Point-Counterpoint: Do the Redskins Need to Win Next 2 Games Against Giants & Steelers?
By Staff Writer John Manuel & Steve Shoup:
JOHN – POINT:
Sundays exciting win over the Minnesota Vikings by the Redskins has put them right back into the division race. While most of DC is still talking about the third down 76 yard touchdown run by Robert Griffin III, the team must now get ready for what should be their toughest two game road trip of the season. First facing the Super Bowl champion Giants who just dismantled the 49ers and then to Pittsburgh to face the always tough Steelers.
With most of the NFC bunched up around 3-3, can the Redskins afford to come back home at 3-5? Or is it a question of do they have a chance to come back with at least a split?
The NFC East has been unpredictable so far as the Giants lead but sit at 0-2 in the division already. The Eagles and Cowboys have more questions than answers so far, so would 3-5 still mark a potential end of the Skins?
STEVE – COUNTERPOINT:
Well the Redskins did already take care of the most important thing, and that is breaking their home losing streak. If they had lost to the Vikings, not only would they be 2-4, and facing a possibility of returning home 2-6, but it would have been a major distraction around their neck. Also, it would have put the Vikings firmly above them in the NFC standings.
The Redskins do face long odds these next two weeks, but I wouldn’t yet say that they have to at least split. Though a split would be ideal, as you said the NFC is pretty bunched up right now. If a couple surprise teams fall off (Cards, Vikings, Seahawks), a wild card spot could be had at 9-7.
If you think that is the case then a 3-5 record would mean the Redskins have two more losses to play with. If those teams don’t fall off, then you might need 10 wins to secure a playoff spot, in which case a split would be needed.
How do you see the NFC shaping up? Will a 9 win team get a wild card spot this year?
As of right now I do think there is a good chance that a 9 win team does slip into that second wildcard. Problem for the Redskins is that would bring a team like the Saints back in the picture. Even though they beat them in some kind of 3 or 4 way tie, that would only matter in conference record. After the Falcons and Bears it is a huge group of teams that look great one week and struggle the next. I was big on Chicago to start the season and am sticking with them. As for the ATL I have not yet considered them a favorite yet.
As for the mess of teams, still believe in SF, GB, and the Giants. Which means for the Skins it’s a case of battling for the 2nd wildcard behind the Packers or division with the Giants. Beating New York this week would be huge to drop them to 0-3 in the East. Skins won there last year but we have seen some really poor efforts in the past. But those teams had McNabb, Campbell, and Brunell under center not Griffin.
To get to 10 though gotta get one of these two and might as do it this Sunday and not leave it hanging. Based on Grossman going 2-0 against New York last year, with RG3 we can’t lose, right?
I’d like to think that 9-7 can make it, but it may be tougher than I first thought. Right now the Giants, Bears, Falcons and 49ers are the favorites in their divisions. While they could obviously collapse entirely, they appear to be pretty safe playoff bets. That means you have to bank on that just one of the following occurs: The Vikings, Cards, Seahawks win 6 games, the Packers and Eagles win 7, or a team like the Saints, Cowboys, Lions go on a major run. There are a lot of scenarios where the Skins would have to win 10 games when you break it down. Regardless one thing is very clear and that is the Redskins need to take care of business this week. While a split either way would be nice, beating the Giants helps big time in terms of tie breakers, and would even put the Redskins atop the division.
Though the Steelers would be a nice consolation prize, it doesn’t come close to comparing to what this week means for the Redskins. Hopefully Griffin can be the difference for the Redskins against a red hot NY team, but it won’t be easy. Eli Manning has been playing great football and that is despite missing his top receiver for much of the year. I don’t know how the Redskins defense stops the Giants passing attack, so Griffin and the offense are going to have to have perhaps their best performance to date.
I agree with you on Manning’s play this season but for some reason he has had a couple really bad efforts versus the Skins at home. Although I am quite reaching, because one was going back to the Gibbs’ days and that Sunday nighter where he set the incompletion record. Although he has limited it the past few years, Eli can throw some to the other team and our defense has to make sure they take advantage of those.
Plus, it’s our time “your boy” Brandon Banks does something on a return or two. The more we go on this the more you have sold me on how huge a victory this would be. Which would also give us momentum heading to Pittsburgh the following week to face the Steelers.
Right now I feel this is a winnable game at Heinz Field but that may change seven days from now. The Steelers defense much like the Ravens isn’t the typical Steelers or Ravens defenses of the past decade. Big Ben and the Steelers passing game will worry me but I am more fearful of Manning and the Giants throwing on the Skins this week. Pittsburgh has seen two turnover prone QBs at Heinz Field so far in Vick and Sanchez and so far Griffin has done an exceptional job of protecting the football. How do you see this game at Pittsburgh going?
I too think Brandon Banks will do something on a return sooner rather than later, unfortunately I think that thing will be turning the ball over to the other team. Hopefully the Giants kick the ball out of bounds every time like the Vikings.
As for the Steelers game I think a lot of it could come down to the injury report. The Steelers offensive line is already without 1st round rookie David DeCastro, and could be missing both RT Marcus Gilbert and C Maurkice Pouncey. If both of those linemen are out then getting pressure on Roethlisberger will be easier, if they play then giving the Steelers QB time to find Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller versus our secondary is troubling. Defensively the Steelers may be missing Troy Polumalu and LB Lawerence Timmons, if they are out it would open up quite a bit of ground for RGIII both through the air and on the ground. If Pittsburgh is fully healthy than I like their odds, if not it definitely could be a game the Redskins take.
No confidence in Banks still, not surprising. And what’s the latest on your buddy Jammal Brown since I know you guys probably talk on a daily basis. I heard you guys met up last week to see Taken 2?
Speaking of Brown, the offensive line will need to show up the next two weeks. Then again, if you asked me to name our starting five last season at Met Life Stadium I probably couldn’t and we won.
I expect more from the Giants front four Sunday and hopefully our fellas are prepared. My final hope is that the Giants do their annual midseason semi-noise dive starting Sunday when their fans call for Coughlin’s head only to turn it around at the end of season and then their fans call him the greatest coach of all time. Happens every year (ask Vinnie, Paulie, Vinnie #2 and Joey) and now would be great time to see a losing streak for the Giants.
The best news about these two games is that Jammal Brown won’t be playing, the bad news is whatever leverage he and Brandon Banks have on Mike Shanahan could force himself back in the line-up later in this season. Which is why winning these next two games is paramount to keeping the Redskins playoff hopes alive!
My hope for this Giants game is that they take the Redskins lightly, after coming off a big win versus the 49ers and looking ahead to a rematch versus the Cowboys. Though the Redskins and RGIII are quickly getting on everyone’s radar, I wouldn’t be surprised if New York is a little flat when they come out to play Sunday, because as you said they are notorious for mid-year mistakes.