New York is Washington's oldest NFL rival dating to 1932 when the then Boston Braves earned its first ever win against the New York Football Giants – "Football" Giants to distinguish them from the MLB team with the same name. There was a lot of that back then. The Football Braves split their series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Redskins renew their rivalry with the Giants Sunday. Much has gone well since Washington swept the series last year. The Giants are on a 6-2 regular season run since the home loss to the 'Skins last December. They won the Super Bowl, too. But the two losses were to Dallas and Philadelphia. They can't afford another loss to a division rival.
We wondered about the Giants' mindset these days and turned to our Bloguin colleagues at Ultimate NYG for some answers. Rich Conforti delivered the goods. Our questions, his responses below.
Q. When we did this Q&A last season, you guys said the Redskins were irrelevant to the division race. I'm not naming names because Andy is a friend. How has that perception changed, or has it?
Can’t blame him. Plenty of respect for the history of the Redskins (even if all of it was written in the pre-internet era) But seriously, I think Washington can and will be a factor in the division race deep into the season. If they can manage 2-1 going into the bye week, I think we will find them right in the thick of the NFC East and NFC wild card hunt.
Q. I am a long-time admirer of the Giants' front office. They have stability, a long-term strategic focus and a true next man up roster. Who is the next Victor Cruz of the offense and the defense?
Great compliment. I just hope other Giants fans realize how well things have operated with their squad over the last few years. To me there won’t be another Victor Cruz anytime soon. If you watch him on a day-to-day basis, you appreciate his ability to EXCEL at everything you ask for out of a wide out. It’s rare to see a player like him slip through the cracks.
I had mentioned in the off-season that Domenik Hixon, if healthy, had an opportunity to step in and be a major contributor for the Giants and he has shown that so far. He isn’t a Cruz type in that he didn’t come out of nowhere and when healthy, has shown ability to be a very solid player. In terms of someone coming out of nowhere, I am going to go with OLB Spencer Paysinger. With Keith Rivers hurt and Kiwanuka slowly making the move back to a full time DL, Paysinger has seized the opportunity to get some serious reps in both the nickel and base packages. Paysinger, in his second year out of Oregon, has shown that he not only can move quickly, but can react and think quickly and that has earned him the PT as of late. Keep an eye out for him on Sunday as he will be someone who will be crucial not only in pass coverage, but in the collective effort of slowing down the artist formerly known as “Bob.” Although he was a 3rd round pick (not as “Cruzish”) I really think that rookie CB Jayron Hosley is also going to be an impact player in this league for a very long time.
Q. Are Giants fans sold on Tom Coughlin yet?
This sort of feels like a quick (albeit well deserved) jab at Giants fans. Not attempting to toot my own horn, I am a believer in continuity (which during the hard times was Coughlin) and never really was a part of the group calling for Coughlin’s head. At times, I have even turned red in the face a la TC when defending him, just ask Andy. But seriously, I think that not only has Coughlin earned the unconditional trust of the Giants’ organization but he is also one of the few men to slay the world’s largest peanut gallery-- irrational NY sports fans.
Q. Both the Giants and the Redskins are high scoring teams; both teams average 29.7 points per game. The defense is the difference. How will the G-men attack the Redskins defense?
The G-men will attack the Redskins defense the same way they have done for the good part of two seasons now, over the top. But there’s a catch. They need to be patient enough to let those plays come to them rather than force it, something that both Gilbride and Eli liketo do at times. Teams know this. That is why it is crucial for the Giants offense to keep them honest through the use of “small ball” as we so often harp on UNYG. Run the ball and attack the short routes early and the rest will come as the game goes on. Find that balance and Eli is a safe bet to become the 6th QB to throw for 300+ yards on the Skins (mind you Josh Freeman was one yard away from becoming the 7th). A defense that allows 417 yards per game and allows 16 more pass YPG than the 31st ranked team must have Eli and the boys salivating. This will only be the second week that he has Nicks, Cruz and Hixon at his disposal.
Q. How should Washington's offense attack New York's defense?
You have to establish the run. Even if it isn’t successful for the most part, it needs to be done. I know this applies to every opponent, but it is especially crucial when you play New York. Even if you fall behind the Giants, you need to stay balanced. Last week, trailing only 17-3, SF abandoned the run and despite what you will hear on TV, they were pretty successful with it in the first half. Once you give up on the run, you might as well give the d-line the green light to tee off on your quarterback. You must stay disciplined and that means sticking with the run NO MATTER WHAT. I’m a big fan of Alfred Morris (and have been) and is a back that can handle the 25-30 carries, give them to him in this one. Keep the pass rushers honest and you should be able to move the ball for the most part.
Q. Your game prediction and score?
31-20 Giants. No disrespect to a good Redskins squad but I think that the Giants are going to ride their win over San Fran and take a third straight game to begin what we call, a "winning streak." Big Blue continues to get key players back (and others who are returning to full strength) and have seemed to have found the right mix of players on the offensive line, a key to their balanced attack the last two weeks. The group has kept Eli sack free on all but five occasions so far this season and if they continue to do that then Eli will hurt whatever defense he faces.
Q. Predict the division order of finish?
1. NY Giants 11-5
2. Washington Redskins 9-7
3. Dallas Cowboys 7-9
4. Philadelphia Eagles 6-10
Redskins Hog Heaven answered Ultimate NYG's questions about the Redskins that are posted on their site right now. Click here to see it. Go take a look. We'll be here when you get back.
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Domenick Hixon, December 5, 2009 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Eli Manning, September 29, 2012, Alex Trautwig/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Robert Griffin III hands off to Alfred Morris, September 29, 2012, J. Meric/Getty Images North America, via zimbio.com.
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