After watching the Giants defeat the Washington Redskins 32-21 back in Week 3, not many predicted that the next meeting between the two teams would determine the champion of the NFC East. Both New York and Washington left MetLife Stadium on that Thursday night with 1-2 records and with a lot of work to do. What we didn’t count on was Dallas and Philadelphia turning from division favorites to also-rans before our eyes.
Although the Eagles asserted their dominance over the Giants with a 27-7 victory back in Week 6, New York’s rivals have since lost four of five to fall to 4-7. And they still have games left against league heavyweights New England and Arizona.
Dallas, on the other hand, has looked pretty good… when starting quarterback Tony Romo is on the field. With a Thanksgiving loss to Carolina, the Cowboys moved to 3-1 in games Romo has started, but while he was recovering from a broken clavicle they lost seven games in a row. Now that Dallas is reeling from yet another Romo injury that occurred on Thursday, the team appears to be virtually eliminated from playoff contention.
Philadelphia and Dallas are in such dire straits that it looks like the division will come down to either the Giants or Washington. That makes the rematch between the two teams a very big game.
“We know it’s an important one, in the division, and every game counts right now,” said quarterback Eli Manning, “Every one is important, every one is big, and it’s going to be a deciding factor in how the season ends. So we understand that and we got to go out there and play good football.”
Good football is something that the Giants have had trouble playing consistently. Over the past month, they’ve alternated wins over Tampa Bay and Dallas with late collapses versus New Orleans and the Patriots. The Washington defense this week should pose a challenge as the unit has not allowed a 300-yard passer all season long. Nevertheless, the New York offense is playing so well that even an average defensive effort would make things very tough on Washington.
“We’re going to have to throw it, we’re going to have to get completions, and just be efficient,” said Manning, “Whether we throw for 300 yards or not isn’t going to make the difference, we have to be efficient in our pass game and our run game and scoring points when we get opportunities.”
In the first game against Washington, Manning threw for “only” 279 yards and two touchdowns. However, going on the road is usually a tougher challenge against division rivals like the Redskins.
“I think they’re playing good football, especially at home. It seems lately they’re protecting the football, they’re getting turnovers, and we know they have the ability to play well and score a lot of points and be effective on defense and get turnovers. So we got to be on our toes and ready for their schemes and execute well and play smart.”