Washington Redskins (6-7) +5, 36.5 O/U at New York Giants (9-4) -5, Giants Stadium, NY, 8.15pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
When these teams met in week 3 it was a very different landscape to the one here. Washington was 2-0 and looking likely to play a role in playoffs and the Giants were 0-2 with all kinds of defensive issues as they gave up 45 and 35 points to Dallas and Green Bay in consecutive weeks. Now, with all but the last 3 games of the regular season remaining, the shoe is well and truly on the other foot. Now the Giants are destined to play in the post season and the Redskins’ hopes are all but dashed. And with a whole raft of injuries, including a season ending knee injury to their starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, it looks forlorn at best to expect them to make a late run.
Both these teams are coming off week 12 victories. Washington beat the sorry Bears, despite the loss of Campbell and only 36 rushing yards from Clinton Portis. Long time bench warmer, Todd Collins was exceptional in relief, connecting on 15 of 20 passes for two touchdowns. Meanwhile, New York was limping to a 16-13 victory over the Eagles which saw a game tying 57 yard field goal attempt from Eagles kicker, David Akers crash into the right upright as time expired.
This doesn’t promise to be an attractive game. Washington is banged up and the Giants are struggling offensively. If ever there was a time for Eli Manning to grab this game and his team by the scruff of the neck and take them into playoffs striving rather than limping then this is surely it. He will get a chance in week 17 to cover himself in glory if he can help to break the New England streak, but he must walk before he can run and a solid win over the Redskins in front of his home fans is imperative. It will give his team some much needed confidence and quell the doomsayers, at least for now.
For Washington, tight end Chris Cooley is critical to their chances. Chris leads the team for receptions and will need to have a big game. In addition, Clinton Portis must run the ball successfully and take pressure off Todd Collins. The Giants like to blitz but don’t expect Collins to make rookie mistakes. He has been around the team a long time and has an intimate knowledge of their play book. He has age and experience on his side and will undoubtedly relish the challenge here. It’s been a very long time since he started a game, but he will enjoy the opportunity to do so.
Obviously, Eli Manning is critical to the Giants’ chances. He has thrown 8 picks in his last 5 starts and is helping to perpetuate the belief that NYG is again likely to be a season second half fade out. Sure, they have already made the playoffs, but what more can really be said? Not much more. Washington is not exactly blitz prone, but they will need to be here. It is their best chance to win. They need to get after Eli and make sure his confidence remains shaken. I doubt they will get after him as much as they should, but Eli doesn’t need many excuses to mess up these days. The Giants’ offensive line is doing a good job, despite evidence to the contrary.
It’s pretty hard to like either of these teams going in here. Any recommendation comes without a lot of confidence. The points total in this game has been set very low at 36.5, and given the likelihood of inclement weather, complete with icey winds and snow it could be difficult for all concerned. The Giants running game is a little better suited to these conditions and will probably be where they will win or lose. Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns will run hard and often at this defense and so long as they hang onto the ball they should aid Eli to give the Giants a victory. The magnitude of that victory remains in question, however, and it’s hard to see enough points from either team for any kind of blowout.
The Snake’s Bite: The result of this game probably comes down to turnovers. If both teams look after the ball it is hard to see the Giants losing this one. They have a little bit more offensively and Eli can be really good at times. In tough conditions this will be ugly and there will be a lot of running. Thus, a low total is almost a lock. How low will depend on several factors, most of which are too unpredictable for speculation. In prime time, at home and with more to play for, I will lean with the Giants to win and cover the points. It’s not a strong lean, but then who can give any guarantees with the lead players in this scenario?