The NFC East will play its biggest game of the year thus far when the New York Giants host the Washington Redskins Sunday with the division lead on the line. We've already broken down the matchup from Washington's point of view, as well as New York's point of view. Now, we bring it all together for a final summary of what to watch for and our official prediction.
What Washington must do to win, offensive edition
Maintain balance, but don't be afraid to take some shots against a hurting secondary.
What Washington must do to win, defensive edition
Apply enough pressure to allow the back end of the defense to limit Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
What New York must do to win, offensive edition
Overwhelm that secondary with lots of three-receiver sets, and target Cruz as often as possible.
What New York must to do win, defensive edition
Stay home and let the pass rush beat a mediocre line organically, giving the linebackers a chance to control Robert Griffin III on the ground.
Five most important non-quarterbacks, Redskins edition
Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Wilson, DeAngelo Hall, Alfred Morris, Trent Williams
The 'Skins need Kerrigan to fuel the pass rush without much help, while Wilson and Hall will probably be responsible for Nicks and Cruz. Morris has to get to that second level against a Giants run defense that can be had, while Williams will be integral to keeping Griffin clean.
Five most important non-quarterbacks, Giants edition
Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Will Beatty, Jayron Hosley
I think I've mentioned how crucial Cruz and Nicks are. Pierre-Paul will be relied upon to step up again as both a pass-rusher and a run defender. Beatty will have to defend against Kerrigan and Co., and Hosley will be responsible for covering Griffin's top targets, Santana Moss and Fred Davis, in the slot.
Injury analysis, Redskins edition
Pierre Garcon (foot) is doubtful, which is a shame because he could have had a big game against that secondary. Then again, Washington is used to not having Garcon, and the offense has still fared pretty damn well without him.
What's more worrisome is that three cornerbacks are less than 100 percent, with Hall (knee), Cedric Griffin (hamstring) and David Jones (Achilles) all questionable. New York's passing attack could be in for a big day.
Injury analysis, Giants edition
Ahmad Bradshaw should play, but he's again being hampered by a foot injury. That hurts, because he was really rolling. They'll also really miss Jacquian Williams, who is out with a knee injury and would have helped a lot in defending RG3.
Elsewhere on that defense, Kenny Phillips remains out, but they'll likely get Chris Canty back. That should help a pass rush that has been inconsistent thus far.
B/R NFC East Blog prediction
I don't think the Giants are in the business of overlooking teams like Washington, but I still think the 'Skins are going to find a way to pull this one out. They beat the Giants twice last year without Griffin, and I think they have an opportunity to be more explosive than New York this time around.
Redskins 35, Giants 34