If the New York Giants want to put away the threat of the Washington Redskins regarding their bid for the NFC East title and the playoffs in general, they need to beat the team revived by Robert Griffin III for a second time this season, with Monday Night Football being the battleground for the next chapter in this rivalry.
There are a few factors that will decide this game. Robert Griffin III, probably the most exciting player on the field no matter who the Redskins are playing, needs to be even better than he was the first time these two teams met this season (October 21), when the Giants won with a late touchdown by Victor Cruz 27-23.
Griffin finished with 258 yards for two touchdowns and ran for 89 more, but he also threw an interception that in hindsight might have been the difference between a win and a loss and a very different situation in the division. Griffin’s numbers have been un-rookiesque in 2012 so far, and not just because of his rushing numbers, with 642 yards on 100 carries to go along with his six touchdowns.
The most impressive thing about Griffin and the Redskins’ playcalling is the fact that he has only 4 interceptions up to this point, completing 67.4% of his passes, which is good enough for 4th in the NFL. No full time starting quarterback has thrown less interceptions than him this season, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady tied with him at 4 interceptions.
But it’s going to take more than Griffin and Alfred Morris (982 yards, 6 touchdowns), the Redskins’ rookie crew, to find themselves at .500 once again. Their defense, which gives up big plays and allow over 301 passing yards per game. Eli Manning was having a rough time before the bye week, but looked accurate and focused in the win over the Green Bay Packers, showing a good mix of passing with play action to go with 147 yards of rushing.
The biggest danger when it comes to the Giants is their front four unit, which has gotten 16 sacks over the last six weeks. Exceptionally dangerous? Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck accounting for 7.0. The Giants showed a big Nickel package vs the Packers to try and take away the deep ball from Rodgers, and they should mix that up quite often in their attempts to hold down Griffin. As dangerous as his running game is, he is excellent when it comes to big passes, especially when he sees five or more pass rushers coming at him.
Prediction – The Giants need their front four to dominate and make life easier for Eli Manning, who is struggling when the running game isn’t working this season. RG3 is in for a big game, and the Redskins’ form of late should give them that extra something that was missing when they lost by 4 to the up & down Giants.