The words which New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has constantly chattered out of his mouth regarding Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III can finally take a back seat to some action now that it is time for these two teams to face off in their first meeting of the season. First during a radio interview before the season Umenyiora said that Griffin didn’t deserve a nickname yet due to the fact that he hadn’t earned it the NFL so he called him “Bob Griffin”. Now just this week the load-mouthed, English-born Giants defensive end has knighted Griffin and dubbed him “Sir Robert Griffin”. With the game almost upon us it’s time to focus on the actual action which will take place on the field when there two meet at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Redskins enter the game with a 3-3 record and are currently ranked fifth in the NFL in offensive yards gained per game (394 yards), second in rushing yards gained per game (166 yards) and tied for third in points scored per game which is mainly due to the incredible season that RG3 is experiencing. Thus far the rookie signal caller has passed for 1,343 yards, five touchdowns and just two interceptions while completing 70.2% of his attempts (1st in the NFL) along rushing for 379 yards and six touchdowns on just 55 carries. Last week versus the Minnesota Vikings Griffin completed 17 of his 22 attempts for 182 yards and a score while rushing for another 138 yards and two scores on just 13 carries, leading Washington to a 38-26 victory.
The Giants defense ranks amongst the bottom half of the league in many yardage statistical categories such as yards allowed per game (tied for 19th, 363 yards) and passing yards allowed per game (21st, 256.8 yards) but are seventh in points allowed per game (19 points). Umenyiora along with fellow New York pass rushers Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul are going to have to find a way to contain RG3 inside the pocket and not not let him escape for the sake of the passing as well as rushing defense. If Griffin can get outside of the pocket comfortably it could be a long day for the Giants and their fans alike. Washington running back Alfred Morris is also a key component for their offense, this season he has rushed for 583 yards (5th in the league) and five touchdowns on 116 carries; the Giants must also find a way to stop him in order to be successful.
The problem in Washington is their defense which seems to have trouble stopping anyone who can throw a football. This season the Redskin defense ranks 27th in yards allowed per game(417.2 yards), 32nd in passing yards allowed per game (328.3 yards) and 26th in points allowed per game (28.8 points) which should make Giants quarterback Eli Manning happy to be facing them. This season Manning has passed for 1,772 yards (3rd in NFL) and 11 touchdowns (7th in NFL) while completing 63.6% of his attempts. Manning will look to connect down field early and often with wideouts Victor Cruz (43 receptions for 466 yards and 6 TD on the season) and Hakeem Nicks who should be almost 100% healthy this week for the first time all season.
The Redskins defense is going to have to find a way to step up against a potent Giants offense who ranks third in yards gained per game (414.7 yards), fifth in passing yards gained per game (289.7 yards), ninth in rushing yards per game (125 yards) and are tied for third with them in points scored per game (29.7 points). Ryan Kerrigan and the defensive line must find ways to get pressure on Manning who has only been sacked four times this season and DeAngelo Hall and the secondary must have solid coverage on the receivers down field otherwise this game could get ugly, quick.
Last season sans RG3 the Redskins were able to win both meetings versus the Giants, this season however I think the two teams will split the series with the Giants taking the first game 31-24.