The Washington Redskins are 6-6 and surging, having won three straight. The Dallas Cowboys are 6-6, with three wins in their last four games.
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants stand at 7-5 and are trying to hold off their NFC East division rivals. New York hosts New Orleans today. The Giants have been in this position before.
While New York has lost three of their last four this is nothing new for Tom Coughlin's crew. After losing four straight, the Giants finished last year with seven wins in their final eight games including four straight in the playoffs. As for the Saints, they must follow the Giants script.
A year ago the Giants did just enough late in the season to squeeze into the playoffs at 9-7. New Orleans (5-7) has an outside chance at the postseason if they can run the table. In order to win four straight, QB Drew Brees must improve on his recent performance.
Brees leads the NFL in touchdowns thrown and is second in the league in passing yards. However, in back-to-back losses against San Francisco and Atlanta he has been shaky. The former MVP tossed two interceptions against the 49ers that were returned for scores in a 31-21 setback. Last week Brees was picked off five times and did not throw a touchdown in a 23-13 loss against the Falcons. There is reason to believe he can turn things around in New York.
The Giants defense ranks just 22nd in the league allowing more than 365 yards a game. However, New York only gives up a shade over 20 points per contest which is ninth best in the NFL. With 30 takeaways the G-men cause more turnovers than all but two teams in the league and their plus-14 turnover margin is tied for best in the NFC. Brees will move the offense if he can avoid interceptions. Can the Saints control New York's offense?
New Orleans allows more yards than any team in the league but the defense is improving. While the Saints yield more than 440 yards a week, over the last three games they have held opponents to only 266 yards a contest. After giving up nearly 31 points a game to their first seven opponents New Orleans has limited opposition to 22.2 points per game in the last five tilts.
For the Giants, on offense the question is how well Eli Manning will play. After ranking in the top seven last season in QB Rating and touchdown passes, this year he is in the middle of the pack in both categories. In games where Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns the Giants are 3-1 this season. During last year’s playoffs Manning threw for nine touchdowns with only one interception and averaged more than 300 yards per game through the air.
If Manning plays well it will go a long way towards keeping the Giants in the NFC East lead. If Brees limits mistakes the Saints will stay in the playoff race. If both happen, rush to the betting window and take the over 53 points.