Analysis: The Giants like to make life difficult for themselves, especially in the NFC East. Over the last few seasons, the Giants have had opportunity after opportunity to take the division by a strangle hold, but have either failed to do so or gave their fans heart attacks while doing so. Two years ago it was that December afternoon against the Eagles, where the Giants failed to take a hold on the division and eventually ended up missing the playoffs because of it. Last year, they lost four straight after a 6-2 start and sat at 7-7 before winning on the final night of the season against the Cowboys. This season, the Giants currently sit at 7-4 and have a 2 game lead over the Redskins, who are 5-6 and a 1.5 game lead over the Cowboys. A win Monday night against Washington would put the Giants as the No. 3 seed in the NFC and give them a 2 game lead over Dallas with just four to play, and no meetings between the two remaining.
The Redskins have won their last two games, behind four touchdowns per contest by Robert Griffin III, and better play of late from their defense. RGIII has Pierre Garcon back and looks to be hiding his stride and has no plans of stopping. A win against the Giants would give them a season split, but better yet put them a game back of the defending champs. The Giants will be the first team to face Griffin for the second time in his NFL career, a scenario which could be beneficial to them or to RGIII. The Redskins line up in the same formation a lot of the time, run or pass, which makes it hard for defenders to react in time, especially with the elusiveness and quickness of Griffin. The Giants will have to stay disciplined if they are going to win this one, and can't allow Griffin to operate outside the pocket. If the Giants can stay in their lines and dial up some disguised blitzes, they should be able to get to RGIII.
Eli Manning knows all too well about these NFC East games, and how crazy and unpredictable they usually are. It took a 77 yard strike from Manning to Cruz on a seam route inside the numbers last game with just over a minute to go to upend the Redskins. Justin Tuck approached Manning earlier in the week and told him that if the offense can get an early lead, it will allow his defense to get to RGIII and take away many rushing plays that Kyle Shanahan likes to call. Alfred Morris has been nothing short of remarkable this season for the Skins, as the second part of the Skins rookie cog on offense has shown he can put up big numbers and gain chunks of yards. If the Redskins want to keep their division and playoff hopes alive, they must get the running game going, and can ill afford to fall behind this Giants team that thrives when they are ahead.
Prediction: Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are in 2011 playoff form. That is terrible news for the rest of the NFL and great news for Manning and the Giants. When healthy, they are arguably the best duo of receivers in the league and are matchup nightmares for any defense, especially one that has been suspect over the course of the season. Manning has struggled in his last three meetings with the Redskins, despite winning the one earlier this year, and will look to get his guys the ball and let them make plays. David Wilson will be the X Factor for the Giants if they are to win tonight. The rookie running back will see his carries increase with the injury to Andre Brown. RGIII and Eli will both be at their best on Monday night, but the Giants have been here before, they have won games that they needed to win and I expect the same when they take the field in DC.
Prediction: Giants 31 Redskins 28
Where To Watch Online: Giants at Redskins