Well, it’s finally here. Opening Day! The Giants travel to Washington to take on the division rival Redskins in a 4 p.m. tilt. Obviously it will be a very emotional day, and I pass along all thoughts and prayers to everyone who was, or still is affected by the tragedies of September 11, 2001. I hope you will all join us for the live chat right here on GMENHQ.COM
The Giants enter this season with more questions surrounding their team than in any other season since 2007. That year we had a new defensive coordinator, and some new faces on offense. This year we have injuries to both sides of the ball, and lots of new faces in some key positions. I think what you will see is a faster, quicker, more attacking defense. An offense based, as usual. off the running game, and much improved special teams play.
The Giants go up against a Redskin team that has 8 new starters of their own. Mike Shanahan is building the team he wants, not just working with what was left him. The ‘Skins had a strange pre-season of sorts. They were looking for a starting QB to emerge from their roster, and yet they averaged 145 yards per game on the ground. Seems like an odd way to run a QB battle. They have settled on Rex Grossman, and that gives the Giants an edge. Grossman has the weaker arm of the two choices at QB. He is a streaky player that lives with short to intermediate passes. This will allow the Giants to play a little tighter to the line of scrimmage, and to pressure Rex relentlessly. His receiver corps is not strong with the ageless Santana Moss still being the only deep threat, and tight end Chris Cooley injured. Look for the Redskins to establish Tim Hightower and the running game early, allowing them to run some play action passes a little later in the game.
For the Giants the very predictable Kevin Gilbride might be even more predictable today. The Giants know their strength is at running back, and they will try and get the ball in Jacobs and Bradshaw’s hands as much as possible. They will run screens, wheel routes, and tosses. The key to this offense is going to be the control of the very talented defensive line of the Redskins. Once again look for how the line, tight ends, backs, and even the wide receivers are blocking. Everyone needs to be involved and at least holding their own for this offense to be effective. The play action passes to Nicks and Manningham will be there today with the Redskins missing safety Laron Landry. Hopefully we get some production out of the tight end position, and the combination of Hixon, Cruz, and Devin Thomas from the third receiver spot.
I know most Giants fans will always check off a win next to any game against the Redskins, but this is a different group, and this might be a tougher game than most predict. I still think the Giants prevail today, but this Washington team later in the year will be a major challenge as they develop their players.
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