The Giants are trying to curtail a late-season collapse in which they went from a likely division title to the brink of missing the playoffs in just six quarters. This division game takes on more spice with the Giants needing to win to get in. Is Eli Manning’s turnover-itis enough to keep the wounded Redskins defense in the game? You’d think the Giants would go with the power run game with great regularity. Donovan McNabb plays his final game as a Redskin, but won’t make the field as the No. 3 QB. Rex Grossman posted a 60 passer rating last week, and loves him some turnovers, too. The stage is set Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field for the (6-9) Washington Redskins and the (9-6) New York Football Giants to clash in an all-important affair, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST. New York beat Washington 31-7 on Dec. 5, as Brandon Jacobs rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns and Ahmad Bradshaw added 97 yards and two scores. That kind of production has been absent the past two weeks with a total of 190 rushing yards. The Giants are 7-0 when rushing for more than 120 yards.
The New York Giants claim they won’t be looking at the scoreboard during today’s season finale against the Washington Redskins. But you can’t help but wonder if their minds will wander back to their previous two games. The Giants need to defeat their NFC East rivals for the sixth straight time and get some help to clinch a fifth playoff berth in six seasons. New York (9-6) seemed on course for the NFC East title before blowing a 21-point lead in the final 7½ minutes of a 38-31 loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 19. The Giants then could have clinched a wild-card spot last week in Green Bay, but they allowed a season-high 515 yards in a 45-17 loss. Now, New York must defeat Washington (6-9) and hope the Packers lose at home today to NFC North champion Chicago in a game that starts at the same time. The Bears, however, clinched a first-round bye thanks to Tuesday’s surprising victory by Minnesota at Philadelphia, and may elect to rest their regulars. A Packers victory would render New York’s fourth 10-win season in six years not good enough for a postseason berth. Only six 10-win teams have failed to make the playoffs since 1990, when the NFL increased to six teams in each conference advancing to the post-season. New York’s offense is averaging 144 yards rushing yards per game. They have two outstanding running backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. However, the Packers shut down Bradshaw and Jacobs, allowing the two runners only 78 yards on the ground. The Giants’ defense is one of the best in the NFL, supposedly. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck usually blow by opposing offensive linemen. And if they don’t sack the other team’s quarterback, they force mistakes. Yet in last week’s game, Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers ripped the Giants’ vaunted defense to shreds. Rodgers threw for 404 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Giants’ defense is simply making too many sloppy mistakes.
The Redskins have a chance to play spoiler for the second straight game, having toppled Jacksonville in overtime last week to break a four-game skid. The main focus of attention in Washington is the play of Rex Grossman, who has had one good game and one so-so game in his three-week trial following the benching of Donovan McNabb. Head Coach Mike Shanahan has made some curious moves this season. He’s suspended Washington’s $100 million man, Albert Haynesworth, and benched quarterback Donovan McNabb, choosing to go with Rex Grossman at quarterback instead. Grossman hit 19 of 39 passes for 182 yards and one interception last week against the Jaguars. Grossman is adequate, but that’s about all. Opposing defenses don’t view his arm as a game-changing threat. Redskins’ running back Ryan Torain rushed for 65 yards against in the game against the Jaguars. For Washington Redskins to have a chance against the Giants, Torain will need to find some openings and slide through. If he does, then the Redskins can keep the Giants’ defense on the field. Coach Shanahan introduced a 3-4 defense in Washington this season. So far, the Redskins are allowing 130 yards per game on the ground and over 260 yards per game in the air. Washington’s defensive unit needs to tighten up or else the Giants’ potent running game, along with Manning’s arm, will punish them. The Giants won’t have to go up against McNabb, who tormented them with 27 touchdowns to nine interceptions in 18 games with Philadelphia. Rex Grossman, who has five touchdowns, replaced him two weeks ago and three interceptions as the Redskins have split his two starts. New York also may not see linebacker Brian Orakpo, who leads Washington with 8 1/2 sacks. Orakpo missed last week’s 20-17 overtime win at Jacksonville with groin and hamstring injuries, and it’s unclear whether he will be back.
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Giants vs Redskins Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New York Giants -3.5
@ Washington Redskins +3.5
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Giants vs Redskins Prediction for Week 17:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – This game sets up quite nicely to be a low scoring affair and I expect both teams to be offensively challenged this week. The Giants posses one of the most tenacious and fast defenses in the league and they will cause matchup issues all over the field for the Redskins. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington’s last 7 games when playing NY Giants and has gone UNDER in 15 of Washington’s last 22 games at home. Recently, the total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington’s last 6 games. The Redskins are putting together safe and secure game plans for Rex Grossman, game plans that are heavy on the run with small yardage passes mixed in. The Giants are all but eliminated from post-season contention, the Packers will most likely dominate the Bears at home, so the G-Men will have little motivation. And if they see that the Packers are up big at the half then I expect the G-Men to collapse and turn this game into a rushing attack in order to get on with their offseason plans. Consider the UNDER this Sunday as both teams will be looking to wrap up this game early so they can get in touch with their travel agents.
Spread Prediction – The Giants have defeated the Redskins in eight of their last nine meetings. The Redskins’ last victory in the series occurred late during the 2007 season under Joe Gibbs. That win was part of a four-game winning streak that helped the Redskins earn their last playoff appearance. The Giants are still in playoff contention, but they must beat the Redskins and hope the Green Bay Packers lose to the Chicago Bears. The Giants are technically playing for something so they will have some motivation to get out to an early lead. Eli Manning is having another solid season and I expect him to move the ball against the Redskins. The NY Giants are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing Washington. The NY Giants are also 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Washington. If the Giants want to win and have a shot at the playoffs, they need to get the running game going. If that happens, then Manning can start slinging the ball around. However, Manning needs to make good reads and good choices. The Giants’ defense, if they shed their sloppiness, should be able to lasso Washington’s offense. Washington is 7-13-1 ATS in its last 21 games at home and is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing at home against NY Giants. We will consider the Giants pulling out the win with the points but it will most likely be too little, too late. Cheers!