Tonight’s game pits the up and coming Washington Redskins against the Super Bowl Champion Giants. Washington is currently sitting two games behind the Giants in the NFC East, but could create a very interesting situation in the NFC East if they could win tonight. The Dallas Cowboys were able to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles moving them to 6-6 and making this game tonight even more imperative for the New York Giants.
In his career, Eli Manning has been quite bad in Landover. If the Redskins’ offense continues to play as well as they have done in their past few games, Manning will have to be on top of his game in order to defeat this explosive Washington team. Manning and the Giants’ rush defense are going to be the most important parts in determining the outcome of this game.
Keys to the Game: The Giants must, must, have to under no circumstances stop the Washington run game. Rookie Alfred Morris has been very impressive thus far this season, but the Giants pretty much granted all the rushing yards he gained in the last game. The Washington Redskins’ offense is predicated on the success of their run game. In their pistol offense, Robert Griffin almost exclusively passes out of play action. If the Giants are able to slow down the Washington run game, they will force Griffin to throw into coverages where the linebackers and safeties are not biting on play action. It is also important to note that the Redskins are 1-6 when Griffin throws the ball more than 27 times in a game.
Eli Manning must play well tonight. In his career he has only twice played what would be considered well against the Skins. It is unfathomable to think when he has an 11-5 record against them, but it is true if you look at the statistics. If the Giants are going to win tonight they are going to have to put points on the board. The most effective way for New York to do that is through the air.
Over the past eight weeks the Giants’ special teams have been very quiet. It seems ages since David Wilson had a big kick return. In this game tonight New York is going to need a big play out of their special teams. It is those plays on special teams that can really change the direction of the game and allow momentum to build for another. On the other hand, the Giants cannot allow big returns like they have done in their previous losses to the Steelers and the Bengals.
Injuries: Fortunately the Giants will be with Jason Pierre-Paul and Kenny Phillips tonight. I was starting to expect that Phillips was not going to be able to play with his re-injured knee, but it was reported a short time ago that he will be able to participate tonight. Hakeem Nicks is still banged up, but he will be able to play tonight.
Final Analysis: This game tonight has a giant egg laying by the Giants written all over it. New York could take a three game advantage in the division and essentially end the NFC East race. However, that would be much too easy for the Giants. Their win last week was way too easy for them and I would expect them to make it much harder on themselves tonight. Do not forget that the Giants are one of the worst Monday Night teams of all time. That trend will continue tonight. New York 17 Washington 23.