This incident still bothers me.
This is the 12th of a 16-part series where Hog Heaven looks at each game on the Washington Redskins 2013 schedule. We are six days away from Washington’s first preseason game.
Sunday, Dec 1 – Giants at Redskins
Sunday, Dec 31 ‒ Redskins at Giants
Quarterback Match-up: Let me declare it now. Robert Griffin III is a better quarterback and a better athlete than Eli Manning. About 70 percent of a win is caused by your quarterback out-performing the other team's quarterback. RG should out-perform EM in both games.
That doesn't assure a win, as the Redskins painfully learned in their last visit to MetLife Stadium when Eli snatched victory away from Washington.
All we needed from the defense was 90 seconds of, you know, defense and the 'Skins would have had an 11-win season.
But I digress.
This is about Eli who shares genes with Archie and Peyton (who the Redskins will face in Week Eight).
You don't mess around with the Mannings. Your team must have equal talent and play perfect games against them ‒ because one teeny-weeny slip is enough for Eli to blow your brains out.
That's a football analogy and nothing else.
Kevin Gilbride vs. Jim Haslett: The Giants are the only team in the Beast that matches the Redskins in coaching stability. Gilbride joined the Giants as quarterback coach in 2004. Eli Manning's performance growth is a case study in the benefits to players' development of stability in coaching and scheme. It's an advantage Jason Campbell never had and we hope that Griffin III always has.
With question marks on the defense, New York needs Gilbride's offense to carry the team. In Manning, Gilbride has a clutch quarterback to build around and the second-best receiving corps in the Beast. Gilbride is worried that his top two receivers, especially Hakeem Nicks, are not getting the work they need to excel this season.
The Giants hope that RB David Wilson steps up to be the dominant rusher that Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs were. Their offense calls for it. That is a question mark that should be answered by the time these teams meet in December.
All you Redskins fans worried about the secondary should consider this. Every team in the NFC East is worried about their defensive backfield. All of the Beast backfields are equal to each other. For all the notoriety of Washington's secondary, Manning was having a bad day last October against Washington before that epic fail against Victor Cruz.
Stopping the Giants means pressuring Manning into mistakes. Although it doesn't happen often. Jim Haslett has the pass rushers to do it when they are healthy. The "good enough" secondary should stand up if the young DBs round into shape by December.
The secondary is improved by the removal of Madieu Williams, a rare case when addition by subtraction actually works.
Kyle Shanahan vs. Perry Fewell: Here is what Kyle Shanahan loves most about Robert Griffin III ‒ he protects the ball. Griffin has seven turnovers (5 INTs, 2 fumbles lost) all of last year. Manning has 15 INTs.
The Giants did not play up to their defensive standards in 2012. They made up for it with +14 turnover differential, thus proving a Hog Heaven adage that a disruptive defense is better than a smothering one.
The Giants will have 12 weeks of videos to study the tweaks Shanahan makes to the offense and how defenses coped with it. What, for example, did young Kyle do to counter the Vikings' Jared Allen?
Option to Morris? Pass to Helu? One-on-one with Williams? Run, RG, run? Or, will Aldrick Robinson and Joshua Morgan step up to be a duel deep threat with Pierre Garcon?
All of the above, no doubt, but Shanahan needs to run read option enough to keep Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul home. The last thing Fewell wants to do is rush a read option offense. The thing Shanahan wants most is for the Giants front seven to stay home.
The Kyle vs. Perry battle of wits is the story of the series.
Storyline: This series is so important that the league scheduled the first game for Sunday Night Football. It is Washington's second consecutive appearance on prime-time TV and their fourth such showing of the season..
To defend their title, we think the Redskins must go 4-2 within the division. They were 5-1 last season and coulda-shoulda swept the Beast. That is hard to do in back-to-back seasons. The Giants are not the team we think the 'Skins will sweep.
The G-men are one of the handful of teams we believe to be well managed year-in, year-out. They never have the best talent in the league, but it's always good enough to win a Super Bowl when other teams slip. There is no chance the Redskins look past them, unlike the next team on the schedule.
Way too early prediction: Hog Heaven budgets a loss to the Giants with the advantage going to the home team. Thus, Washington wins at FedEx on SNF. The Giants take the game on New Year's Eve. It would be best if the Redskins locked the division before that last game.
Next: Kansas City at Washington
“Way too early prediction” means we reserve the right to change our minds after we see these teams in preseason games. Look for Hog Heaven’s stake-in-the-ground prediction the week before game one.
This story idea was inspired by the Big Ten Network Tom Dienhart who is running a similar series for the B1G football season.
To see the other games in this series, follow the link to 2013 Game by Game.
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