Five to watch
1. Stephon Heyer.
Can he handle Justin Tuck? The Redskins will obviously need to give him help because Heyer, though improved, will have a hard time winning many one-on-one matchups vs. Tuck. But the other key is how Heyer blocks Tuck in the run game. That might be more important.
2. Chris Samuels.
He'll face Osi Umenyiora, who is coming off knee surgery. Samuels needs to beware of the bull rush, in addition to the speed. If the Redskins have to slide protection to Samuels too often, then other areas will break down.
3. Jason Campbell.
How will he handle the pressure the Giants bring? He'll need help from the offensive line to give him time. But look for the Giants to throw a lot of looks at Campbell, sending blitzes, but also dropping seven into coverage. Campbell played with more confidence the last two preseason games; will that carry over? But the Giants also are banged up at corner; he needs to take advantage.
4. Cornelius Griffin.
We know that Albert Haynesworth will be double teamed; Rich Seubert can not handle him solo. But Griffin will be paired against Pro Bowler Chris Snee in a very good matchup. Griffin looked solid this summer. If he gets a lot of one-on-ones, can he be disruptive? Against Brandon Jacobs, that would help.
5. Malcolm Kelly.
He's making his first start for a reason: he gives Washington a chance at some explosive plays. He's not necessarily a burner, but his size will help on downfield throws. Will it happen?
1. The Redskins will handle the pressure. They will allow a sack or two; hard for that not to happen against this front. But they'll handle it by being more balanced with their play calls and keeping New York off-kilter. Jim Zorn has to handle this with his play calls – screens, draws; throwing on first down. The line is not good enough to beat this group if they're always in obvious passing situations. The key is not to get in them.
2. New York's passing game will sputter. This is a good time to face the Giants because of their receiving situation. Nobody returns in the role they had last year and two rookies could be key contributors. It's asking a lot for that to click in the first game. New York will need a turnover or two plus a steady dose of Jacobs to win.
3. The Redskins will pull the upset. The Redskins are a very loose group and much more confident in what they can do than anyone else is. That's how it should be. But they were relaxed all week; how that translates to Sunday is another matter. But they're coming in with a good attitude. But the biggest reason is that I think they're get ting New York at a good time, even if it is the opener. The Giants have the best combination of offensive and defensive lines in the NFL. It's why they'll win the division. But with health a question at corner and unproven receivers, the Redskins – a healthy team – have their best shot at an upset. Redskins 17, Giants 16.
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