Oct 28, 2005, 8:28 PM EDT
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I have to apologize for I have misled you, the loyal readers here. Prior to each of the six Redskins games this year, I have written a prediction as to how I thought the upcoming game would go and give my thoughts on what the final score might be. I have labeled these pieces “Bold Predictions”.
Looking back, though, most of the predictions have been anything but bold. I’ve added qualifiers (if Jake Plummer turns it over), caveats (unless the Chiefs turn some big plays) and other rather wimpy elements. I wanted to pick the Redskins to hang a big number on the 49ers but I chickened out and went with a comfortable but not dominant victory. Far from bold, as advertised, my predictions have been lame, milquetoast, bland predictions, not even worthy of capitalizing.
It stops this week, here and now.
The Washington Redskins will beat the New York Giants on Sunday and they will beat them easily.
It’s not that the Giants aren’t a quality football team. They are. But the Redskins are better. Much better. Mark Brunell is playing better than any quarterback in the league right now. Much better than Eli Manning, which is enough for this Sunday.
In fact, of the 22 starting positions, based how they’re playing right now, most coaches in the NFL would pick many more Redskins than Giants to start for their teams. Three of the four DL positions and MLB would go to the Giants on defense and on the other side of the ball, Giants would start at one WR spot, TE, and that’s it. OK, I’ll take a push in Tiki vs. Portis but only a push. That makes the tally 15 Redskins, six Giants and one draw. That’s not a slight edge for the Redskins, it’s a landslide. Again, they’re just a better team.
Certainly the game is not about Barber vs. Portis or Eli vs. Brunell, it’s about matchups, offense vs. defense, blockers vs. the front four, receivers vs. cornerbacks. Did someone say Santana Moss against Will Allen or Curtis Deloatch? The East Rutherford fire department had better be on alert all day long as these guys are going to get torched repeatedly.
In fact, I’ve seen no rational explanation as to how anyone of the Giants defense is going to stop anyone on the Redskins offense. In terms of yards allowed, they’re last in the entire NFL. That doesn’t make them the worst necessarily, but they’re not very good.
The last time that they faced a QB-RB combo of the quality of Brunell and Portis was in San Diego in Week 3. Tomlinson ran over them for 192 yards and Drew Breese was 19-22-191, a quarterback rating of 133.1. San Diego drove 65, 85, and 82 yards to touchdowns the first three times it had the ball. They added TD drives of 70 and 77 yards later on.
To be sure, LT is a better back than Portis, who should hang up a mere buck fifty. As for Brunell, they may have to reinvent the QB rating scale.
On the other side of the ball, New York won’t be enjoying one of the advantages that they have over most of the teams that they play. Jeremy Shockey presents a matchup problem for a lot of secondaries. Not so against the Redskins as they have Sean Taylor, who possesses linebacker size and DB speed. Shockey will be neutralized.
Barber might pop a long run, the Washington defense’s bugaboo this year. Manning will make some plays, but not enough of them to overcome the hole that his team’s defense will leave them in.
Finally, let’s dispense with two of the supposed intangible advantages that the Giants. The first is that they want to win the game in honor of team patriarch Wellington Mara, giving them “extra” incentive as if first place in the division near the midway point of the season isn’t incentive enough. Two words—The Triplets. Remember how the induction of Smith, Aikman, and Irvin into the Dallas Hall of Rings, or whatever it is, was supposed to have the Cowboys so sky high that they were supposed to smash the Redskins. How did that work out, Roy Williams? In fact, the desire to win one for Mara may work against them. They may be too pumped up and play out of control and wear out by the third quarter.
As far as Antonio Pierce knowing the Redskins defense, so what? Gregg Williams knows Pierce pretty well. You don’t think that he and Dale Lindsey spent a little time down the hall with the offensive coaches detailing to them Pierce’s weak points?
The Redskins are getting on a roll. You can say that putting up 52 points against an inferior opponent is just an isolated, one-week occurrence, but the record says otherwise. In Gibbs first run here, the Redskins put up 40 or more points 17 times. Their record after those games was a stellar 14-3. In fact, the last time they put up over 50 points, against Atlanta in 1991, they went on the road to Pittsburgh and scored 41 on the Steelers.
The Giants will come out playing hard, but by halftime the Redskins superiority will become apparent. It may not be over enough by the time the fourth quarter comes around to empty the bench like they did last week, but be assured that it will indeed be over.
Redskins 31, Giants 14
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