Just how for real are these Washington Redskins? They’ve come off two impressive victories against their division opponents in the past two weeks and now face the Giants on Monday Night Football.
For the first time in five years, the Redskins are playing meaningful football in December, and you can expect FedEx Field to be in a state of pandemonium on a cold Monday night.
You don’t know what you are going to get from the New York Giants; this is the same team that got swept by last year’s 5-11 Redskins team. They also were blown out by the Bengals this year, only then to go on and have one of the most impressive wins of the year in taking down the Green Bay Packers.
The Giants can be a scary team and when they catch fire, they have proven to the league that they can beat anyone. They’ve been successful with clutch performances from Eli Manning and a superior defensive line.
Below are 10 keys to the game for the Washington Redskins.
The Skins' offensive line is going to have their hands full. Handling Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora is a daunting task.
If Griffin is consistently pressured, they are going to be in trouble. Kyle Shanahan has proven over the past two weeks that he doesn’t need Griffin to get out of the pocket for the offense to produce.
Getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly will be key to keeping him upright. A lot of slants to Josh Morgan and option routes for Santana Moss can be a remedy for that.
This is a key component every week, but this is how the Giants won in their first matchup. Victor Cruz torched the secondary for a game-deciding touchdown.
The Giants love going downfield in their passing attack and one can only assume they will test the Redskins' weak secondary.
DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson have improved since their first meeting in New York, and a resurging DeJon Gomes appears to be learning from his mistakes.
This offense is different when a healthy Pierre Garcon is involved. As critical as I have been of him in the past, he made everyone realize why he was given a large contract on his touchdown catch-and-run on Thanksgiving Day.
He provides another element that is conducive with Robert Griffin’s ability, and the two clearly trust each other.
Garcon and the rest of his teammates are going to be well rested for Monday with four extra days to recover. The more rest the better for Garcon and his injured toe because we’ll need a big performance from him.
If the offense runs the ball effectively with Alfred Morris, then they can control the time of possession, keep Eli Manning off the field and eventually tire out the opposing defense.
For hypothetical purposes, let’s say the Redskins have a large lead in the second half. That’s where we need Alfred Morris to deflate a defense.
We haven’t used him effectively while winning and that’s part of the reason why teams have been able to come back from large deficits.
As clutch as Eli can be at times, he’s also prone to making some boneheaded throws. If Ryan Kerrigan and company can put pressure on the quarterback, then the secondary will need to capitalize on those mistakes.
The Giants' offensive line is deceivingly very good, so blitzing will be the most effective way to get to Eli Manning.
Perry Riley and Lorenzo Alexander have shown promise in that regard, and Rob Jackson has progressed.
All that being said, Ryan Kerrigan remains the most talented pass-rusher on the team. If he is able to develop additional moves to get to the quarterback, then his sack total should significantly increase.
Fumbles were a major concern last time they played each other. After another sloppy performance in Pittsburgh, it appears that the Redskins have overcome their turnover woes.
When it comes down to it, the Giants are the better team as of now. They have more talent, chemistry and their success in the past speaks volumes.
For the Redskins to win on Monday, they are going to have to play mistake-free football, and that includes taking care of the football.
Redskins fans have been waiting for this game for a long time—an important divisional game on national television.
If called upon, the crowd at FedEx Field can create quite the home-field advantage. Causing communication problems for the Giants' offense should prove to be an important factor (i.e., false starts, delay of games, timeouts, etc.).
Aldrick Robinson appears to be very fast. He’s made a big play in consecutive games when he’s been left wide open on deep passes.
So if he’s as fast as advertised, why not put him in that option role that Brandon Banks performs so poorly at?
He can be used in reverses, screens and can be a valued safety valve in the flats. Besides the option formation, Robinson has earned the opportunity for increased reps on offense.
Him running down the field will open things up for underneath routes, where Santana Moss and Josh Morgan have proven to be effective.
The Redskins are going to be well rested. While playing on a short week can be a difficult task, it gives them the advantage of having extra days off for the following game.
Pierre Garcon should be a full-go. Same for London Fletcher and Trent Williams. Fatigue should not be an issue this game, and the Skins need to utilize that.
Penalties have been an issue this season. It’s been cleaned up over the past two weeks, but consistency needs to remain.
As mentioned before, the Redskins are going to need to play a perfect game to be successful. Playing smart football and remaining disciplined while eliminating costly penalties will be a major help.