The Washington Redskins are currently playing their best football of the 2012 NFL season. Consecutive wins against their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, have the Redskins in the conversation regarding the NFC playoff picture.
Still, not too many people outside of Washington, D.C. think the Redskins have a chance at making the playoffs. At 5-6, Washington is currently a game out of the last playoff spot. To have a realistic chance at the playoffs, the Redskins will have to defeat the New York Giants under the primetime spotlight on Monday, December 3rd.
A Washington victory isn’t as far-fetched as many may think. In fact, the Redskins should have beaten the Giants during their first meeting Week Seven in New York. Foolish penalties, as well as uncharacteristic turnovers, prevented Washington from blowing out New York on their own home field.
An early false start penalty on Washington’s offense negated a Redskins’ touchdown. While Washington settled for a field goal on that drive, it’s the kind of mental error that teams cannot make against the Super Bowl champions and expect to win the game.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Washington actually had the lead late in the game. But they let the game slip away on a long touchdown pass from New York quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz (above, middle). Washington fumbled away their last chance to win on their final possession, ensuring a 27-23 Giants’ victory.
Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III and his offense can take solace in the fact that they can move the ball against the Giants’ defense. To beat the Giants, Washington needs to keep penalties to a bare minimum. They also must take care of the football, considering in their first meeting, Washington turned the ball over four times. Three of those turnovers occurred in New York’s territory, while the Redskins were driving for at least a chance to kick a manageable field goal.
Washington’s defense must contain Cruz, who has a knack for producing big plays. If the Redskins’ secondary can limit the opportunities of the Giants’ passing attack, as well as practice ball security, then they will have a great chance to exact revenge on the Super Bowl champions by winning this primetime matchup.