Washington @ NY Giants
Power rankings: Washington 25, NY Giants 30
Playoff motivation: LOL
When the Football Team has the ball:
Washington's offense ranks 21st in both DVOA and EPA/play. Taylor Heinicke sits at 31st (of 39) in PFF passing grades (58.2), completes 65.5% of his passes (0.2% above expectation), and gains 6.9 yards per attempt. The offensive line is solid across the board -- ranking 9th in ESPN's pass block win rate and 1st in run block win rate. Outside of QB, the hindrance to the offense is the receiver position, where they have Terry McLaurin and nobody else. By projected targets, Cam Sims, Adam Humphries, and RB Antonio Gibson are the Football Team's top receivers. They're without TE Ricky Seals-Jones (concussion) and receiving back JD McKissic (concussion). Gibson will handle the RB carries. They're equally bad passing and throwing, ranking 21st in DVOA in both categories. As even matchup as it gets, the Giants are 21st in both DVOA and EPA/play on defense. They have virtually zero pass rush, ranking 30th in pressure rate (19.7%) and 31st in ESPN's pass rush win rate. The line wins slightly more in the run game, where they rank 21st, thanks to defensive tackles Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. Their linebacking core and secondary are all below average, save for CB Adoree' Jackson and S Xavier McKinney. James Bradberry carries a big name at corner, but he's having a down year -- his coverage grade from PFF sits at 65.5, which ranks 64th in the NFL. He's been targeted 90 times on the year, giving up 59 receptions (65.6%) for 689 yards and 8 TDs with 4 picks, giving opposing QBs a 99.7 rating when targeting him. The Giants are 17th in DVOA against the pass and 29th against the run, a pair of stats that make zero sense given how their defense is configured, but who am I to argue numbers.
When the Giants have the ball:
With Mike Glennon (wrist out), the Giants offense (32nd in DVOA, 20th in EPA/play) will hand the ball over to 2nd year backup Jake Fromm. Fromm, a 2020 5th round draft pick out of Georgia, has attempted just 35 passes this year -- which are also the only passes he's attempted in his NFL career. He's 12/29 (41.4%) for 107 yards (3.7 average) and has a 51.5 passing grade, a collection of stats that fits firmly in the "it can't get any worse category." The offensive line is routinely struggles, ranking 25th in pass block win rate and 13th in run block win rate -- LT Andrew Thomas being the one bright spot. With rookie Kadarius Toney (shoulder) out, the top receivers by projected targets are: Kenny Golladay, TE Evan Engram, RB Saquon Barkley, and Darius Slayton. It's a solid group on paper, but none have produced -- routine injuries among the group certainly being part of the problem. Barkley handles most of the RB work, with Devontae Booker chipping in for about a 70/30 split. They've been equally bad throwing (31st in DVOA) and running (29th). On the other side, the Football Team is 27th in DVOA and 30th in EPA/play. Due to injuries, their pass rush is a Bradyworld away from what it once was. They blitz 7th most often (30.4%), but are 15th in the league in pressure rate (24.7%). They rank 22nd in pass rush win rate and 14th in run stop win rate. They'll also be without Montez Sweat (personal), leaving Jared Allen as the lone capable man in the front 7. It's worth noting that Allen is one of the premier interior pass rushers. Among all interior lineman, he ranks 4th in pressures (61) and 3rd in PFF pass rush grade (90.9). Kendall Fuller has been a legit top 10 corner in the league this season, but the rest of the secondary is below average at best. They're significantly better against the run (10th in DVOA) than the pass (28th). It's not ideal to bet on Jake Fromm, but the Football Team's secondary makes the matchup as easy it gets.
The model is basically telling us that the Football Team shouldn't be 7 point road favorites against anyone. I can't disagree.