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Washington vs. Giants, NFL picks and predictions 2016: New York favored in NFC East showdown

Is this just another slow start, or is Kirk Cousins actually not a very good quarterback?

Even though Washington won the NFC East last season, it's not getting much love to beat New York on the road this Sunday. Kirk Cousins' team is an unpopular pick to earn just its second win over the Giants since 2013.

The trepidation over picking Washington is understandable after the team fell apart in a comeback loss to Dallas last week. Cousins telegraphed an interception about as badly as a quarterback could to tear the wheels off a promising scoring drive and give the Cowboys the latitude needed to rally for a road win.

On paper, Cousins had a breakthrough in 2015. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns while leading Washington to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. However, his start to 2016 is showing how hollow those figures really were. Cousins feasted on mediocre defenses last season and struggled to make plays when given a short field. This season, he's been a disaster in the red zone; his 19.6 passer rating inside the opponent's 20 is the league's worst.

Washington needs Cousins to come alive to knock off the current NFC East leaders, but a big offensive performance could be all for naught if the team's secondary can't snap into shape. Dan Snyder dished out big money to lure Josh Norman away from Carolina this offseason, but the team's utilization of its star cornerback has been questionable at best.

That problem will only get worse when All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham Jr. takes the field on Sunday. Norman and Beckham have a chippy past that the pair claims they've moved on from, but the pressure of competition could mean another spirited showdown between these two -- assuming Washington changes Norman's role or Beckham decides to run his routes on the left side. If not, then it could be a big day for Eli Manning and his No. 1 target.

Those issues, plus New York's hot start and homefield advantage, have made the Giants a big favorite.

Even though the experts are overwhelmingly predicting a Giants victory, that doesn't mean there aren't any dissenters. Adam Caplan is the lone Washington supporter among ESPN's panel of writers. Only two of CBS' eight experts are picking the visitors.

The number is the same here at SB Nation, where just two of the 10 predictions dig up something Kirk Cousins could like.

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