Redskins-Giants keys to the game: defense
The battered and bruised defense stepped up and helped the Redskins to an overtime victory over the Jaguars. The Jags were without their best player in Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville running game was ineffective all day. This won't be the case on Sunday afternoon.
This is what the Washington defense must do for the Redskins to have a chance to win.
The Redskins played the Giants just a few weeks ago and did not stop the run at all the first time around. So the main focus will be to stop the New York run. The Giants will try to establish the running game right away. If they are successful, the odds will swing in favor of the Giants. Brandon Jacobs is a big, bruising back who can run and looks for contact. Then there's Ahmad Bradshaw who is quick and strong. He is a much smaller back than Jacobs but is equally effective with his slashing style.
Washington must bring the pressure this weekend. Throw everything at Eli Manning. It's the last game of the year. Guys are auditioning for jobs, so see what they can do. Play loose and play aggressive. If the Redskins do this they have a much better chance at winning the game.
The Redskins secondary has been depleted by injuries so the reserves will need to be ready for an intense aerial assault. Limit yards after the catch. The Giants will complete passes. The corners have to make sure they are there to make the tackle for a minimum gain.
Get off the field on third downs. Force the Giants to play a game of field position. I believe the Giants think they are better on defense so they won't risk too much. They will kick the ball away and play defense. So make sure to win third downs.
Control the line of scrimmage and it will be beneficial against the run. This was a point of emphasis for the first time these two teams played. If the Redskins have success on defense early, the Giants will adjust their game plan to counter what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is doing. Haslett must show the same ability to adjust his game plan to stay ahead of the Giants. If he can do this it will keep the New York offense off balance and create more opportunities to make plays
The Giants are a vulnerable team right now fighting for a playoff birth. The Redskins have an opportunity to send the Giants home for the year and to me that's a game worth getting up for. But on the flip side of it, the Giants have a chance at the playoffs if they win and Green Bay loses. This should be a fun game to watch.
I believe the Redskins' defense has a fair shot at stopping the Giants offense, but with all the injuries to the secondary I give the edge to the Giants offense.
| December 28, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
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