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Giants Bid to 'Do It For Duke' - Sporting Life


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http://www.sportinglife.com/nfl/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=international_feed/05/10/28/GRIDIRON_USA-NY_Giants_Preview.html

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GIANTS BID TO 'DO IT FOR DUKE' The New York Giants host Mark Brunell and the Washington Redskins in a battle of NFC East rivals with the teams in a three-way tie with Philadelphia for first place in the division.

This game marks the first for the Giants since the death of co-owner Wellington Mara - the most significant figure in the franchise's history - aged 89.

The last game of Mara's life was New York's thrilling 24-23 win over Denver at Giants Stadium last week.

Prior to the game coach Tom Coughlin spoke to the players about Mara as well as the Giants' other owner Bob Tisch, who is suffering from brain cancer.

And after the Giants won the game on a two-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Amani Toomer with five seconds left, Coughlin and the players raised their hands and chanted, "Duke, Duke, Duke," which was Mara's nickname.

Now Coughlin would like to salute Mara's memory with a big win over the Redskins but his former quarterback is standing in the way of that.

Brunell, 35, played eight years under Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the two went to two AFC Championship games in 1996 and 1999.

Coughlin, the franchise's original coach, was fired by the Jaguars following the 2002 season.

But after a year out of football, he was hired by the Giants to replace Jim Fassel and went 6-10 in his first season.

The Redskins also went 6-10 in Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs' return to the sidelines last year.

But Brunell has benefited from the addition of Santana Moss, who was acquired in the off-season from the New York Jets and has 38 catches for 743 yards and five touchdowns.

Brunell threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Moss caught five passes for 112 yards and the Redskins rushed for 204 yards in a 52-17 victory over San Francisco last week.

Clinton Portis rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries and Ladell Betts added 92 yards on 12 carries.

The Giants signed middle linebacker Antonio Pierce away from Washington in the off-season and he leads the team in tackles.

But they yielded 191 yards on the ground in the win over Denver.

New York are 4-0 at Giants Stadium, including a "road" game against New Orleans on September 19 but last week's win was the most memorable as the Giants rallied from a 23-10 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Manning engineered a 15-play, 83-yard drive in the final three minutes, capping it with the touchdown to Toomer.

The Giants have plenty of weapons with running back Tiki Barber, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and tight end Jeremy Shockey and have averaged 28.8 points a game.

But they will face a defence that has yielded only 17.2 points per game.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington appears to be out of Gibbs' doghouse.

After being benched for a couple of games, he recorded nine tackles in the win over San Francisco.

Linebackers Marcus Washington and Lemar Marshall each had a sack and safety Sean Taylor returned an interception 32 yards.

The teams split the two meetings last year.

The Giants forced seven turnovers and posted a 20-14 win in New York and three of Washington's turnovers either led to or resulted in 17 of the Giants' points.

Portis fumbled the ball away twice, one of which was returned 16 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Barrett Green.

Portis got back at the Giants in the rematch, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-7 victory last December 5 at Washington.

The Giants lead the series 81-59-4 and have won six of the last eight meetings.

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