Week 7: Washington Redskins At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Redskins have probably gotten more than they had the right to expect when they made Robert Griffin III the No. 2 pick in the draft this spring. He was sensational in leading the Redskins to a win over the tough Minnesota Vikings. His brilliant athleticism was the difference in that game and he throws the ball with accuracy and velocity.Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner and he continues to play with focus and concentration. He played error-free football in the one-sided win at San Francisco. Manning will take what the defense gives him early, but if the Giants need him to make a big throw in the fourth quarter, he never falters.
- OffenseThe Redskins have become a strong and aggressive team on the offensive side of the ball. The run is always a threat with RGIII taking snaps, but running back Alfred Morris is a powerful and dependable runner on his own. Santana Moss is the Redskins’ go-to receiver in clutch situations. Tight end Fred Davis knows how to use his big body to screen out defenders and make key catches.The Giants have made a commitment to return to the run after finishing 32nd in that category a year ago. Ahmad Bradshaw followed his 200-yard effort against Cleveland by rushing for 116 yards against the stout 49ers. Wide receiver Victor Cruz can be counted on to make at least one big play every game and Hakeem Nicks returned from a foot injury and caught three passes vs. the Niners.
- DefenseThe Redskins are not the most efficient defensive team and they will make more than their share of errors. That will be problematic against an upper-echelon team like the Giants. However, the Redskins play hard and will take advantage of any lapse by New York. Opportunistic defensive back Madieu Williams had an interception for a touchdown against the Vikings.The Giants played their best game of the season is pounding the 49ers. The defense punished San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith and never let the Niners’ ground game get going. The Giants’ explosive front four was dominant. Jason Pierre-Paul had 2.0 sacks, while Mathias Kiwanuka and Linval Joseph each contributed one sack. The Giants added two other sacks and they registered three interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins went with new kicker Kai Forbath because Billy Cundiff had been so unreliable. Forbath made a 50-yard field goal on his first attempt in a Redskin uniform. Punter Sav Rocca looked ordinary while averaging 38.3 yards on three punts against the Vikings.The Giants had an excellent special teams performance in the win over the Niners. While placekicker Lawrence Tynes made 4-of-5 FG attempts, punter Steve Weatherford averaged 49.8 yards on four punts. Speedy rookie David Wilson had a 66-yard kickoff return.
The Giants edges at the quarterback and special teams spots are quite narrow and this game could be a lot closer than expected. The Redskins swept the Giants in the season series last year and they have plenty of momentum after beating the Vikings in Week Six. The Giants have few weak spots over the remaining weeks and must take the Redskins seriously.