In a must-win game, the Giants pummeled the Redskins to the tune of a 45-12 victory. The team came out on fire and had their best game in weeks. It was against a weaker opponent, but the Redskins were not a team to be overlooked. Coming into this game, they had been competitive since their victory over the Broncos in week 10. If the Giants can build on this win there is a chance that they can not only make the playoffs, but makes some noise once they get in.
The Giants performed better offensively against the Redskins than I had thought. Generally the Redskins have played the Giants running game well, but not last night. The Redskins decided to rely on a pretty basic defense to stop the power running of the Giants, hoping the defensive line with the return of Haynesworth would be enough. This was not the case, however, as the Giants offensive line had one of their best games and were able to open plenty of holes for the running backs, keeping the Skins from turning up the heat on Manning. With the time Manning had, he was able to carve up an under-performing secondary with a receiving group that is quietly making the Giants passing game one of the best in the league. In the past five games the Giants have only failed to eclipse 30 points once, and that was in the Thursday night no-show against the Broncos. More importantly, Gilbride and Coughlin have accepted that the team's new offensive identity requires the run to be set up by the pass and the play calling showed that. Gilbride called arguably one of the best games of the season. The offense is hitting its stride at the right time, and could help the Giants go on a run.
Defensively the Giants have improved the biggest area of concern this season, that being the pass rush. With the injury to Tuck the Giants have not had a lineman step up to wreak havoc in the opponents back field. This game was a different story as Campbell was under duress the entire game, with five different players recording a sack. The rush stymied a Redskins offense that did not get a first down till the game was practically out of reach, and finished the game with only 12 points. The problem is, like i said in the game preview, the Redskins have an injury-ravaged line and so the Giants were not going to have much of a problem getting a pass rush. Their next two opponents, the Panthers and Vikings, have much better lines, as will the teams they meet come playoff time. For the Giants to truly take that next step, they are going to need to continue to see this improved defense, and that is going to have to come from the pass rush.
The Giants offense is clicking at the right time and might have to carry the team into the postseason. The defense was able to dominate in a game against a weaker opponent, in a match-up that was greatly in their favor. The big test will be if this improvement can continue into the coming weeks.
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