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Washington Redskins Insider Report: Round Two Against Eli Manning and the G-Men

December 3rd, 2012 at 1:03 PM
By Justin Fiore

Looking at the box score from the last time these two teams met, you would be surprised to see the Washington Redskins lost. They were playing the New York Giants for first place in the division at the time and suffered heart-breaking loss, which in turn started a three game skid. And yet, here the Skins are, with the Giants on their home field and chance to pull within one game.

Fortunately, the Giants have been a little hit-or-miss of late. To find out more about the rival, we reached out to Simon Garron-Caine the guys at Giants101.com to give us the scoop.

Enjoy!

'Chris Snee (76), D.J. Ware (28), Eli Manning (10), David Baas (64)' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Giants played well last week after a few sub par outings. They almost appear to have an on-off switch. Who has their finger is on it? Why do or don't they play well?

If we knew who had their finger on this switch, we'd have a few less grey hairs and a few more years on our life. It really boils down to this: these Giants fall flat on their face anytime there isn't some sort of pressure. A divisional opponent rapping on your heels, a team that everybody expects us to lose to, any remotely do-or-die situation and Eli and the boys are good to go. But, almost like clockwork, whenever there isn't life-or-death on the line you'll see the Giants play ilk they did against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. At the time, it looked like the Giants had the division all but locked up.

Our worry is that this game doesn't have that must-win feel for the Giants. Sure, we have a chance to seal this division up all early and stuff…but it's the Redskins who have their backs to the wall and us who is playing with house money. Lots of us feel like this is the kind of game the Giants fall flat on their face, and we think Shanahan and RGIII have done a very good job of throwing praise the Giants way this week so as not to arouse a sleeping Giant.

{Editor’s note: Last paragraph fittingly leads into the next. The Giants shouldn’t be downplaying a team that’s gotten better since Rex Grossman beat them twice last year.}

Last time these two teams met the Redskins gained 480 yards. What are the Giants plans to slow down RG3 and this offense? They sure have been more respectful this time around.

The Giants tone about Griffin changed almost immediately after the first game and that's continued right up to this game. To be quite honest, we haven't seen Giants players fawn this much over an opposing player since…well, since…you get the point. Even as they praised Tom Brady heading into last year's Super Bowl, you never saw the wide-eyed wonder that Griffin brings. The Giants seem to revere and respect RGIII in a way most often reserved for Peyton Manning: that he's one of those guys so special, he's good for the game football.

As for stopping him on the field, I'm really not sure they'll do much of anything they didn't do in the first matchup. Obviously, you'd like to hope Perry Fewell has a wrinkle or two from the first game plan, but Griffin hasn't changed, so why should the scheme?

What will be difference is the presence of Kenny Phillips, who missed the first game the teams played. Not only is Phillips the glue that holds the secondary together, fellow safety Stevie Brown's emergence in his absence has allowed the Giants to employ a three-safety look on a fairly regular basis. In essence, it swaps a linebacker for a safety, allows Antrel Rolle to lurk closer to the line and shifts Mathias Kiwanuka back into the defensive end rotation (do not underestimate that last one). It should give us a bit more speed on the field and a bit more schematic flexibility.

What would you say is the hole in this Giants team? Do they have one?

The biggest inconsistency the Giants have dealt with this year is the running game. We've had more bad games on the ground than good, and we were really starting to develop Andre Brown when he broke his leg last week. Ahmad Bradshaw may or may not be healthy on any given week, the coaches haven't taken the reins off of David Wilson yet and, perhaps most importantly, the offensive line has been up and down.

But the biggest hole for these Giants is what we talked about above: sometimes they show up and sometimes they don't. And that goes up and down the roster: Eli Manning and his receivers have had games where they look like the greatest offense ever…and they've had a few stinkers. The secondary has blown more coverages than we can count, but has still managed to play really well when it mattered (San Francisco, Green Bay). And the defensive line apparently only shows up every other week. Who knows which Giants unit will be the weak spot on Monday night…depends on who shows up and who doesn't. But if we had to bet, we'd bet the running game.

The Giants have an elite reviving core but the rest of the skill players seem questionable from week to week. Who has to step up in order for you to make a deep push? (Bradshaw, Wilson, Bennett)?

A running back. His name might be Bradshaw, his name might be Wilson…heck, his name might be Ryan Torain. But when the Giants can't run the ball that's when they run into trouble, as defenses just blanket Nicks and Cruz. Martellus Bennett is a good player, and Domenik Hixon and Reuben Randle are both contributors, but none of those guys are going to make plays for four quarters if teams are able to sit on Cruz and Nicks.

For the Giants to get that passing attack back to where it was late last year and early this year, they simply need to run the ball. Whether that means Bradshaw staying healthy (unlikely), David Wilson breaking out of the gates (a little more likely), or Ryan Torain coming in giving us tough running on 5-10 carries a game, we're not sure and quite frankly don't care. At the end of the day, it'll probably be a bit of all three.

Giants win if…

The Giants win if they score 35+ points. There's no tricky ones here: Griffin and his offense are going to put up points. Sure, we held the Packers to 10 points last week…but Griffin is a different kind of animal, the kind that the Giants don't fare well against. We'd be surprised if he didn't put up 24-34 points, so we're leaning on the offense to simply put up more.

Thanks again to Simon for his insight, although we wish him no luck tonight. If you're interested in what they asked and we answered, check out the article on Giant 101 (here).

Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Eli Manning, Football, Giants101.com, Griffin, Kenny Phillips, New York Giants, NFL, RG3, Simon, Washington, Washington Redskins

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