Free NFL Pick: New York Giants at Washington 01-02-2011

January 2, 2011

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New York Giants at Washington Redskins

Sunday January 2nd, 2011 4:15 PM EST

Line: New York Giants -4

Overview:

The New York Giants are down, but not out. They were blown away last week by the Packers, putting Tom Coughlin back on the hot seat. A playoff birth would almost guarantee job security for Coughlin, but a loss would make the murmurs louder than ever. The Giants need a victory on Sunday to keep their hopes alive. They can’t win the NFC East, but they should be more than happy with double digit wins and a chance to go to the playoffs.

The Redskins have had an up and down year, mostly down. With the rift between Mike Shanahan and Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb, the Redskins have been surrounded with distractions and controversy throughout the entire season. The instability has cost Shanahan some credibility and more than a few wins. Shanahan has made it clear that he is changing the way the Redskins operate. Whether that is a positive thing or not is yet to be seen.

Keys to the Game:

  • Maybe Rex Grossman isn’t as bad as we thought. Five touchdowns and two picks in his last two games is certainly better than the numbers McNabb put up. He has a .500 record, which is also more than McNabb can say. Now Grossman will be under fire, as he takes on a Giants team who leads the league in sacks. Don’t be surprised if we see the old Rex rear his ugly head. Washington fans may not be accustomed to bad Rex yet, but just ask Chicago, it can be flat out hard to watch at times.
  • Eli Manning threw four touchdowns two weeks ago and followed it up with a four interception week last week. He leads the league in interceptions and has had an erratic, but somehow successful season. Manning needs to protect the football on Sunday. Some games, taking risks is a necessary evil for Manning, as he has to take it upon himself to get something going. This week, he can simply play error free football and allow the Redskins to beat themselves.

Key Matchup:

Ahmad Bradshaw Vs. Arm Tackling

  • The Redskins lack the desire to tackle the ball carrier. That can be problematic when you play in the NFL. Every single game, without exception, you will notice a number of Redskins who fail to break down and attack the ball carrier. They often step out of the hole and attempt to arm tackle. This is elementary. Any time we start talking about tackling fundamentals in Week 17, it is safe to say the team in question is playing their last game.
  • They face Ahmad Bradshaw this week, who is close to reaching 1,300 yards on the ground this season. Bradshaw is not the kind of back you want to try to arm tackle. He is not nearly as big as Brandon Jacobs, but he is compact and more explosive. Bradshaw will likely have a huge day. The Giants love to run the ball, so running the ball to keep themselves in playoff scenarios seems likely.

Wrap Up:

The Redskins may have beaten the Jaguars in overtime last week, but with no Maurice Jones-Drew, that victory really isn’t all that impressive. They have only won two of their last eight games and are probably looking at another loss here. The Giants may be in a slump, but they show flashes of brilliance, something that cannot be said about the Redskins this season.

Free NFL Pick: New York -4


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