Redskins-Giants: The basics

Redskins-Giants: The basics
December 17, 2011, 2:29 pm
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A look at the Redskins-Giants game:

When: 1 p.m., Sunday.

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: FOX (Joe Buck and Troy Aikman). Pre-game coverage on Comcast SportsNet starts at 11:30 a.m.

Radio: ESPN 980 AM, WWXX 94.3 FM, WWXT 92.7 FM (Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff).

Records: Redskins 4-9, Giants 7-6.

Last week: The Redskins lost to New England 34-27; the Giants won at Dallas 37-34.

Line: Giants by 6.5.

Injuries: Redskins Out: RT Jammal Brown (groin), FBTE Mike Sellers (elbow). Probable: DE Stephen Bowen (knee), S Reed Doughty (rib), LB London Fletcher (ankle), P Sav Rocca (ankle), WR Donte Stallworth (ankle). Giants Out: C David Bass (neck), TE Travis Beckum (chest), LB Mark Herzlich (ankle), S Derrick Martin (back), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankleknee). Questionable: DE Justin Tuck (toe). Probable: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring), S Kenny Phillips (knee).

With three games remaining, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has already set a career-high in passing yards (4,105) as New York has shifted from a smash-mouth team to an offense that features its receivers.

Hes a completely different animal right now, Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said of Manning, a former teammate. Hes playing unbelievable. If he would have played that well last year, we might have given Green Bay a run for their money.

Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both merit Pro Bowl attention both are over 1,000 yards receiving. The challenge for the Redskins, who gave up a season-high in passing yards last week against New England, is pressuring Manning into back-foot and on-the-run passes that he puts up for grabs.

Redskins running back Roy Helu was given an opportunity to carry the load three weeks ago at Seattle and hes literally run with it three consecutive 100-yard rushing games (a Redskins rookie record) and an ability to handle all situations.

Helu is no longer a secret but that hasnt stopped him but the Giants are a dreadful 30th in yards allowed so the opportunities should present him with chances to gain yards.

A key is not falling behind early and having to rely on the passing game. The Redskins should stick with the three-receivertwo-running back personnel groupings that were so effective last week. It spread the field and created running lanes and that made play action effective.

The Redskins surprised the Patriots last week by putting Brandon Banks on the field (first time all year), handing him the football and letting him throw it 49 yards to Santana Moss for a touchdown.

Now its time for the special teams to open the playbook. Two years ago, punter Hunter Smith scored on a touchdown off a fake field goal and later that season, there was the Swinging Gate Debacle.

Alas, the opponent is the Giants so its time for Mike Shanahan to tell Danny Smith that on the first fourth-and-short situation in decent field position to have punter Sav Rocca turn into the Australian Bull-Dozer.

Osi Umenyiora is out and Justin Tuck is questionable but that doesnt mean New Yorks pass rush shouldnt be a concern for the Redskins re-configured (again) offensive line.

The Giants have 36 sacks this year and Jason Pierre-Paul has developed into a start with a team-high 12.5 sacks.

Expect JPP to test rookie left tackle Willie Smith and fill-in right tackle Tyler Polumbus. Both were adequate last week against New England aside from Smith getting beat by Andre Carter for a sackfumbletouchdown.

Prediction: Giants 30-24.

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