After blowing out the Green Bay Packers during Sunday Night Football last week, the New York Giants would do well to collect another win, especially against division rivals, the Washington Redskins. In this season’s previous meeting, the Giants squeaked by with a win from an ugly game, in which both team’s QBs threw multiple interceptions.
With RGIII under center this year, the Redskins finally look like a team that can contend for, and potentially earn a playoff berth. However, many of their wins were a direct result of RGIII’s impressive talent and sheer will to win. The Redskins, while much improved, still lack at critical positions. Their season has been a mixed bag of highs and lows (their own head coach suggested at 3-5 that they were already playing for next season).
Of course, the Giants have not been without their lows this season: Eli appearing to suffer from “tired arm syndrome”; dropping games against the Steelers and the Bengals, where they appeared in both games to be at best fatigued, and at worst misdirected and misguided. But in what has quickly become classic Giants style, they appear to be kicking into high gear as the end of the season approaches with a statement win over the Packers last week. If the Giants come out swinging this Sunday, as they did the last, the Redskins don’t have a hope or prayer. They simply aren’t ready to compete with the World Champions, if said champions are at the top of their game. However (and I’m hoping there is none of this dreaded however), if the Giants start Sunday’s game lethargically shaking off a few cobwebs, they will need to ensure they take a few crucial actions to secure another win.
Stop RGIII. Discussing the upcoming game with my future husband today, he joked that the only way to stop RGIII would be to break his legs (his Cowboys tried to shutdown RGIII over Thanksgiving to little avail). While I don’t think a Bounty-gate style of play would be the most sportsmen-like approach, the Giants defense has to find a way to get to RGIII. RGIII is an incredibly versatile player with the ability to both pass and run. The defensive front needs to bring RGIII down and bring him down quickly.
Protect Eli. The offensive line played phenomenally well against the Packers, especially once Sean Locklear stepped in for the injured David Diehl. Eli had plenty of time to set up, see the field and make smart decisions. Heck, he probably had time to brew a cup of tea on a few occasions. The same excellent play will be needed against the Redskins’ defense. Give Eli enough time to set-up and throw and he’ll have the Giants up by two touchdowns in 2-3 drives. If the o-line can’t protect Eli, he’ll be more likely to throw an early interception or two, which while recoverable, is not ideal.
Take advantage of a weak secondary. This is how the Giants defeated the Redskins in a dangerously close game earlier in the season. With 1:13 left to play in the fourth quarter, Eli connected with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown after Cruz was able to easily break Redskins coverage down the field. The Giants would do well to exploit this glaring weakness throughout Sunday’s game. If the offensive line plays well again, Eli’s dangerous receiving corps (Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, et al) will have ample opportunity to get open downfield and Eli will have ample opportunity to throw.