1. Stop Portis
When game planning for the Washington Redskins, it all starts with Clinton Portis. Although he's been around for what feels like 10 years (this will be his eighth year), he is only 28 years old. He tired down the stretch last season, but he is still one of the best in the game.
But the Giants had little trouble with Portis last year. In two wins against the 'Skins, Portis was held to 106 total rushing yards (that's 53 rushing yards per game, for those without mathematical brain functions).
If the Giants can stuff Portis on first and second down, forcing the Redskins' passing offense to move the ball, they'll be in good shape.
2. Force Jason Campbell To Make A Mistake
Jason Campbell is a game manager who doesn't win many games by himself, but he rarely turns the ball over. Last season he had only 13 touchdown passes, but he threw only six interceptions.
If the Giants are successful in bottling up Portis, Campbell will be forced to air it out.
This will be the first test for the defensive line that some (me) think will be the best in the game. Aside from sacking Campbell a few times, the D-line will try to pressure him into throwing a turnover or two.
This could be a low-scoring, defensive game where field position is invaluable. One Campbell turnover could be the deciding factor.
3. Keep an Eye on Santana Moss
If Giants can shut down the Redskins' run game like I think they can, the Redskins' next best offensive weapon will be Santana Moss. Moss is a burner who can get behind the defensive backs in a hurry; he can change the score in a hurry.
It'd be a shame to see the Giants dominate the trenches only to give up a long touchdown pass on a freak play. Chris Cooley is a very good tight end, and Malcolm Kelly could be a good red-zone target, but Moss is the man the Giants' defensive backfield needs to focus on stopping.
4. Contain Revamped D-line
In what should surprise no one, the Redskins made the biggest splash of free agency (in terms of money and weight) when they signed "Fat Albert" Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million contract. The 6'6", 350-pound behemoth adds a new dimension to their defense. He is arguably the best defensive tackle in football, and he will help Washington stop both the run and pass.
Rookie defensive end Brian Orakpo is also a dynamic player with high expectations. With Orakpo coming off the edge and Haynesworth coming up the gut, the Giants' offensive line will have its hands full trying to protect Eli Manning and open holes for Brandon Jacobs.
If the Giants are going to get anything going offensively, they'll need their offensive line to be in midseason form, especially with the probability of the Redskins loading up the box to stop the run.
5. Catch the Ball
This one is fairly simple.
Giants receivers didn't have all that much trouble getting open this preseason. They did, however, have problems holding on to balls.
With the Redskins defense daring the Giants to pass it, the receivers will have to make sure they actually catch the ball. Doing so will not only help move the ball, but it will force the Redskins to protect against the pass, which will benefit the running game.