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New York Giants: 4 bold predictions for Week 2 vs. Washington

Giants, Washington Football Team, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Daniel Jones, Taylor Heinicke

The New York Giants are coming off a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos, a team not many had high expectations for this NFL season. Teddy Bridgewater easily took down the Giants defense en route to a 27-13 win.

The Giants weren’t able to do anything to stop the Broncos from taking the season opener, making their Week 2 game against the Washington Football Team, a division opponent starting their backup quarterback, so much more important.

Here are four predictions for the Giants against Washington on Thursday.

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Giants Week 2 Predictions

4. Will be held under 20 points again

The defense the Giants faced in Week 1 is expected to be one of the best in the NFL. Very few teams are going to run up the score on the Broncos, but the Giants’ next matchup doesn’t get any easier. Washington’s defense is also expected to be among the best and the expectations have only risen with the injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick. That unit will be on a mission to hold the Giants to as few points as possible knowing the limitations of the offense.

In Week 1, the Giants were one of just 11 teams held under 20 points. That’s about a third of the league that had a poor offensive performance. The other teams include the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, and Atlanta Falcons. Those teams can probably toss their Week 1 performances up to some bad luck and rebound nicely in Week 2, leaving the Giants as one of the only teams not to score 20 points through the first couple weeks.

Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the two starting defensive ends for Washington, were held largely in check by the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. The duo will be itching to have its first great performance of the season, so the Giants offensive line will have a tough task.

3. Saquon Barkley will disappoint again

Barkley made his much-anticipated return after missing almost all of last eason due to injury. Unfortunately, he had a disappointing first game back. The Giants’ star running back only ran the ball 10 times for 26 yards, not looking like the explosive power back we all knew. He’s still dealing with lingering physical injuries, making him questionable against Washington. Whether he plays or not, expect another letdown.

Although Washington also lost in Week 1, the team held Chargers star running back Austin Ekeler in check. Most would argue that Barkley is more talented than Ekeler but a bad offensive line mixed with lingering injuries doesn’t bode well for him to have a better game.

If Barkley continues to struggle throughout the first handful of games then the Giants will almost certainly have a rough season. If quarterback Daniel Jones isn’t the X-factor for the squad then Barkley certainly is. Few running backs are able to completely shift the focus to themselves and still be productive when at the top of their game. The Giants need that version of Barkley, but they won’t get it in Week 2.

2. Sterling Shepard will continue to be the number one target for Daniel Jones

No one was really sure what to make out of the Giants’ group of receivers and tight ends before the season, but Shepard was the main guy in Week 1. He led a group including Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Kyle Rudolph, and Kedarius Toney in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He had seven catches on nine targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. Jones clearly favored him over the others and that will continue in Week 2.

Jones has been with Shepard for his entire career. Shepard has consistently put up fine seasons for what was expected of him and is now the veteran of the receiving group. It’s no surprise that Daniel Jones looks for the guy who’s been around him the most, but nine targets were more than anyone saw coming. If Jones continues to feed Shepard as much as he did in Week 1 then a lot of people will be surprised because this much production was unexpected.

1. Will lose by double digits again

Sorry for really just attacking the Giants throughout these four predictions, but it seems very likely that Washington comes ready to play after a rough Week 1. The Giants played like they were expected to in their loss to the Broncos, while Washington played below expectations. Both offenses are pretty average, but Washington has more of a big play potential with Taylor Heinicke throwing to Terry McLaurin.

The game will be won on the defensive side for Washington. The Giants starting the season 0-2 rather than Washington makes a lot more sense given who the better team is overall. Heinicke might not be Fitzpatrick (that’s not a huge name to live up to anyway), but he’ll be good enough to win the game convincingly against the Giants.