Giants (6-9) vs Redskins (3-12)
Cowboys beat the Redskins last week, but they had to really earn it. It took a
come from behind effort by Tony Romo in the fourth quarter to overcome a nine
point deficit, and with a touchdown in the final minute they took down the Redskins
Sunday the Giants came up with an unexpected victory over the heavily favored
Detroit Lions. The 23-20 overtime win knocked the Lions out of contention, and
it showed that the Giants will play and give it their all against any team despite
records or standings.
Last year around this time the
Redskins were wrapping up the NFC East after reeling off seven straight wins.
Their last game was a 28-18 victory over the Dallas Cowboys and it earned them
their first division title since 1999. It was a thrilling season for the loyal
fans after going through four straight years of seeing their team finish up last
in the division. Now, despite the outcome of this final season game with the Giants,
they're back in the basement once again. No team in the NFC has a worse win-loss
record and only the Houston Texans in the AFC has one less win, with all the rest
having at least one more. The Redskins are the only team in both leagues to have
no victories over an opponent in their own division. That's about all they have
in their own power to change, with a victory over the Giants on Sunday.
Robert Griffin III
was the star of this team last year and was voted the Offensive Rookie of the
Year. Now he is no longer the starting quarterback.
Griffin played in the last game against the Giants, but since then backup quarterback
Kirk Cousins has been moved into his spot. Cousins will be making his third straight
start this season. He had started in only one other game last year when Griffin
was out with a sprained right knee and Cousins kept the team's winning streak
alive with a 38-21 win over Cleveland. Cousins has thrown four touchdowns and
three interceptions in these last two games, both close losses.
leads all the receivers in the league with 107 receptions and is definitely Cousins
go-to guy on the field. Cousins targeted him 10 times in his first start in Atlanta
and 18 times last week against Dallas. Santana Moss was next on Cousin's list
in that game and saw only 4 balls tossed his way. The 13-year veteran is still
very dangerous and shouldn't be overlooked.
Moss and upcoming Aldrick Robinson
drew much more attention in Cousin's first outing, but that really dropped off
last game. Running back Alfred Morris is fifth in the league with 1,213 rushing
yards, but gained just 26 yards last game against the Giants. Morris got the ball
just 9 times in the first half and only twice in the second in that loss even
though he was healthy and wondering why himself. That raised questions, but just
add that to the list coach Mike Shanahan will be answering if he's still around
hit Tony Romo with two sacks and an interception and did much more damage to him
that became very apparent after last weeks game, but they still let a nice 23-14
fourth quarter lead disappear and lost the game. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is having
a great season and leads this team with four interceptions including the one he
had last week. Barry Cofield, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo are all solid performers
up front. Orakpo took advantage of Giants left tackle Will Beatty last time the
two teams met and Eli Manning was under the gun. Orakpo is hurt with a strained
groin and might not play in this game.
They know they need to keep pressure
on Manning because they have a weak secondary to protect. They are just about
the worst team in redzone protection. If you get there, two out of three times
you'll score a touchdown. Last week they were winning a game after dropping six
in a row, and had linebacker London Fletcher, likely playing in the last home
game of his Redskins career. Even with that inspiration they couldn't bring joy
to themselves or the stadium fans. Eight of these eleven defensive starters are
positioned to be free agents after this game is over. Who knows where their minds
will be while they play it.
Eli Manning was spot on last time
using play-action passes against the Redskins. Those plays resulted in one touchdown
while averaging 16 yards an attempt. In this meeting Manning is without Victor
Cruz his top wide receiver. Jerrel Jernigan stepped up last week and was the top
receiver catching six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. Guard David Diehl is
expected back to help the line after missing the Detroit game with a knee injury.
Left tackle Will Beatty will find the Redskins pass rush on him since he was a
weak point in their last game.
The running back situation is tricky to say
the least. Rookie Michael Cox could be the
starter since Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis are both being treated for concussions.
Both of them are better blockers for Manning's passing game. Last
week you saw Manning rolling out of the pocket to take some of the heat off his
patchworked offensive line. Manning and Brandon Myers have been connecting and
the Redskin defense could afford an opportunity for Hakeem Nicks to haul in his
first touchdown catch of the season in the final game. Nicks and Manning almost
connected for one last week.
Justin Tuck had four sacks in
a span of seven offensive plays in his last outing against these Redskins and
that may have helped to inspire a quarterback change shortly after. To be fair
Robert Griffin III was chewing up this defense
completing 16 of 17 passes in the first half, but defensive coordinator Perry
Fewell must have figured something out. That's all changed now with a pocket passer
like Cousins in there except that top receiver Pierre Garcon was then for Griffin
and still is now the main target. He's had at least five catches in every game
including his season-high 11 catches for 144 yards last week. On Garcon's mind
should be the fact that safety Will Hill wrestled
the ball from him after a catch near midfield with less than two minutes remaining
to help seal the Giants victory a few weeks ago.
Last week against Detroit,
Mathias Kiwanuka came up with two sacks and a forced fumble. Kiwanuka, Tuck, Cullen
Jenkins and Linval Joseph will be looking to put big pressure on a quarterback
who doesn't have many starts to his name and is prone to throwing interceptions.
The Giants have an alert secondary led by Antrel Rolle and just last game Will
Hill snatched a deflected ball and took it 38 yards for a touchdown. Defensive
end Jason Pierre-Paul will not play, and so has missed the final five games of
the season with his shoulder injury. Tuck will be a free agent and this could
be his final game in a Giants uniform.
Giants came away with a 24-17 victory the last time these two teams met up a few
short weeks ago. The Giants then dropped two games to San Diego and Seattle before
achieving their 23-20 overtime upset over Detroit last week. The Redskins dropped
a game to Kansas City, switched their starting quarterback to Kirk Cousins and
then continued their losing streak with close one point losses to Atlanta and
Dallas last week. It's been a tough season for both teams, but the Redskins are
nursing a long seven game losing streak and have had way too many distractions.
It's hard to envision the visiting Redskins being very motivated for this last
game of the season except to have their nightmare finally end.
On Sunday the Giants play the Redskins
at 1pm. Later on at 8:30pm the Cowboys (8-7) host the Eagles (9-6) in the final
game of the season, to see which team will own the NFC East title. The Giants
and Eagles are favored to win in their games.
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Giants have turned the ball over 41 times,
the most in the NFL.
Giants Eli Manning
has set a career high with a league-worst 26 interceptions..
will finish with their first losing season since going 6-10 in Tom Coughlin's
first year in 2004.
Redskins Pierre Garcon
has a franchise-record 107 receptions.
will finish last for the fifth time in six seasons.Redskins
Mike Shanahan will close out the season with his worst record in 20 seasons as
a head coach.
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