Old rivalry goes primetime, with offense taking center stage

Washington and the New York Giants meet for the first time in 2014 and they will do it under the lights of Thursday Night Football. Both teams will enter the game with 1-2 records. A win would keep pace in the early-season NFC East race. A loss will leave plenty of work to do. Washington will try to rebound off a tough 37-34 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, while New York is aiming for a second consecutive victory after topping the Houston Texans, 30-17.

The Giants are still adjusting under new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, who came over from the Green Bay Packers. Eli Manning and the offense finally began to look comfortable last Sunday, as Manning threw for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. New York also ripped off 193 rushing yards, with Rashad Jennings gaining 176 on 34 carries.

For Washington, the season’s story has been under center. Robert Griffin III went down with a dislocated ankle in the first quarter of Week 2, ushering in Kirk Cousins who has stepped up and shined. Cousins threw for 250 yards and two scores against the Jacksonville Jaguars before amassing 427 yards and three touchdowns Sunday at Philadelphia. Washington failed to come away with the win, but the offense was not the main culprit in the loss.

Washington has a quarterback controversy … for all the wrong reasons.

The story line in the nation’s capital isn’t progressing as planned. Kirk Cousins was supposed to come off the bench and force the organization to question its commitment to Robert Griffin III with a brilliant stretch of play. Instead, he threw four picks in the second half on Thursday.

It’s far too early to write Cousins off; he threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles just last week. But this is nevertheless a concerning development. There’s legitimate concern whether RGIII will ever be healthy long enough to develop into a franchise passer, and if the answer isn’t Cousins, who is?

If nothing else, a poor showing by Cousins over the next few weeks will make things interesting if and when Griffin is able to return this season. Washington would have a quarterback controversy on it’s hands alright, just not the kind the team wanted.