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Grant's Slant: Redskins need Peterson to drive offense against Giants

October 27, 2018 - 1:52 pm

By Grant Paulsen

The Redskins are a win away from starting a season 5-2 for the first time since 2008. All that stands between Washington and a third straight victory is a bad New York Giants team that has lost six of its seven games. 

Washington's defensive line – led by emerging stars Jon Allen and Daron Payne – should be able to push the Giants' porous offensive line around in the showdown at the line of scrimmage. Alex Smith, coming off a rough outing against Dallas, will likely have open receivers to throw to. New York's passing defense ranks 27th in passing yards per play allowed. 

Here are my slants for Sunday's game in New Jersey: 

Redskin To Watch: Adrian Peterson 

In Washington's four wins Peterson has rushed for 96, 120, 97 and 99 yards. He has carried them in each of those triumphs, leading a time of possession surge that allowed the team to avoid taking shots downfield in the passing game. But in the Redskins' two losses Peterson was rendered a non factor, combining for just 26 yards in a pair of forgettable performances.

Smith is trying to snap out of a slow start to his first campaign in DC and Washington's aerial assault has struggled immensely. If Peterson is not able to keep his offense ahead of the sticks and in manageable downs and distances, it might be another week before Smith elevates his play.  

Giant To Watch: Sterling Shepard

Shepard is coming off the best game of his season, having just caught five passes for 167 yards in Atlanta. On pace for 1,161 yards this season, Shepard is clearly the Giant's No. 2 behind Odell Beckham but favorable matchups often make him a priority in the team's passing game. Considering that Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau are both banged up, Sunday will be one of those games. 

If Greg Stroman is tasked with handling Shepard, the rookie seventh rounder will have to cut down on some of the mistakes he made last week. The Redskins will likely ask Josh Norman to follow Odell Beckham Jr. around the field, but they can't forget about Shepard. 

Stat Of The Week:

With a win the Redskins will have started the season 5-1 in conference play for the first time since 2005. A victory would also bump Washington to 2-0 in the division, a record the team hasn't had after two NFC East games since Trent Williams' rookie year in 2010. 

Prediction: Redskins 24, Giants 20

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