They shut the New York Giants down for two quarters, the entire second half, in the opening game of the season. Their quarterback registered his highest rating of the season (101.5) in the first matchup. They scored more points in the first week than in any other week this year. Last week, they nearly pulled out a win against one of the front runners of the AFC, the New England Patriots. Their only win in the NFC has been against the Giants. They have nothing to play for and are out to take down all takers in their final three games. They are the Washington Redskins.
Who Are The Washington Redskins?
They are the team that almost tipped over Tom Brady's apple cart last week. It was arguably their best performance of the year, ending in another disappointing loss for the 'Skins. They have had quarterback controversy, running back woes and a lack of cohesion this season. But make no mistake, there is talent on this team and they aim to prove just that this coming Sunday.
Who Are The New York Giants?
This is a team who had control over its own fate. The opportunity to regain the top spot in the NFC East and a playoff seed was presented to them last week against the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike last year, when they were afforded the brass ring and failed to reach it, they took hold of it and have no plans on letting it go. Keeping hold of it will present a challenge, as the Giants have been struggling in their own right.
Rex Grossman started the season off with a bang. He lead his team to a 3-1 start. Week 7, two weeks after their Bye, Grossman found himself warming up the bench, orders of Mike Shanahan. Backup quarterback, John Beck got the nod to start the next three games, doing absolutely nothing with the opportunity. Ultimately, Shanahan brought Grossman back in as starter. He has only managed to win one game since. He has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season, with third most in the league.
ATT - 348
Comp - 202
YDS - 2426
Comp % - 58.0
Yds/ATT - 7.0
TDs - 12
INT - 16
Sack - 20
QB Rating - 71.8
Rex Grossman is ranked 21st in the NFL.
Eli Manning has been performing with the prowess of a neurosurgeon. He has quieted his critics, made believers out of those who were on the fence and turned the "elite" controversy into a harsh reality. Manning has already thrown for more yards than he has in any of his previous seven seasons. This is the third consecutive year that Manning has thrown for 4,000+ yards. Not only is Eli among the elite quarterbacks in the league, he is now being mentioned in the same sentences as Dan Marino.
ATT - 489
Comp - 303
YDS - 4105
Comp % - 62.0
Yds/ATT - 8.4
TDs - 25
INT - 12
Sack - 21
QB Rating - 95.5
Eli Manning is ranked 4th in the NFL.
Washington's running game was not much to speak of before Week 12. Someone in the 'Skins camp got smart and made an executive decision to give Roy Helu, their 4th round Draft pick, the bulk of the load. Helu has been given 20+ carries in every game since Week 12. He has recorded over 100 yards in each of those games. Had the decision come down earlier in the year, the Redskins might find themselves high up on the stat sheet in the rushing category. The Giants will have to keep their Big Blue wall up whenever they see Helu with the ball.
The Washington Redskins are ranked 31st in rushing.
The running game for the Giants is still the same story as it was in my last Scouting Report. However, Brandon Jacobs managed to run for over 100 yards for the first time since December 13, 2010, last week against the Cowboys. Ahmad Bradshaw, the starting running back, was benched last week for "violation of team rules." Bradshaw, who was out from Week 9-12 due to a broken foot, has not been much of a factor this year. This leaves Brandon Jacobs to carry the brunt of the rushing attack, or lack thereof, for the rest of the season. If he can continue to run as he did last week, the Giants will find themselves in better position for an extended season.
The New York Giants are ranked 32nd, dead last, in rushing.
The Redskins were on track to having two receivers pass the 1,000+ yard mark this season. Fred Davis, who leads Washington with 796 receiving yards, was suspended last week, a ruling which came down from the NFL. Davis and Trent Williams were benched for the final four games of the season for recreational drug use. Dude, wait. What? Jabar Gafney comes in at a close second to Davis with 757 yards. Providing he doesn't go off getting half baked, he should be able to put together his first 1,000 yard season. This is his tenth year in the NFL. These are not the only threats on this team. Santana Moss is also a deep ball danger. This group of receivers is a hodge podge of youth and veteran players. It is also one of the strengths of this team.
The Washington Redskins are ranked 12th in receiving.
There are only two teams in the NFL with a tandem of receivers who each have over 1,000 yards receiving. The New York Giants are one of them. Those two receivers are Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Cruz is ranked third. Nicks is ranked ninth. The Giants have not had two receivers in the top 10 since 1970. The depth in the G-Men's receiving corps is great. They are a multifaceted, multidimensional group of receivers, each one capable of being the go-to guy of the game. This is often the case. In trying to analyze the Giants receivers, the opposition frequently scheme against Cruz and Nicks, thus leaving guys like Mario Manningham or Jake Ballard in the position to become Eli Manning's pitch pal of the game.
The New York Giants are ranked 4th in receiving.
This is one of the youngest offensive lines in the league. There is a combined five years of experience between the center, left guard and left tackle. Keep in mind, that is not a solid five years of playing between them. Trent Williams, the starting left tackle, was one of the two members on this team who was suspended, as previously mentioned. That leaves Sean Locklear, an eight-year veteran, to fill in. The line shuffling and inexperience are the reason that they have allowed the third most quarterback hits in the league (92).
