New York Giants Week 1- Back to the Drawing Board

Matt HainesContributor ISeptember 3, 2008

Finally, football's present in our lives once again. And not just any kind of football, the best kind of football: New York Giants football. The Super Bowl champion New York Football Giants are back and it looks like they're ready to wreak havoc.

I know that there's been some common themes to the Giants off-season, such as:

  • The Giants, despite winning the Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots, are still underdogs.
  • Without Strahan and Umenyiora to anchor the line, the Giants are going nowhere, or, Plaxico's favorite:
  • The whole thing was a fluke- the last drive, the Super Bowl, the playoffs and the Giants as a whole- it was all a fluke.

Now maybe I'm streching the severity of all this, but honestly, I've encountered this from the media and all non-Giant fans in some form or another.

It really doesn't matter what others say though, it's not up to them. It's up to the Giants now. The ball's in their court (or should I say, on their field), and it's time for them to step up and show the doubters if they're for real or not. If they still are champions.

And the first step in this season, this whole new season as Coughlin's branded it, is the opening game of the season against the Washington Redskins, deep in the swampy heart of the Meadowlands. This is a huge game for so many reasons including the fact it's a division game, it's against a team that the Giants had a tough time handling last season, and not to mention the way people will eat them alive if they don't come out victorious. So I figured in the spirit of the Giants and what they've accomplished, I'd try to analyze their games this season, so let's take a look at the one tomorrow against Washington.

First off, I just want to say that I in no way consider myself a professional or a completely knowledgeable fan. I do not know every facet of football, nor can I tell you everything about the Giants. I just know I love football and the G-Men. But hopefully I can write some things that people will see as insightful and focus on while watching the game.

Keys to the Game:

1. Contain Portis.All Pre-season long, I've heard great things about the Giants defense even without Osi, especially their run defense. According to many reports in the pre-season, Zorn is supposed to increase Portis' role within the Redskins' offense. Now I don't know how you can do that when he had 325 carries last year, but that's what's supposed to happen. So it's up to Big Blue to make sure that Portis gets taken out of the picture, even though Zorn will probably keep putting the ball in Portis' hands, even if our front seven keeps him in check for most of the game.

2. Watch the West Coast scheme. New coaches can mean a new system of playing, and thus us the case with Zorn taking the reins from Gibbs. Honestly it looks like maybe, just maybe, Jason Campbell will finally be truly successful in a scheme. I mean he wasn't terrible with Gibbs, but he still hasn't broken out yet. I doubt he will this season either, but I'm just saying, who knows? The thing is, this means the Giants D is essentially facing a new Redskins O. Now maybe it's good we have them early then, because they may not have adapted enough yet. But just look for them to try to fool the Giants with some key play action plays, short routes, and elements like that.  And if it works effectively enough, the Redskins may be able to take control of the game either early or with relative ease.

3. Effective passing by Eli. Not tons of passing, but effective. The Redskins may be rolling in without Springs to cover, which frees up a lot for Eli. This is giving him a great opportunity to take his time (especially if Jason Taylor sits), and not rush his passes. If he can throw nice, tight spirals and keep his lame duck passes to a maximum of maybe 3 or 4, then I'm very confident the Giants will easily take control of the game.

4. Let the RBs loose!Though we maybe be able to easily exploit the Redskins' pass defense (which I don't think is all that good), I think that Coughlin's going to really try to utilize the abundance of skill at the running back situation. And I really hope he does, because I'm positive that this may just be the biggest part of the game. With Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ward running up and down, left to right, and side to side, I'm sure that they'll keep the Redskins' defense modest, opening up bigger and better chances in the Giants passing game. Like I said, let the Bulls (RBs) loose.

Players to Watch

1. Kenny Phillips.This new guy's supposed to be pretty good lol. I'm sure that when he's in the game, he'll bring a presence to the defense that is desperately needed this season. Expect an immediate impact.

2. Chris Cooley. Probably the most reliable receiver Campbell has to throw to, look for this connection to happen constantly throughout the game. If the G-Men don't keep an eye on him, he has the potential to make big things happen.

3. Antonio Pierce.Big time LB, he's in a similar situation to the one he was in opening week last year. Then it was a no name linebacker and one who transferred from being an end and was very questionable at the position. Now, he's got a crew of guys, now of whom have seemed to really prove themselves just yet. Oh, and he's the big dog on D this year. With the departure of Strahan, Peirce will be the veteran and the one to wear the wired helmet this year. I'm looking for a big opening game.

I just want to apologize for the length of this article lol. I mean it's my first one and I want to be sure to get everything in before the game tomorrow. In the end, I think the Giants are too good a team for the Redskins to handle, especially because I think we're going to get a break in the passing game. Winner: Giants 

At this point no one has to continue to read if you don't want. I just want to quickly sound off on the Giants and what people expect of them this year. As a fan, it makes me feel terrible to see that the Giants are in a sort of purgatory. If they don't make the playoffs, all us fans would hear, "I told you so." If they make the playoffs, people will say "Eh, let's see em get back to the Superbowl." If they don't get back there, all the talk will probably be, "See, they aren't as good as all those Giants fans said they were." I don't know, it makes it like if they don't win the Super Bowl again, they're a bad team. The only other possible thing that could shock the world is if they beat out Dallas for the NFC East, which I must admit, would be pretty surprising. Now if they don't win the Super Bowl again, I wouldn't be crushed, because I know that nothing will ever erase the memory and the fact that we were Super Bowl XLII champions. Let's hope though, that they can prove the doubters wrong. Let's Go Blue!