On January 2, 2011, the New York Giants take on the Washington Redskins. For the Giants, who are still hoping to somehow sneak into the playoffs, it’s a big game.

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The Giants, with a record of 9-6, will need a little help and a lot of luck to get to the playoffs.  Washington, whose record stands at 6-9, is totally out of the playoff picture. In reality, all that’s left for the Redskins to dream about is “maybe next year.”

New York Giants


The New York Giants have looked more like the New York Elves the last two weeks. Two weeks ago, they collapsed against the Philadelphia Eagles and then last week the Green Bay Packers shriveled the Giants down to size, beating them 45 to 17.

Manning Good But Not Spectacular


Eli Manning... (All I want for Christmas is to be Peyton)Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning keeps making playoff noises, but he and his teammates need to step up and start playing like playoff contenders.

Against Green Bay, Manning came out throwing hitting 17 of 33 passes for 301 yards, which isn’t bad.  The crisis was that Manning tossed four interceptions. Manning has been inconsistent all season long. Part of the problem is the absence of receiver Hakeem Nicks.

Still, Manning, who is one of the best in the league, has been solid rather than spectacular.     

New York’s offense is averaging 144 yards rushing yards per game. They have two outstanding running backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. However, the Packers shut down Bradshaw and Jacobs, allowing the two runners only 78 yards on the ground.

The Giants’ defense is one of the best in the NFL, supposedly. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck usually blow by opposing offensive linemen. And if they don’t sack the other team’s quarterback, they force mistakes.

Yet in last week’s game, Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers ripped the Giants’ vaunted defense to shreds. Rodgers threw for 404 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

The Giants’ defense is simply making too many sloppy mistakes.

Washington Redskins


Head Coach Mike Shanahan has made some curious moves this season. He’s suspended Washington’s $100 million man, Albert Haynesworth, and benched quarterback Donovan McNabb, choosing to go with Rex Grossman at quarterback instead.

Grossman hit 19 of 39 passes for 182 yards and one interception last week against the Jaguars.  Grossman is adequate, but that’s about all. Opposing defenses don’t view his arm as a game-changing threat. 

Redskins’ running back Ryan Torain rushed for 65 yards against in the game against the Jaguars. For Washington Redskins to have a chance against the Giants, Torain will need to find some openings and slide through. If he does, then the Redskins can keep the Giants’ defense on the field.

3-4 Defense Is Not Closing the Door


Coach Shanahan introduced a 3-4 defense in Washington this season. So far, the Redskins are allowing 130 yards per game on the ground and over 260 yards per game in the air. Washington’s defensive unit needs to tighten up or else the Giants’ potent running game, along with Manning’s arm, will punish them.

Game Time


If the Giants want to win and have a shot at the playoffs, they need to get the running game going.  If that happens, then Manning can start slinging the ball around. However, Manning needs to make good reads and good choices.

The Giants’ defense, if they shed their sloppiness, should be able to lasso Washington’s offense.

Washington needs excellent efforts on offense and defense to win the game. Offensively, Torain may make the difference. If he can find daylight, and if Grossman can find some open receivers, then the Redskins could be in the game.

The Redskins’ defensive front line needs to deny the Giants any type of ground game. And if Washington can blitz effectively, Manning might fold under the pressure.

Free NFL Pick: New York Giants by 7.