Giants vs. Washington: Preview, predictions, what to watch for

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An inside look at Sunday’s Giants-Washington Football Team Week 18 matchup at MetLife Stadium.

Marquee matchup

Washington DTs Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen vs. Giants interior OL

Payne and Allen got into a sideline scuffle Dec. 26 as their team was getting routed by the Cowboys.

That was the impetus for Joe Judge’s “clown show’’ remark that is sure to get Washington’s players lathered up. Allen leads his team with 8.5 sacks and 28 quarterback hits, and Payne has 4.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hits.

These two former Alabama stars and first-round draft picks will be a load to handle for Will Hernandez, Billy Price, Matt Skura, Ben Bredeson or anyone else the Giants throws out there in what figures to be a run-heavy game plan.

Daron Payne and Billy Price
AP (2)

Paul’s pick

Did Joe Judge’s remarks put some spark in what figured to be a sparkless season finale for both teams? We shall see, but the head coach sure did not do his players a solid here. Sometimes there are all sorts of ways to analyze a game. For this one, how about simplifying it to this: Which quarterback do you believe can get it done, Taylor Heinicke or Jake Fromm?

Washington 23, Giants 13

Four downs

Take another shot: Jake Fromm, signed Nov. 30 off the Bills’ practice squad, looked fine in mop-up duty in a lopsided loss to the Cowboys, then looked so bad as the starter in a loss at Philadelphia that he was benched. He will get a second start to close out this season, with Mike Glennon out with a wrist injury.

“For me, the only pressure I feel is going to be pressure I put on myself to go out and perform,’’ Fromm said. “Obviously, I want to go out and play the best I can for me … for my family, my teammates in the locker room and for this organization. Yeah, I’m going to go out and I’m going to give it all I can. Trust me, I want to win more than anybody does.’’

Wonder games: There are seasons rife with “What ifs’’ and, as Tom Coughlin used to say, “Remorse for opportunity lost.’’ This is not one of those seasons for the Giants; they were that bad for so long. The one that got away came in the first meeting with Washington in Week 2. The Giants should have wrapped up a 29-27 victory when Dustin Hopkins missed a field goal with 5 seconds left. An offside penalty on Dexter Lawrence, however, gave Hopkins another crack at it, and the Giants lost 30-29.

“There’s always a play, there’s always a score or something like that, that you just wish you would’ve gotten back,’’ Leonard Williams said. “A game or something like that you wish you would’ve got back.’’

Better to receive: It is almost inconceivable. Scratch the “almost.’’ It is indeed inconceivable the Giants have gone nine consecutive games without one of their wide receivers catching a touchdown pass. The last time a receiver scored on a TD pass? Late in the third quarter of Week 7, when Dante Pettis caught a 5-yard scoring pass from Daniel Jones in a 25-3 victory over the Panthers. “It’s hard to make sense of that,’’ receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said. Yes, it is.

D.J. the QB: The updates have decreased because there is no need for a day-by-day evaluation of the sprained neck that has forced Daniel Jones to miss the last six games of this season. Without him, the Giants have averaged 9.8 points in their five-game losing streak and scored one touchdown in their past 35 offensive possessions. They were far from a scoring machine with him, but the entire offensive operation has gone haywire without Jones on the field. “I didn’t need to lose Daniel to appreciate him,’’ Joe Judge said.

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