Football Team

Did Washington or the Giants have the more impressive win?

Football Team

On Sunday, the New York Giants went into Seattle without their starting quarterback and took down the Seahawks. It was one of -- if not the most -- impressive and shocking wins of the season.

On Monday, the Washington Football Team said "hold my beer."

Taking down the Steelers and putting an end to Pittsburgh's undefeated season, it was an upset that not many outside of the locker room saw as possible.

For two teams fighting for the NFC East title, season-changing wins transpired in Week 13. But when looking at all the factors, was one victory more impressive than the other?

Here's a breakdown to see if Washington or New York had an edge when it comes to their spectacular Week 13 performances.

Who beat the better opponent?

Giants: Seattle entered Week 13 at 8-3 and at the top of the loaded NFC West with an MVP candidate at quarterback and an athletic freak at wide receiver. There is no denying that the Seahawks are a playoff contender with pieces to go deep in the postseason. However, the team also has many flaws.

The defense has been susceptible to being gashed all season, and an offensive line that struggles to protect Russell Wilson at times can force the offense to break down and Wilson to force the ball. The 8-3 record may have even been misleading. Games throughout the season have shown Seattle is vulnerable, and a let down was probably coming. 

In addition, the Seahawks are a team that can't help but make every game close no matter who the opponent is. It's just in that team's DNA.

 

Washington: Not unlike the Seahawks, the Steelers' record may not have told the full story. NBC Sports Washington analyst Torrey Smith called them the worst undefeated team of all-time and even if that's not the case, it's clear Pittsburgh isn't a juggernaut.

The defense has some holes, and injuries have taken a toll. The offense has plenty of talent especially at receiver but isn't always a well-oiled machine. The running game was atrocious on Monday night. 

Still, it's important to note that this team was 11-0. That's hard to do in the NFL. They have a stout defense and a talented offense with a veteran quarterback. Even if they weren't perfect season material, they are very good football team with Super Bowl potential.

Advantage: Washington - Both NFC East teams took down top-of-the-league opponents that did have some chinks in the armor. The advantage goes to Washington because it beat an undefeated team. No one had been able to do that through 11 games, and that's an accomplishment that can't be understated. 

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Who battled through more adversity?

Giants: New York won without its starting quarterback. Whether or not Daniel Jones is truly a difference-maker long term, the second-year passer was finding his footing in the offense and helping the team win games. All of the sudden, the Giants had to switch to Colt McCoy for a West Coast game against a talented team. There was no Saquon Barkley to fall back on, either.

Sure, McCoy can be a serviceable option at quarterback, especially if you are Jay Gruden. But, New York played this game without its starting quarterback. That is potentially the hardest setback to overcome for an NFL team. 

Washington: As the game began, Washington seemed in good shape. The departure of Antonio Gibson early on changed that. It immediately took Washington's top running option out of the mix, and that hurts all phases of an offense. Washington also quickly learned that Pittsburgh's main goal of eliminating Terry McLaurin was working.

Therefore, against an undefeated team, Washington needed to find ways to win without its two best weapons. Tight end Logan Thomas and wide receiver Cam Sims made it possible.

Advantage: Giants - Washington certainly didn't have it easy, but it doesn't get more impressive than going into Seattle and winning with a backup quarterback. 

Who played better?

Giants: New York won this game largely because of its defensive performance. Wilson and company were under pressure all game, and two forced turnovers helped. Seattle's offense has carried the team most of the season, and it just wasn't able to against an emerging unit. It may have been New York's best work on that side of the ball all season.

 

Offensively, it wasn't great, but that is to be expected with a backup quarterback. McCoy managed the game and running backs Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris found success on the ground. The Giants just needed to compliment the defense and not make too many mistakes and they did just that.

Washington: It was a similar performance for Washington. The defense anchored the game with big fourth-down stops, a late-game turnover and consistent pressure against Roethlisberger that stifled Pittsburgh's ability to consistently drive down the field. 

On offense, Alex Smith managed the game and made throws when he needed to. Unlikely heroes Thomas and Sims provided sparks on offense, allowing the unit to do just enough to find ways into the end zone and set up a game-winning field goal. It wasn't dominant, but it was successful.

Advantage: Tie - Both teams stepped up when it mattered and performed rather equally on both sides of the ball.

Final Verdict: Too close to call

Both wins were impressive, and it's okay to leave it at that. It doesn't take away anything from Washington, but the Giants deserve credit as well. The victories were huge for both teams and for the reputation of the NFC East.

Not many would think that two teams that started 1-5 would take down the Seahawks and Steelers, but it was very on brand for 2020.