The 4-9 Redskins have played much better than their record indicates in recent weeks, they have a stout defense, and they will be at home. The 7-6 Giants? Well, we should know by now that we just don't know with this team.
Will the defense show up, or will it just play the role of sieve as it has so many times this season?
What part of the special teams will cost the Giants points this week? C'mon, we know one of them will.
Can the offense, playing against a good Redskin defense, score enough points to make up for all the shortcomings around it?
Who knows. The Giants need to win, and they should win. But, things are different for each of these teams than they were in Week 1, when the Giants won, 23-17.
With all of that said, let's run through our usual 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style preview.
There will be lots of 'Kudos' Tuesday if ...
- The Giants win in the Red Zone. This will not be easy. The Giants have the league's worst-ranked defense and 25th-ranked offense in that area of the field. So, bluntly, they have been terrible. Washington, on the other hand, has the league's best defense and ninth-ranked offense in the Red Zone. Ominous numbers the Giants must find a way to neutralize.
- The defense shows up. Two weeks ago against Dallas Bill Sheridan's group played much more like the unit we expected to see this season. Last week against Philadelphia the defense reverted to the unit we have seen more often than not the last eight weeks. No pass rush, putrid coverage, blown assignments and no big plays. The Redskins offense is not great, and the Giants can't afford to make it look that way.
- The Giants can run the ball, at least a little. The Redskins are 23rd in the league against the run. We all know, though, that they will stack the box and try to take Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw away from the Giants. Kevin Gilbride and the Giants have to run enough not to be one-dimensional against an excellent Redskins pass rush.
Eli Manning has a big day. Seems like this is always the case with this version of the Giants. Offensively, they will ride the right arm of Manning and the big-play ability of their exciting group of young wide receivers.
There will be lots of 'Wet Willies' Tuesday if ...
- The Giants can't handle Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter. The bookend Redskin defensive ends have been what Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were supposed to be -- the most dominant duo of pass-rushing ends in the league. They both have 11 sacks, making Washington the only team in the league with two players in double-digits. Rookie Will Beatty will have to deal with Carter, and David Diehl will have to handle Orakpo. If those guys are in the backfield all day, Eli won't be able to create the big plays the Giants will need.
- The special teams break down -- again. It seems like every week some area of the special teams falls flat on its face. Last week it was punt coverage, surrendering a touchdown to DeSean Jackson. I would hope for more, but I will settle for the Giants at least not making any huge special teams miscues.
- The Giants can't get pressure. Ugh! Again, we need to talk about this. Redskins QB Jason Campbell has posted two straight weeks of 100+ quarterback ratings and has 17 touchdown passes. He might not have a future in Washington, but he isn't exactly JaMarcus Russell. If the Giants don't make him uncomfortable, I have no doubt he will torch the team's beleaguered secondary.