Washington's Offensive Line is ranked 24th.
With the shuffling around that the Giants have had to do recently, they just may have found the elusive formula for Coke Classic. Stacy Andrews was placed in injured reserve due to pulmonary embolisms (blood clots). Will Beatty had to undergo surgery for a detached retina, which put him in the injured reserve list also. David Baas, the starting center, continues to be kept off of the line due to an ongoing investigation into his headache/neck issues. The team fears that it is more serious than the symptoms indicate. These injuries forced the coaching staff to put Kevin Boothe in at center and add Mitch Petrus in at left guard. This version of the O-line has been making things happen. They were able to establish a running game last week and give Eli enough time to make some big plays down the field. This move should find Petrus with the starting job next season.
New York's Offensive Line is ranked 4th.
The Washington Redskins Offense is ranked 17th.
The New York Giants Offense is ranked 7th.
The linebacker position is the strength of this team. London Fletcher, now in his 14th season, is leading the NFL in tackles (134). he has two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 1.5 sacks. With three games left on the season, he could be headed for his best defensive year to date. Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley and Ryan Kerrigan round out this group. They get a decent amount of pressure on an opposing quarterback, but nothing that ranks way up there. These linebackers are a definite concern.
Injuries and inexperience have been the story of the linebacking crew for the Giants this year. Michael Boley has been the stand out performer in this area. Last week, he delivered a rock solid performance against a tough offense. The re-signing of Chase Blackburn may prove to be a wise choice, given the amount of injuries that they Giants have had to contend with. Mathias Kiwanuka has been playing off and on with a neck injury. Still, there is no great pass rush from this crew and it is quite possibly the weakest link in the chain.
The Redskins front three does a respectable job. Their pass rush could use a shot of Red Bull. Their protection against the run could also use some work. While not the best, they're certainly not the worst, far from it. Barry Cofield, ex-Giant, plays in the nose tackle position. This particular scheme does not seem to suit him. His best year to date was last season with the Giants. His worst? This year with the 'Skins.
The Redskins have the 17th ranked rush defense.
Irony, bittersweet irony is the case with the Giants front four. On one hand you have Jason Pierre-Paul, who is the third leading sacker of the defensive lineman in the NFL, fifth overall. He put on a stellar performance last week against the Cowboys, including a blocked field goal which put the kabosh on Dallas' hopes to tie the game and bring it into overtime. You have a talented, but inconsistent, Osi Umenyiora who has been on and off the line due to injury. He is not expected to play on Sunday. Justin Tuck, another talented player in and out with injury. Linval Joseph, Chris Canty ad dave Tollefson, all talented players. yet, for whatever reason, the can not seem to stop the rush on a week to week basis.
The Giants have the 22nd ranked rush defense.
DeAngelo Hall heads up this lot of defensive back. His 79 tackles and 14 pass deflections are nothing to sneeze at. This secondary do a decent job of limiting the opposing receivers. They give up 219.8 yards per game. They could present a problem for the Giants aerial attack this coming Sunday.
Washington's pass defense is ranked 13th.
What can I really say about this group? Eli Manning lead his troops down field last week to come from behind, once again, and put his team in position to win the game. The secondary did everything that they possibly could to lose the game. If the fate of the New York Giants is to be in the playoffs it will not be due to the performance of the secondary, not as they have been playing. Last season, the single weakest area that the Giants had was special teams. This year, it is this secondary. If Big Blue hope to play a few games in January, they'll need to get these guys up to speed, literally.
New York's pass defense is ranked 29th.
Sav Rocca has been earning his keep this year. He is tied for second in punning the ball inside the 20-yard line. Graham Gano's leg has been like iron thus far. His longest field goal of the year has been a 59-yarder. He has had his troubles but has been solid, for the most part. Brandon Banks leads the league in punt return yards (1,021). He is also second in fumbling said returns. The kid is a mixed blessing. They are ranked 14th in punt returns and third in kick returns.
Devin Thomas and Da'Rel Scott have been getting the bulk of the returns this year. The return game has not been the same since Domenik Hixon was injured during the first practice of the preseason last year. But it has improved vastly from 2010. Steve Weatherford has been doing a bang up job on punting, while Lawrence Tynes continues to be a reliable part of this team. The G-Men are ranked 29th in punt returns and seventh in kick returns.
The Washington Redskins defense is ranked 10th.
The New York Giants defense is ranked 30th.
The New York Giants find themselves, once again, with their destiny in their own hands. They sit atop of the NFC East and currently hold the 4th seed in the playoff race. With three games left to the season and a rematch in Week 17 with the Dallas Cowboys, things can go either way. Coming into this week with the mindset that the game against the Redskins is a "trap game" would prove to a be a fatal error.
Things are not so bleak, though. The remainder of the Giants games are at home, despite the New York Jets having home field advantage in Week 16. If the G-Men can keep their eyes on the prize and stay out of their own way, they just might be able to find their way to something bigger this season.