I could be trolling for hits with that headline. Actually, I'm psyching myself and Hog Heaven readers that the Redskins have a shot tonight. And they do, for three reasons.
1. The Redskins are playing at home
2. Robert Griffin III is having a better year than Eli Manning
3. The Redskins defense is stingy with third-down conversions.
If this were a Giants blog, I could give you three reasons why the G-men will win and I would start with the Giants winning four of their last five games. New York was a near-miss for taking down Dallas. In the pathetic NFC Least, that's neither complimentary of the Cowboys nor a slam of the Giants.
Auburn-Alabama taught us once again that games aren't played on paper. They are played on television. This game is on prime time Sunday Night solely because the mammoth NY-DC TV market will offset the disinterest from outside the east coast.
The NFL scheduled this late-season game for Sunday Night when they and everybody else figured the Giants and Redskins to be the main contenders for the division. An old line from NFL Films put it best.
"And hopes that were high in the heat of September
can wither and die in the cold of November."
Somebody has to win this game. "Why not the Redskins" is about the best argument you can make.
Three Stats that Matter
The Redskins have been better performers than the Giants in the three stats that matter.
RGIII has out-performed Little Eli in passer rating. The Redskins allowed fewer third-down conversions than have the Giants. New York forced three more turnovers than Washington, but neither team has been disruptive enough to power a playoff run.
There's a worrisome thing about the Redskins' stat on downs. The defense does OK on third-down stops, but they are crazy bad allowing fourth-down conversions. Opponents made nine of 12 fourth-down attempts. Surely, New York's quality control interns spotted this. The Giants should not punt on fourth and short situations. That is something to watch for.
Here are the numbers for the stats that matter.
Passer rating differential
Griffin III ‒ 81.8
Manning ‒ 72.5
Redskins ‒ 10 INTs, 6 recovered fumbles = 16
Giants ‒ 12 INTs, 7 recovered fumbles = 19
Redskins ‒ 36.1%
Giants ‒ 41%
The team that does better on two of these three stats should win the game.
Hog Heaven's Magic 8-Ball says...
The Magic 8-Ball, like the team itself, hasn't covered itself in glory this year. Last week it call for a win over the 49ers.
When asked if the Redskins would beat the Giants, the 8-Ball's response was, "It is certain."
"Mooch" on the Redskins
RGIII and the Redskins were the topic of a lengthy conversation on the NFL Network this morning. They called the segment "Code Red," or something equaling alarming. Sigh. The Redskins have become the New York Jets.
The panelists rehashed all-too-familiar (to us) issues plaguing the team, but Steve Mariucci had a turn of the phrase that grabbed my attention. he said the Redskins are "playing without scholarships." Mooch cited the draft picks traded for RGIII ‒ who would have been starters at other positions ‒ and the harmful cap sanction imposed by the league. It's the same as the handicaps imposed on Southern Cal.
Any evaluation of the talent on the team, or the way they are being used, must account for the loss of scholarships.
Hog Heaven is slow to call for dismissal of Mike Shanahan. His fate rests in the hands of the players. If Shanny gets the same effort the 2009 club gave Jim Zorn in his last days, then he cannot be saved. If the team wins another three games, starting tonight on Sunday Night Football, then his role in 2014 and beyond can be discussed.
Hog Heaven contributor Greg Trippiedi wrote a few years ago that character counts most when times are toughest. Look for evidence that the players are banding together for each other. An owner can build on such a team. You don't have a team if you crack under pressure. You can blow up that assembly of people and start from scratch.
Dan Snyder's tactical question is who can get us the most wins in 2014, Shanahan, or somebody new? Figure 2014 to be a(nother) lost season if we hire a new coach and build from scratch.
Photo: Sunday Night Football souvenir courtesy of @SNFonNBC, #SNF, Follow SNF Fan of the Week.
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