Redskins Keys To The Game:
Continue To Play Younger Players: Last week a number of younger defensive players stepped up and played very good games. The Redskins should look to build on that as they head into a rebuilding season. I would also like to see some of the young offensive talent get some snaps, particularly at receiver. I would also really look to judge the offensive linemen as no one outside of Trent Williams is 100% safe next season.
Protect Rex Grossman: Speaking of the offensive line, they need to have a strong game today if the Redskins have any shot of winning. The Giants have one of the most feared pass rushes in the NFL, so today will present a major challenge for the offensive line. Washington did have some success running the ball the last time they played, but they were so far out of the game they had to abandon that game plan. If the Redskins can establish the run early, it could slow down the blitz. If they can’t run though and those O-linemen are left alone to protect Grossman it could get ugly fast.
Use Cooley and Davis To Exploit the Giants Secondary: Chris Cooley might have had a game to forget last week, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the performance of the Giants secondary against Green Bay. While the Redskins don’t boast the same offensive talent, they should be able to find holes that they can use to exploit them. I would look to target both Cooley and Fred Davis to find favorable matchups down the field. While Moss and Armstrong can be involved, I think Cooley and Davis can have a lot of success against this defense.
Do Something Unexpected: I would love to see on either offense or special teams a couple of new trick plays. The Redskins can’t match the Giants size, speed and talent, but they can be more prepared. If they do an end around on a kick off or an onside kick when they wouldn’t suspect it, and one or two trick plays on offense they could maybe catch the Giants napping. If they don’t work they don’t work, but if they do it could be the difference in the game.
Tackle the Ball Carrier: In their last game against the Giants the Redskins forgot how to tackle and they ended up giving up 200 yards on the ground. This time the Redskins need to do a much better job of bringing down the runner at first contact (which will hopefully not be 40 yards down the field). Now it has to be a group effort; the defensive line has to at least hold their ground and maybe even penetrate to blow up plays in the backfield. The linebackers need to shed their blocks and wrap up. And the defensive backs need to take better angles to the ball carrier, and if it is Jacobs running go for the legs. None of these things happened the last time they met, and it ended in a disaster for the Skins. The bad news for Washington is it could be harder this time around as the Giants offensive line is healthier than the last time they met. Also, some injuries along the Redskins defense could weaken their ability to hold the point of attack (then again they didn’t do it when they played the last time).
Get Pressure On Manning: While it is a standard key to the game, Eli has really not handled the pressure well this season so it is extra important today. Manning has been interception happy so it could lead to a major shift in field position if they can pick off a few of his passes. Last game he was fairly unscathed, though Orakpo did cause a couple of penalties. The Redskins need to do a much better job if this week if they hope to get the kind of pressure they need.
Prediction: Giants 27-17