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First look: Redskins vs. Giants

Sep 9, 2009, 2:51 PM EDT

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NFL games are about matchups and the Washington Redskins have one that doesn’t work in their favor when they take on the Giants on Sunday.

The Redskins’ weakest unit is their offensive line. New York is loaded with talent on its defensive line. Some mismatches spell trouble. This one potentially spells disaster.

It did in 2008. The Redskins mustered just seven points in each of their two games against the Giants last year. The low point total wasn’t due to mistakes or bad luck or turnovers. New York simply dominated the line. Clinton Portis had nowhere to run; Jason Campbell had no time to throw.

And that Giants D-line did not have Osi Umenyiora, who was out for the season with a knee injury, or Chris Canty, who was playing for the Dallas Cowboys before coming over as a free agent.

Last year it didn’t seem like Jim Zorn adjusted to the Giants’ DL dominance. It looked like he was figuring that if he ignored it, it would go away.

It’s difficult and usually futile but you can try quick passes, traps, screens and an occasional deep pass with maximum protection. We didn’t see much of that last year and the Redskins really never had a chance in either game.

This doesn’t mean that all is lost for the visitors. Even though the Giants have a strong offensive line they could struggle to score. The Redskins’ defensive backfield against the Giants’ receivers is a good matchup for Washington. Until someone emerges as a genuine threat to replace the departed Plaxico Burress Eli Manning will have difficulty finding someone to throw to.

The Redskins’ defensive line will be put to the test. The key to stopping Brandon Jacobs is to get him moving sideways. If he’s allowed to get up a head of steam into the second level defensive backs end up getting posterized.

I’ll make my prediction later in the week. The good news is that the Redskins will face such an OL-DL mismatch just a few times this year but they’re going to have to figure a way around it if they want to steal that most precious of regular-season NFL prizes, a division road win.

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