The New York Giants have started this season 0-2 within the NFC East. That division record puts added emphasis on today’s division game with the Washington Redskins. I hate to say must win, which this game is not, but if the Giants do not win this game, they are going to need a lot help throughout their division if they are going to want a chance at winning the NFC East. The winner of today’s game will take control of first place in the NFC East.
After a big win on the road last week, against the San Francisco 49ers, I have that thought in the back of my head that the Giants may come out flat today. Coach Coughlin needs to make it known throughout his team that they are 0-2 in the division and that is the only record that matters right now.
Keys to the Game: The Giants must limit the amount of big plays Washington creates. The Redskins this year have made their living with big plays on offense. Whether it be a run by Griffin, a long pass play to a receiver, or a gadget play that picks up a bunch of yards. To limit those opportunities the Giants need to start off by stopping the run. If the Giants can stop Alfred Morris and put the Skins in second or third and longs, Washington’s play calling will be limited to normal passing plays. But it is on those kind of plays that Griffin can move around and pick up the yards with his legs or completing a pass while on the run. Normally speedy linebacker Jacquian Williams would be in on those downs to spy the mobile quarterback. But he has been ruled out with foot problems. With Williams out, linebacker Keith Rivers will probably be promoted to that duty.
Take advantage of Washington’s weak secondary. The Redskins’ secondary is one of the worst in the league. But for whatever reason, the Giants’ offense usually struggles against the Redskins’ defense. Even when the Giants were dominating this series over the last five years, they would win, but never put together a great game on offense. Washington is going to put points on the board, their offense is too good not to. Thus the Giants must answer and put a beat down on the their spotty secondary, who is missing safety Brandon Meriweather.
Get another big play on special teams. David Wilson has been terrific this year on kick returns and if that trend continues the Giants will always have good field position for their offense. One thing that has been missing from special teams this year has been Steve Weatherford’s coffin corner punts. Weatherford was great for the Giants last year and sometimes the best way to defend an explosive offense is excellent punting. New York could really use some lethal punts by Weatherford today.
Injuries: New York has several of the same injuries they have had for the last couple weeks. Da’Rel Scott has been put on IR and Jacquian Williams, safety Kenny Phillips and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard are all out. Ahmad Bradshaw had complained of foot problems during the week, but he is too tough to miss a game like today. Linebacker Michael Boley has also been listed as questionable, but I would expect him to play as well.
The Redksins will be without receiver Pierre Garcon and safety Brandon Meriweather.
Final Analysis: Normally this game would have trap game written all over it. But because the Giants are 0-2 in the division I would have to believe that Coach Coughlin has been on his players’ cases all week. The Giants will come out strong, but will they be able to handle the dynamic Griffin. The Giants have a great history of losing to quarterbacks similar to Griffin and it will be no different today. Washington 27 New York 24.