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Inside the Numbers - Giants @ Redskins

November 21, 2017
The Washington Redskins limp home literally and figuratively on another short week, after a terrible loss in New Orleans, as they had a 15-point lead with less than six minutes left.

Now they take on the New York Giants, who beat the suddenly struggling Kansas City Chiefs, in an offensive death match, 12-9 in overtime.

We go “Inside the Numbers” for the Redskins first-ever Thanksgiving game at home and the second straight year, they’ve played on the holiday.

1 – Allen’s Absence (And a Lot More): Surely, the Redskins defense is struggling for more reasons than just one, specifically the loss of first-round pick, Jonathan Allen.

However, the loss of Allen coupled with Matt Ioannidis missing a few games and Mason Foster being lost for the year over the last few weeks, has had a numbing effect on rational thought and theory.

Before the Redskins played the Eagles on Monday Night Football in Week 7 (October 23) or exactly one month before Thursday night’s game against the Giants, the Redskins defense was actually pretty good. We wrote at that time about all of the statistical areas that were relevant to performance to get a measuring stick of where the Redskins were at that point, with Allen, and of course, Ioannidis and Foster, and then to be able to compare where they wound up as time and more attrition went along.

Without further ado: Here’s where the Redskins defense ranks now one month later (5 games) compared to the pre-week 7 rankings, when they were reasonably healthy.

Going into Week 12: 363.6 yards per game (NFL avg. 337.0, 26.6)

Going into Week 7: 316.0 yards per game (NFL average 336.4, 20.4). 

Into Week 12: 5.78 yards per play (NFL avg. 5.31, 0.47)

Into Week 7: 5.20 yards per play (NFL average 5.31, 0.11), 

Into Week 12: 114.6 rushing yards per game (NFL avg. 109.0, 5.6)

Into Week 7: 88.0 rushing yards per game (NFL average 108.6, 20.6), 

Into Week 12: 4.34 rushing yards per play (NFL avg. 4.08 0.26)

Into Week 7: 4.00 rushing yards per play (NFL average 4.11, 0.11), 

Into Week 12: 249.0 passing yards per game (NFL avg. 228.0, 21.0)

Into Week 7:  228.0 passing yards per game (NFL average 227.8, 0.2), 

Into Week 12: 7.30 passing yards per play (NFL avg. 6.64, 0.66)

Into Week 7: 6.37 passing yards per play (NFL average 6.60, 0.23), 

Into Week 12: 7.04% sacks/pass attempt (NFL avg 6.90%, 0.14%

Into Week 7: 8.38% sacks/pass attempt (NFL average 7.14, 1.24%), 

Into Week 12: 20.1 first-downs per game (NFL avg. 19.4, 0.7)

Into Week 7: 18.0 first-downs per game (NFL average 19.5, 1.5), 

Into Week 12: 41.98% third-down percentage (NFL avg. 38.91%, 3.07%)

Into Week 7: 40.30% on third-down percentage (NFL average 39.28%, 1.02%) 

Into Week 12: 26.6 points per game (NFL avg. 22.2, 4.4)

Into Week 7: 22.6 points per game (NFL average 22.3, 0.3). 

As another point of comparison, during the entire regular season of 2016 (an obviously larger sample size, the Redskins defense allowed the following: 

377.9 Yards per game (2016 NFL average 350.4, 27.5), 

5.76 Yards per play (NFL average 5.48, 0.28), 

119.8 Rushing yards per game (NFL average 108.9, 10.9) 

4..53 Rushing yards per play (NFL average 4.19, 0.34) 

258.1 Passing yards per game (NFL average 241.5, 16.6) 

7.01 Passing yards per play (NFL average 6.76, 0.25) 

6.45% Sacks per pass attempt (NFL average 6.11%, 0.34%) 

23.0 First downs per game (NFL average 20.3, 2.7) 

46.63% Third Down percentage (NFL average 39.67%, 6.96%) 

23.9 Points per game (NFL average 22.8, 1.1) 

2 – Feeling “Blue”

The “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” as the Giants are sometimes known, or at the very minimum “Big Blue” have been down in the dumps all year.

They did get their second win of the year over the Chiefs, after getting blown out the week before on the road by winless, San Francisco.

They come to Washington having beaten the Redskins in the “Thursday Night Football” time slot the last few times the two teams have met, including a five-interception disaster for Cousins and the Redskins in week four, 2014.

New York ended the Redskins season at FedExField in week 17 last year, a game Washington had to have, and the Giants didn’t need for any reason, and still won.

This year – the Giants defense which was huge last year has struggled in just about every way, because of injuries and performance drop-off, so the Redskins are facing a very different team.

The Giants defense is allowing nearly 400 yards per game (396.6), # 31 in the NFL and 5.91 yards per play, # 28 league-wide. They’ve been gashed on the ground overall to the tune of 132.7 rushing yards allowed per game (# 30) but they’ve been somewhat decent at 4.38 rushing yards per play (# 23).

Their secondary, which was so good last season, partially because of pass rush but also because of the development of Landon Collins, has struggled. They’re allowing 263.9 passing yards per play, # 29 in the NFL and 7.45 passing yards per play, also fourth-worst in the le, which are is good in any way.

A huge reason? The pass rush. The Giants are at 3.95% sacks per pass attempt. The league average is 6.90%.

As bad as they’ve been, the Giants have been able to much better than the NFL average in the red zone (# 12 overall) and in goal-to-go percentage, where they are second-best. Because of that, they’re only allowing 24.7 points per game, compared to the Redskins who are allowing two points per game higher, at 26.6. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN