Sunday, December 18, 2011

Giants: Redskins Preview

This will not be an easy game for the Giants. It's not because the Redskins are such a great team, it's because the Giants are pretty average. From the 30K foot view - there are a few teams that are really strong - Packers, Ravens, Steelers, Saints, maybe Texans and 49ers get added to that group. Then, there are a bunch of teams that are really awful - Rams, Browns, maybe a few others. After the top and bottom, there are a whole bunch of teams that are grouped together in that mediocre category in the middle. Giants might be towards the upper part of that group, but there isn't as much separation among those middling teams as you might think. The sad thing is that I think the Giants have more talent than a lot of those teams, but they have not been getting the most out of their ability on the defensive side of the ball. Nevertheless, you are what your record says you are and what your stats say you are. The record and stats say that Giants are 1 game over .500  and that they are a very good offensive team and a very bad defensive team. Giants can play with the top teams and can lose to  the crappy ones. As proof, Giants played the Packers tougher than anyone in the league has this year, they beat the Patriots but they lost to the Seahawks and a bad Eagles team without their QB. Giants are better than the Redskins, but if they don't play sharp, they can lose this game.

The hope that you have as a Giants fan is that Amukamara's learning curve is relatively short, that Phillips comes back and plays well at S, that Tuck recovers from his various injuries and in general that the defense plays a little closer to its potential. On the offensive side, you have to hope that Eli keeps playing the way he's been playing, that the new OL continues to play physically and opens up holes for the running game and that the weather doesn't get too bad and prevent an effective passing game. (Weather tomorrow is supposed to be brisk, but above freezing, sunny and not too windy.) But let's be realistic - perhaps we can hope for the Giants to play a little better, but a quantum leap in quality of play in week 15 is somewhat unlikely.

The match up with the Redskins on paper is not bad for the Giants. The weakness for the Giants on defense has been in the passing game and their best weapon to stop the pass is a good pass rush. The Redskins do not have great WRs, Santana Moss is probably their fastest outside threat, and they are missing their LT and TE who are both good players. Grossman does not have a bad arm, but if you can make him uncomfortable, you can bother him. On the other side of the ball, the Skins have a good defense. They have pretty good CBs and very good pass rushers in Orakpo and rookie Kerrigan. They had trouble stopping the run earlier in the year, but have been better the last 4 or 5 games. The big break for the Giants is that S LaRon Landry is done for the season, so we might look for Eli to attack the soft middle of the field. Nicks killed the Redskins in week 1, so they might give him some extra help, which means that Victor Cruz could be an important player to attack the Redskins weakened S position.

Redskins have not run the ball well this year, but rookie RB Helu has looked good last few weeks.

In summary, Redskins have some weapons and some talent, but are iffy at the QB position and let's face it - they are 4-9. If the Giants play well, they should win. But if they play are not on their game, Redskins could steal the game.

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