1. Will the weather be a factor?
Not like it could have been. Today's
forecast calls for rain and possible flurries late, but originally they
were talking about a big snowstorm. However, the wind could be a
problem, especially because Todd Collins does not have a big-time arm.
The key for him, as always, will be timing. And if they go to a shorter
passing attack, the winds might not matter.
2. What should we expect from Collins?
That's the question of the hour,
day and week. And here's the answer: who knows? Collins was outstanding
last week in relief. Was that a sign of something or an aberration? If
it was a sign, then why wasn't he playing at the start of last season?
But what we should expect are good decisions – if he's not under
duress, that is. We'll learn an awful lot about him Sunday – if he's a
vastly changed QB from 10 years ago or if the decision to play him as a
backup was the right one.
3. What must the Redskins do with Collins in the game?
Protect the heck
out of him. It's a bit of a dilemma because with Collins, the Redskins
can use more five- and six-man protections thanks to his quick decision
making. His hot reads are very good. But the problem is New York's pass
rush, which is even better. If the Redskins leave the tackles one on
one most of the day, they're asking for trouble. New York's secondary
is banged up, so it's imperative to protect him.
4. What about the Heyer-Strahan matchup?
Um, a tough one, no? But Heyer
will get plenty of help, which makes those 5- and 6-man protection
schemes difficult. The real key will probably be on the other side with
Samuels vs. Umenyiora. Samuels' play seems to have slipped a little and
if he doesn't have a good game, then the Redskins will have problems.
New York is also blitzing more of late, another complication with
5. Did the off weekend help Washington?
The Redskins really do seem
energized and refreshed after a couple torturous weeks. If they didn't
have so many injuries, they would have the look of a team about to go
on a little run. But what do they have left? It's hard to imagine the
Redskins being able to go on a run, but we'll see more evidence tonight
if they are or not.
6. Will the ground game get going tonight?
It better, given the
possible conditions and the fact that they must keep the line
off-balance. The Redskins' problem is that New York's quick ends often
contain the edge very well against Washington. And the linebackers
often make good reads against this unit. Linebackers have been playing
closer to the line of scrimmage lately to stop the run. Look for more
of the same tonight. The best guess is that Washington will have to run
up the middle. The backside is just not getting sealed off enough to be
consistent with the cutback runs.
7. What must the Redskins do defensively?
Pressure Eli. The fourth-year
quarterback seems to be the same as ever: makes mistakes and plays with
equal aplomb. But he's directed a couple good fourth quarters the past
two games. However, he is very prone to mistakes under pressure. The
Redskins know this and will do what they can to get to him. That means
blitzing. Also, with the current secondary, that's probably the way to
8. Can they handle Plaxico?
The problem with Burress is that it only
takes one big play from him to change the game. Remember the first
meeting? Burress was silent for a while, then made a game-changing
play. He hasn't practiced this season, except on two occasions, because
of a bum ankle. But he's still having a great season. Shawn Springs
must have a good game against him.
9. What's up with the linebackers?
London and Rocky have been too
silent of late. They must start producing more. It's clear that the
pounding has taken a toll on Fletcher and Rocky has been playing hurt,
or at least dinged. It's made a difference. But the Giants will try to
hurt them with tight end Jeremy Shockey and up the gut with Brandon Jacobs. That means the LBs must produce.
10. Will the Redskins win?
We'd love to pick them and see a late-season
push for the playoffs. But the Giants pass rush, coupled with an
immobile quarterback, scares us. And it just seems like the Giants
always beat Washington in New York when the game matters. Giants 27,
Ten Spot Preview: Redskins at Giants
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