Free NFL Pick: Washington at New York Giants 12-05-2010

December 4, 2010

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Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Sunday December 5th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: New York -7

Overview:

Both the Redskins and Giants are in a downward trend entering this game. The Redskins were exposed on Monday Night Football when they lost 59-28 at home to the Eagles. They are 5-6 and appear to be out of contention after losing three of their last four.

The Giants looked like they were going to grab hold of the conference at one point in the season, but after losing two of their last three games, they are simply trying to stay afloat and remain in the playoff picture. With both teams struggling to remain relevant, who will turn their season around with a victory over their division rival?

Keys to the Game:

  • No Steve Smith and no Hakeem Nicks makes for a less than impressive Giants passing game. The Giants excel through the air because they have three guys who can contribute. Now, with only one viable option, Eli Manning is going to have to force the ball to Mario Manningham. The Giants become less of a threat through the air and those losses keep the playing field level.
  • Keiland Williams has received the majority of the carries in his last three games and does not look overly impressive. With Clinton Portis out and Ryan Torain listed as questionable, the Redskins need to see more production out of Williams if they have any hope of moving the ball against the Giants defense.
  • Speaking of the Giants defense, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck combine for 15.5 sacks this season. The Redskins have holes and youth on their offensive line, which could make life difficult for Donovan McNabb. It is difficult to zero in on one threat on the Giants defensive line, so changing the game plan entirely to go with more underneath routes and utilizing check down outlets may be a more viable option. The Giants excel when their defensive line does and Umenyiora’s recent limited production is a big reason for the drop off.
  • On the other side, the Redskins also happen to have a great pass rushing defensive line. Led by Brian Orakpo, the Redskins are able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks without having to rely too heavily on the blitz. Eli Manning is not going to have as many open receivers, which could force him to hang onto the ball a bit more than he would like to. Orakpo has 8.5 sacks alone and will take advantage of Manning if he remains stationary for too long.
  • Donovan McNabb hasn’t validated his contract extension. If he fails to excel in the remaining games, the Redskins will likely part ways with McNabb, leaving him unemployed with only 3.75 million dollars of the massive contract in his pocket. The Giants are a familiar opponent for McNabb and he should look to have a huge game if he wants to remain in Washington.

Key Matchup:

Ahmad Bradshaw/ Brandon Jacobs Vs. Redskins Front Seven

  • Ahmad Bradshaw looks like he may regain his starting role after being benched due to his carelessness with the football. With the injuries to their wide outs, the Giants need to establish the run game early on. Bradshaw was one of the best running backs in the league at the time of his benching. Whether he or Jacobs gets the nod, the Giants will need to get the ground game going.
  • The Redskins have tackling problems. London Fletcher, Brian Orakpo, Laron Landry, and, Albert Haynesworth are all guys who can tackle. The fact that as a group the Redskins are arm tackling is a major concern. They will need to wrap up and make sure tackles on first contact if they want to slow the Giants. They have the guys to do it, they just need to make a collective effort to get it done.

Wrap Up:

The Giants are injured to the point where I think they could become one dimensional. While the Giants are a better team and they are playing for more, the Redskins are probably going to keep it close given the circumstances. Both teams are struggling and this doesn’t appear like a week where either team will turn it around. Seven is too big of a spread given the state of injuries to the Giants.

Free NFL Pick: Washington +7


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