The Giants lost to the Redskins on opening day by the score of 28-14. I won’t kid you, the loss hurt, as we thought that the Giants were much better than the ‘Skins. The Redskins now pay a return visit to Jersey with a 4-9 record, while the Giants are fighting for the NFC East championship (face it, the wild card slot is likely out of the question. While the Redskins record is not that impressive, it’s better than is indicated. They’ve played alot of games close, and nearly beat the Patriots. More after the jump.From the Giants’ perspective, the injury situation has been well documented. The only positive point to come out of it is that Mitch Petrus has proven to be an absolute beast as a run blocker. It’s probably no coincidence that the G-Men’s rushing attack started to improve when he got the starting nod. His pass blocking needs work, but that will come with practice and playing time. Eli Manning continues to light up the oppenets’ pass defense. This is fortunate this week, as the Redskins’ secondary is the only weak link in a decent defense. Coach Shanahan has gained by getting rid of Albert Haynesworth and signing former Giant Barry Cofield. London Fletcher is having a pro bowl season. The story is the same, the Giants must establish the run, which should free up the pass. If that doesn’t work, they’ll do the reverse; use the passing game to establish the run. After the ‘Skins got “Gronkowski’ed” last week, we should probably look for Jake Ballard to be a major target for Eli.
When the Redskins have the ball, the Giants must stop rookie find Roy Helu. In the past three games, filling in for the injured free agent star signee Tim Hightower, he has rushed for over 100 yards in three games. If Perry Fewell can’t figure out how to get his defense together, Helu could well have another big game. What might help the Giants in this endeavor is that both of Washington’s starting offensive tackles are out. One of them is suspended, and the other one injured himself by pulling his groin muscle in pre-game warm-ups. That’s not what I meant, so everyone wipe those smirks off of your faces. If the Redskins can’t get their ground game started, it will allow the G-Men to put pressure on Rex Grossman, who has turned into an all-pro against NY in the last two games, with two TD’s and over three hundred yards passing in each contest. Dallas tried to block Jason Pierre Paul one on one, and got barbequed for it. Look for the “Skins to slow down JPP with either double teams, chip blocks, or any other tactic that would reduce the pressure. The Redskins’ tight ends can do alot of damage, so the Giants’ linebackers must play better than they have been.
The Giants’ secondary plays defense like a bunch of Navy recruits from the 1970′s; it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure. The Cowboys took advantage of the Giants’ inability to cover anybody, and we escaped with a win. If the Giants can get pressure on Grossman, this will help things. Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster both beg to deiffer on how badly Dez Bryant beat them on the 50 yard pass play, so let’s see if the anger can translate into improved play.
Lastly, we come to special teams. The Giants punting and kickoff units are steady and solid, and shouldn’t give cause for concern. Lawrebnce Tynes is having a good year, which he attributes, in part, to the warmer weather. Now that it’s getting cold outside, we will see if he can still make the long kicks. The return game is still suspect, but it hasn’t killed us. Lastly, I’ll go with superstition again. Last week I shaved off the ‘stache that I grew for charity and avoided watching the game. The result? A Giants win. I’ll shave again, and find other things to do. Bottom line: the Giants are fighting for a palyoff spot, and the Redskins are playing for pride and the spoiler’s role. I think the Giants want it more. NY 31-17.