You could say that the last time the Giants played at FedEx Field, the Giants completely reversed the direction of their franchise. Before that game the Giants had lost nine of their last eleven games. Since then, they are 24-5.
Either way, those nice nuggets of information are moot.
For a 10-1 team, the Giants certainly have an immense amount of pressure on them. The Cowboys are on the verge of bursting into flames (in a good way, unlike early November), and there are four extremely tough games following New York's showdown in D.C.
The Giants can minimize the pressure of winning the last four by taking care of business on Sunday. With the assistance of fellow B/R writers Edgar Antonio Nunez and Travis Rand, we compiled a list of scouting reports for three players that we felt would be integral in the outcome of the game.
CLINTON PORTIS RB
Author: Edgar Antonio Nunez
It’s no secret that running back Clinton Portis will be the focal point of the Giants' defense. Portis, the NFL’s leading rusher, has gone over 100-yards rushing in six of his last eight games and he’s averaging nearly 110-yards a game this season. The Redskins are 5-1 in games in which Portis has broken the century mark.
The 5'11", 221-pound Portis is now in his seventh year in the NFL out of the University of Miami. Highly respected by teammates, he’s known as one of the most dedicated and hard-working players.
Portis has transitioned from a slashing-type back for the Denver Broncos (the team that drafted him) to a full-time, every down runner with a solid blend of power, size, and speed. His incredibly strong base allows him to run low and behind his pads, often knocking tacklers backwards.
Portis has bulked up since his early days and is rarely taken down by one tackler.
He does an excellent job of protecting the ball in traffic and has fumbled only once this year. While Portis has evolved into a power back, he has quick feet in tight spaces. He is consistently able to sidestep tacklers and usually falls forward on plays.
However, he does not spin out of very many tackles. He can also be caught from behind by most defensive backs in the open field because of his added bulk, limiting huge gains.
Aside from being a dangerous rushing threat, Portis has also proved himself useful on short passing plays and as a blocker.
He’s usually a reliable underneath target that runs nice routes out of the backfield. There’s no back in football as adept at picking up the blitz like Portis. Whether he cut blocks or stays on his feet, Portis will consistently keep his man away from the quarterback.
The Giants defense has limited opponents throughout the season by taking away the running game. That’s the Giant’s No. 1 priority in this game, with Portis the key to the Redskins recent offensive production. In the season-opener, the Giants succeeded in this area, although Portis ran for 84 yards, in a 16-7 win.
LARON LANDRY S
Author: Travis Rand
The last time Giants fans saw Landry, he was seeing Giants fan too...From his back.
Many will remember seeing Landry get trucked over by Brandon Jacobs, and seeing his helmet crash on the turf at the Meadowlands.
That proves an excellent segue into what I believe may shock some people. LaRon Landry will prove to be more of a gamebreaker in the running game, rather than the passing game.
I believe it is more a combination of Manning's advanced passing game and the three-headed monster that is Earth, Wind, and Fire.
When the G-Men ring off one of there highlight reel runs, which is almost a guarantee with how successful the attack has been, then the last person our RB will have to shake will most likely be Landry.
Don't get me wrong however, because Landry will definitely pose at least a minor issue to Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. It is one of those games where Steve Smith could play a huge role in coming across the middle, especially if London Fletcher is absent from the contest.
I see another game where Burress will have almost no impact on the outcome. As much as I think he is an elite wideout, he hasn't been effective as of late, and I don't see a breakout here with Landry shadowing him from the safety position.
It still would be kind of funny to watch him get rocked by Jacobs again, though, wouldn't it?
JASON CAMPBELL QB
Author: David Geller
The Washington Redskins were desperate. Mark Brunell was doing an adequate job at quarterback, but he wasn’t a franchise-defining player. Dan Snyder needed his face of the franchise to be a quarterback.
So, one year after the Giants traded the house to get their Man(ning), Dan Snyder did the same. He traded up to the 25th slot, which was held by the Broncos, in return for first, third, and fourth-round picks.
Three years later the move appears to be paying dividends. The strong-armed former Auburn quarterback has had a productive career, with 32 touchdowns to 20 interceptions in his first 31 games.
This year has been his best, not coincidentally with the arrival of quarterback junkie Jim Zorn as his head coach. I’m no scout but it’s fairly easy to detect the strides Jason Campbell has taken mechanically with Jim Zorn’s direction.
While Campbell is playing well, it’s clear he’s not the guy the Giants have to stop. That guy is Clinton Portis. But in the event Portis is shut down, as he was on opening night, it will be up to Campbell to win the game.
The staggering thing about Campbell’s production this year is his consistency. Regardless of the distance the ball travels in the air, Campbell has gotten the ball into his playmakers’ hands:
As is the case with the Giants quarterback, Campbell plays his best ball in the fourth quarter, compiling a 97.1 passer rating in that spot.
However, watching him on Sunday Night Football two weeks ago against Dallas, I saw a quarterback that did look gun shy. He looked like a young quarterback who had taken his coach’s advice of being smart with the ball to heart, but lacked aggressiveness.
As the game progressed, and Campbell continued to dump the ball off in the flat, the YAC totals for his playmakers continued to decline. Ultimately, the Redskins couldn’t move the ball because the Cowboys defenders had no fear of getting beat over the top.
The question is, has this been a season-long trend for Campbell? Or were the Redskins just fearful of Campbell being sacked constantly if he took five-step drops too often? If it’s the former, the Giants have to make sure to cover the slants, screens, and quick timing plays. If they do that, then their chances of containing the Redskins offense dramatically improve.