Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants-Redskins Rematch Preview
Following last Sunday’s unspeakably important win in Dallas, the Giants, with their destiny firmly in their own control, come home to face the hapless Redskins. An easy win that keeps the G-Men on track to win the NFC-East? C’mon son. Have you learned nothing? Such a game doesn’t exist.
It’s weird. The farther removed we get from last Sunday’s triumph over the Cowboys, the more impressed I am with it. In the midst of a four game losing streak, down twelve with less than six minutes left, having just seen your secondary try to defend against the Cowboys the way Dr. Grant defends against T-Rex’s in Jurassic Park – “Don’t move, they can’t see you if you don’t move” – it would have been easy for the G-Men to roll over and begin the offseason. But they didn’t. They showed some resiliency, fought back, and won the game. Sure, we could sit here and examine the fact that the Giants looked at times to be playing without a single defensive back, or that the receivers dropped far too many balls (looking at you Manningham – though to be fair if he doesn’t drop that ball the Giants lose), or that if Tony Romo doesn’t pick his second to last possession of the game to become, well…Tony Romo, then the G-Men go back down twelve and kiss the season goodbye. But that’s not as fun. I choose to look at the fact that Big Blue ran the ball well and that once again Eli Manning showed why he’s a top quarterback in this league.
So now the Giants are 8-6. They’re atop their division and begin a season ending three-game run with a home game against the Redskins. The sad, sad Redskins. After such a promising start, including an opening day win against the Giants, the Redskins’ season has fallen apart. What started out a 3-1 dream has devolved into a 4-10 nightmare. They started Rex Grossman. Then they benched Rex Grossman. Then started him again. They’ve yo-yoed between a stable of barely named running backs (not quite no-named) and have had two starters suspended for substance abuse violations.
Easy victory, right? Show up, get the W. Move on to the Jets. Yeah? Oh what’s that Admiral Ackbar? You have something to say?
You heard the Admiral right. Be very careful Giant fans. This is a dangerous, dangerous game. Much like the debacle that was the Giants’ loss to Charlie Whitehurst and the Porn-stache’s (new nickname for those Seattle Seahawks, also a great band name), the Giants come into this game off an emotional, hard fought, impressive, Eli Manning just pulled a victory out of his butt, win on the road. If you can remember, before the Seahawk fiasco the Giants had just beaten the Cardinals in the Victor Cruz “fumblerooski” game.
The Redskins, despite the anemic record, have really been playing decent football of late. They took the Cowboys to overtime and played three quarters of great ball against the Jets, before having the game broken open in the fourth. Last week they gave the mighty Patriots all they could handle, only succumbing to a loss when, inside the Pats’ ten yard line, Santana Moss ended the potential game tying drive by tossing the ball to New England linebacker Jerod Mayo. Bottom line, the Redskins have a top ten defense, and Roy Helu – who the hell is Roy Helu? – and Rex Grossman 2.0 have actually given this Washington offense some life. The Giants are the superior team, but coming off the emotional win Sunday night in Dallas, at home, against an inferior team with two huge games looming after that? This has inexplicable, crushing loss written all over it.
Does that mean they will lose? Certainly not. I just felt it my duty to help prepare everyone for that possibility. If the G-Men are to avoid such a catastrophe the game plan will be simple. Offensively, it starts on the ground. I think on Sunday the Giants proved that when they’re committed to it, they can run the ball. These past few weeks Brandon Jacobs has been running like a man whose trying to make everyone forget about how much he cried about playing time – and it’s working. With Bradshaw back in the fold that running game really looked impressive, and we know what the passing game has been doing. With a good mix of run and pass, I can’t see this Redskins defense stopping the Giants.
Defensively: Look, just don’t lose the game…please? It’s become abundantly clear to me that the Giants defense plays nothing but a strict cover zero. By that, I don’t that they play man coverage with no safety help. I mean that they cover zero people. Zero. The Redskins offense, while not dynamic, will have success. Why? Because you don’t have to be dynamic to move the ball on the Giants. You just have to be…as in, you just have to exist. The G-men need to recognize that and commit their linebackers and defensive line to stopping the run. You can’t stop the pass no matter what, so don’t commit people to that feudal effort and let something you can stop beat you. Stop the run, rush the passer, and let Jason Pierre-Paul do his thing. Disrupt Rex Grossman enough that your offense has a chance, that’s all you need to do.
As for my thoughts on how the game will shake out, I think we’re in for a close one. The Giants have only had one easy win this season – the Rams – and even that was closer than it should have been. I think there’s a real chance that the Giants could look flat early in the game and allow the Redskins to hang around throughout. I won’t be surprised if the Redskins win. Still, I’ve really liked the mentality of this Giants team the past two weeks. They’ve fought hard in each game, against impossible odds in both, and there’s just something about Eli Manning this season. If it’s close, it’s hard to see him not pulling his team to a win. I think the Giants use a good mix of run and pass and have a lot of success on offense. Defensively, it won’t be pretty but it will be better than last week. They’ll do enough. In the end, Manning will have to do it again late – maybe not from behind, maybe he’ll just have to put the game out of reach – and I think he does. Closer than it should be: 30 – 27 Giants.
Check back here for my recap of the game. Go Giants!