Redskins vs. Giants: 10 Keys to the Game for New York
Behind a tough run defense, strong offensive line play and a dynamic passing game, the New York Giants have really found their stride, winning four of their last five games. Big Blue ranks third in the NFL in total offense, while Manning is third in passing yardage.
Still, topping the Robert Griffin III-led 'Skins is no easy task, and Washington's second-ranked scoring offense could cause problems for New York's inconsistent secondary.
Sunday's matchup will be a big one, as both teams continue to vie for the division title. Check out 10 keys to the game for the G-Men.
Get TE Martellus Bennett Involved Early
Martellus Bennett's physicality at the second level gives the defending Super Bowl champs a dangerous new dimension on offense. Getting the outspoken tight end involved in the offensive game plan is essential against a blitz-happy Redskins defense.
Bennett hit the end zone in his first three games as a Giant, but he has been held in check ever since. Working with Bennett establishes a game tempo and opens up the vertical pass later on.
Remain Committed to the Run
This one's a no-brainer.
The Giants topped 200 total rushing yards against Cleveland in Week 5, and they churned out 151 more last Sunday.
Rookie David Wilson provides game-changing agility, while starting halfback Ahmad Bradshaw has been hitting holes hard since his return from a neck injury.
Still, this Redskins secondary is bad, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall has allowed the second-most receptions of eligible defensive backs. With Bradshaw a bit hobbled by a Week 6 foot injury, the Giants will be temped to air it out all afternoon.
New York's October hot streak can be attributed to a balanced offensive attack. The Giants have to commit to the ground on Sunday to avoid becoming one-dimensional.
Don't Rely on the Blitz
A much-maligned Giants front four came alive Sunday, and Big Blue will need another big game from its star-studded D-line.
Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris hit the edge with serious speed, and the Redskins will surely make the Giants pay for over-pursuing. New York will need a stable level of linebackers to limit the big play.
A closing pocket means little to Griffin, who's averaging nearly seven yards a carry under center. The Giants will be in trouble if they rely on sending extra pass-rushers.
Keep S Antrel Rolle over the Top
Safety Antrel Rolle came away with two interceptions last week, but he has been plagued by inconsistency all year. Rolle struggles when lined up in the nickel, often finding himself out of position on long pass plays.
The Giants need to keep their playmaking safety over the top to limit the vertical game of wideouts Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon. When Rolle tracked Corey Webster over the top last week, it generated turnovers.
Trying to do too much with Rolle, however, could make this game much closer than it should be.
Use the Play-Action
Another obvious one here, but the play-action will go along way against an inexperienced, aggressive Redskins defense.
With the Giants offense looking good through the air and on the ground, opening the play-action should yield big stat lines for Manning and his receivers.
Spread DE Jason Pierre-Paul
The Redskins offense will look to hit the flat early and often, and the Giants can combat Washington's fast-paced short game by keeping their most athletic defensive player spread wide.
"JPP" has held his ground in run defense, short coverage and, of course, in pass rush. Using him in spies, zones and disguised stunts will keep Robert Griffin III on his toes.
Sacrificing some of Pierre-Paul's pass-rush ability for a well-rounded game plan could pay huge dividends in this one.
Give More Carries to RB David Wilson
Rookie David Wilson continues to make a splash on kick returns, while he's bumped his YPC average up to 5.8.
Wilson's agile cuts and blazing speed make him a game-changer, and the Giants need to get him involved as much as possible Sunday. With Ahmad Bradshaw likely limited, Wilson should be ready for an augmented work load.
The Giants have yet to really work Wilson in the screen game either.
Don't Hyperfocus on RGIII
There's no doubt that dual-threat QB Robert Griffin III is emerging as one of the NFL's most explosive talents. Still, the Giants would be foolish to focus all of their game plan around him.
The Redskins can still gas opponents with their physical set of wideouts, athletic tight end Fred Davis and speedy tailback Alfred Morris. Using additional spies or blitzers could create serious mismatches elsewhere.
Griffin's performance will likely dictate the outcome of Sunday's game. Still, there are plenty of other key Redskins who could show up this week, and the Giants can't completely lock in on one player.
Keep RT David Diehl at the Jumbo Spot
David Diehl took 13 snaps last week in his return from a Week 2 ankle sprain, and he should continue to see reps in the "jumbo" position Sunday.
While Diehl is one of New York's most versatile linemen, the Giants have found cohesion up front with veteran Sean Locklear manning the right side.
The Giants didn't allow a single sack to a formidable San Francisco pass rush last week. Slowly working Diehl back into the fold is the right call here.
Extend WR Hakeem Nicks' Role
Like Diehl, wideout Hakeem Nicks played for the first time since Week 2 Sunday. A limited Nicks hauled in just three catches on five targets.
Getting Nicks back involved is crucial for Big Blue. He remains Eli Manning's third-down hot read, and he brings a possessive element that wideouts Domenik Hixon and Victor Cruz lack to an extent.
Going forward, a full-strengh Nicks makes this Giants offense all the more dangerous.
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