Washington Redskins at New York Giants: Preview, Storylines and Prediction

The Washington Redskins travel to the home of the defending Super Bowl champions, to do battle for the outright lead in the NFC East.

The New York Giants will be motivated for revenge, having lost twice to the Redskins last season, including an embarrassing 23-10 home defeat in Week 15.

The key matchup of the game involves the battle between Washington's dynamic rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III and the Giants' defense.

Griffin has wowed the league with his ability to make plays as a runner, as well as on the strength of his arm. Thanks to the ex-Baylor ace, the Redskins boast the NFL's second-best running game.

Their efforts on the ground have also been aided by fellow rookie, tailback Alfred Morris. Head coach Mike Shanahan will need his ground attack to get on track and keep the Giants ferocious pass rush at bay.

That pass rush is keyed by a swarming front four, led by star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and versatile veteran Justin Tuck. So far this season, the Giants have had the formula for stifling rushing quarterbacks, with Pierre-Paul and Tuck leading the way.

They shut down Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Week 3 and destroyed the San Francisco 49ers' Wildcat package, led by youthful scrambler Colin Kaepernick.

That could spell trouble for the kind of option-based schemes and moving-pocket pass plays the Redskins have used to maximize Griffin's talents. The Giants will need to rely on different combinations of rushers to keep Griffin in the pocket, with hybrid linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, a potentially key figure.

The other key issue to watch for, is a Giants let down after last week's comprehensive victory on the road against the 49ers. Tom Coughlin's team have had a nasty habit of suffering defeat to less-fancied opposition, following emphatic performances.

It's what happened in Week 15 last season, against these same Redskins and Coughlin will need a mistake-free game from quarterback Eli Manning and his offense. Manning has the weapons in the passing game to trouble a weak Washington secondary, with wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks talented enough to expose the Redskins' defense.

The Redskins best option will be to harass Manning in the pocket by scheming ways to free rush linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and have defensive linemen Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield collapse the pocket.

The Redskins appear on the rise, but they lack the elite pass-rushers and savvy defensive backs to prevent Manning and his receivers from making enough big plays to sneak a narrow win.

Prediction: Washington Redskins 20-New York Giants 27

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