Saturday, December 17, 2011

InReeseWeTrust: New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins Week 15 Game Preview


Washington Redskins (4-9) at New York Giants (7-6), Sunday at 1pm in the Meadowlands
By Ben Kelly - InReeseWeTrust.com 12/17/11

What happened last week?
The Redskins nearly knocked of the Patriots in Washington last week before a last-second interception swung through the hands of receiver Santana Moss and into Jerod Mayo’s open arms, halting the comeback. The ‘Skins lost two three-point leads in the second quarter before a scoreless fourth left the score a 34-27 final. Washington scored on five consecutive possessions after giving up a defensive touchdown to open the game, but Rex Grossman couldn’t rally his offense down the stretch, leaving his last three possessions empty with two punts and the last-second interception. Turnovers on the first and final Redskins drives stifled their best offensive performance of the year, in a game plan that featured a 49-yard trick play passing touchdown from wide receiver Brandon Banks.

Washington rallying the troops for another aerial assault
The Redskins carved up New England’s league-worst pass defense to the tune of 293 yards and added 170 on the ground for a season high 463 total yards. It all came in the absence of Washington’s best receiver in tight end Fred Davis, who will miss the next three games while serving a drug suspension. Davis’ best game this season came in week one against the Giants when he hauled in five passes for 105 yards in the 28-14 Redskins victory. Missing Fred Davis did not hamper Grossman’s attack, even when Davis’ replacement Logan Paulsen recorded zero catches from the tight end position. The Redskins’ big-play ability kept them surprisingly close with New England. The Giants’ pass defense has faults of its own, ranking just three spots higher in pass defense than the Patriots and proving to be even more susceptible than New England in giving up big chunks through the air last week in Dallas. Washington’s three leading receivers Sunday- Santana Moss, Brandon Banks and Donte Stallworth- combined to tally 269 yards on 13 receptions for a whopping 20.3 yards per catch. The Giants were able to overcome a greater aerial assault from the Cowboys’ top threats- nine catches for 250 yards and three scores for a 27.8 yard average from wideouts Dez Bryant, Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin. Did the Giants secondary make enough adjustments in one week to ward off a consecutive career day by a revitalized Rex Grossman?

Brandon Jacobs reborn
It seems all the Giants needed to spark Brandon Jacobs was a struggling Ahmad Bradshaw inserted back into the lineup. In the two games since Bradshaw’s return from a foot injury, Jacobs has ran for 160 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns.  Jacobs’ 5.93 yards per carry in the past two weeks dwarfs his 3.11 average in the previous eleven games. Earlier in the year, both the Giants and Jacobs appeared ready to part ways at the end of the season. His recent reemergence on the field has restored his image and made him more attractive to potential suitors- including the Giants. If Jacobs returns to his chain-moving form in the remaining three games to help power the Giants into the playoffs, he’ll make the case among Giants fans and front office for a return in 2012. In the meantime, Tom Coughlin will settle for some playground-bullying broken tackles and goal line scores against Washington, where the game as always figures to be a battle of might and muscle.  

Someone please cross-train Jason Pierre-Paul for offense
Is there anything the second-year “project” can’t do? Three weeks ago in New Orleans, it was Pierre-Paul who chased down the fake field goal attempt on the Saints’ first drive. The 22-year old even got his hands on two Aaron Rodgers throws at the line of scrimmage in the narrow loss to Green Bay. Last week he recorded a two-point safety in the 37-34 shootout over Dallas. And who else but Pierre-Paul to get a hand on Dallas’ last second field goal attempt after Tom Coughlin showed Jason Garrett the right way to ice a kicker. Efforts from Pierre-Paul and Jacobs will be key in flipping some statistics in the Giants favor in this rematch, including extending drives and notching more first downs. The Redskins tallied 21 first downs to the Giants’ 15 in week one, stifling both Bradshaw and Jacobs to a 3.8-yard average per attempt and forcing six Steve Weatherford punts. This time around, Eli Manning has the offense firing on all cylinders, putting up a ridiculous 474 yards in the last three games while Weatherford has punted a total of eight times. Amazingly, the Giants defense has allowed more yards in the same span at 490 per game, resulting in a 1-2 record despite the offensive explosion. Though the Redskins and Grossman have been hot, with Grossman reaching a 90+ passer rating in three of his last four, Washington does not have the firepower to keep up with Eli in the Meadowlands. Grossman’s five fumbles in the past four weeks led to three touchdowns and he won’t find a rhythm quite like he did at home against New England facing steady road pressure all day. Giants win, 29-20.

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