an exercise in sifting through a lot of inferior talent. The only one out of the NFC East that won last week was the Philadelphia Eagles, and the chances of them picking up a second consecutive win while hosting the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday is somewhere between unlikely and impossible.
The Dallas Cowboys played an emotional game in their opener against the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was good enough to avoid a blowout, but not good enough to win the game. The Cowboys travel to Los Angeles this week to do battle against the Chargers in SoFi Stadium.
The Chargers opened with a road win over the Redskins and now look for a second straight victory against NFC East competition.
They are likely to get it.
Washington bounces off their home loss to the Chargers with a favorite role against the Giants. The line opened with Washington favored by 3½ points, and after briefly dropping to 3 points, the number has moved back up to a field goal with a hook.
Late in the 2020 season, the Giants looked to be in the driver's seat to win the NFC East after downing the Seattle Seahawks on December 6th to pick up their fourth straight victory. Three straight losses followed that winning run and opened the door for the 7-9 Redskins to claim the title. New York finished the season with six wins.
Both these teams have reason to be better this season than they were last year. The Redskins benefitting from a second year of Ron Rivera serving as head coach, and the Giants regaining the services of runningback Saquon Barkley, who missed almost all of last season with an injury.
The Redskins have the superior defense, but on the offensive side Washington loses starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He injured his hip last Sunday and was placed on Injured Reserve to confirm he will miss at least eight weeks. The injury occurred shortly after Fitzpatrick set an NFL record by starting at quarterback for his ninth differned team.
Most of my numbers indicate that the better play against the point spread tonight is the Giants, but they were in an even better motivational spot last week at home and lost to the Denver Broncos, 27-13. My concern is that if the Giants lost in that spot there is no guarantee of a different result on the road tonight.
If the Chargers turn out to be real good this year, then last week’s narrow home loss to Los Angeles may prove to be a good effort by Washington. But, if the Chargers prove to be mediocre at best, then that home loss is an indicator that the Redskins are not yet ready to lay points with.
Year-to-year motivation favors the Giants; week-by-week factors lean the Redskins way.
I’m interested to see how this one plays out, but am not going to risk any money while in the process of learning more in order to chart the directions of both these teams.