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Channel3000:NFL Preview - N.Y. Giants (10-4) At Washington (8-6)


Mark

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He forgot one more factor comparing giants and Skins. We have 12 men versus their 11. And this 12th should make the difference.

http://www.channel3000.com/nfl/5612286/detail.html

NFL Preview - N.Y. Giants (10-4) At Washington (8-6)

POSTED: 10:56 am CST December 22, 2005

By Lyle Fitzsimmons, NFL Analyst -- So the Giants and the Redskins are playing a game in December for late-season supremacy in the NFC East Division and a chance to clinch a playoff berth, huh?

Apparently all we need now is a scruffy Bruce Springsteen croaking out songs in an American flag headband, and the journey back to the mid-1980s will be complete.

Somehow, it seems, the latest sensation to emerge from somewhere in the swamps of Jersey - that's the football team, not the 56-year-old rocker-turned- political shill-turned-VH1 Classic staple - would be at home in both eras.

And, based on their performance in last week's 27-17 downing of the playing- for-their-postseason lives Kansas City Chiefs, the Giants appear to be legitimately among the NFL's elite for the first time since Bill Parcells roamed the sidelines and "Dancing in the Dark" monopolized the airwaves.

True, they did reach the Super Bowl after a surprising playoff run a few years back under Jim Fassel, but with the combination of Tiki Barber (220 yards rushing vs. the Chiefs) on offense and a swarming defense that has wreaked havoc on quarterbacks up and down the 2005 schedule..."This Time it's for Real."

Across the field will be Joe Gibbs and the Redskins, who've evoked memories of their own "Glory Days" with a win streak that stretched to three games last week with a 35-7 hammering of Parcells and the Cowboys that upped Washington's record to 8-6 and prompted their inclusion in the morass of playoff scenarios.

A win for the Giants this week will give them the East championship and keep them in the running for one of the conference's two first-round byes, which are at the moment in the hands of Seattle and Chicago. Washington can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a load of help from other games involving fellow Wild Card pursuers Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Minnesota and Dallas.

A Redskins loss could leave them, ahem...in the "Darkness on the Edge of Town."

SERIES HISTORY

The Giants have a 82-59-4 advantage in the all-time series with Washington, and have won seven of the last 10 head-to-head. New York routed the Redskins by a 36-0 count back in Week 8. The teams split their 2004 home-and-home series, with the Giants earning a 20-14 victory in Week 2 at home, and the Redskins returning the favor with a 31-7 win at FedEx Field. The Giants' most recent road win over the Redskins came in 2003, by a 24-21 count in overtime.

The teams have split two postseason matchups, with the Giants' 17-0 victory in the 1986 NFC Championship countering a 28-0 Washington win in a 1943 NFC Division Playoff.

Washington head coach Joe Gibbs is 13-15 against the Giants in his career, including the postseason loss. New York's Tom Coughlin is 3-3 against the Redskins all-time, including 1-2 while with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2002), and is 2-1 head-to-head versus Gibbs.

GIANTS OFFENSE VS. REDSKINS DEFENSE

The critics seem to be kicking around quarterback Eli Manning with mounting frequency as the weeks pass, but all the former Mississippi star seems to do is help the Giants win games, though maybe not with quite the same alacrity as his now once-beaten brother.

The "other" Manning needs 186 yards through the air to join Kerry Collins and Phil Simms as the only passers in club history to reach 3,500 yards in a single season.

He's tied for first in the NFL with seven fourth-quarter TD passes and the team as a whole is second in the league with 112 fourth-quarter points. And, for the season, Eli has completed 259 of 492 attempts, good for a first-in- the-NFC 3,314 yards and a tied-for-first 22 touchdowns.

The resurgent Barber has forced himself into discussions on the best backs in the league, with last week's total ranking as the NFL's best single-game performance since LaDainian Tomlinson broke for 243 in December 2003.

His 49 career rushing touchdowns are even with Rodney Hampton for the franchise record, and he meets Washington seeking his fifth 100-yard game in a row and sixth straight against NFC East foes.

Wide receiver Amani Toomer needs one TD reception to pass Frank Gifford for third all-time among Giants players, and tight end Jeremy Shockey is second among this year's NFL players at his position with 873 receiving yards.

Just 129 more will give him the most prodigious TE season in 'Big Blue' history, passing Mark Bavaro's 1,001 from 1986.

Washington's Marcus Washington is tied for sixth among NFL linebackers with 6.5 sacks and leads the Redskins in that category. Cornerback Carlos Rogers has interceptions in two of his last four games and shares a four-way team lead with Ryan Clark, Sean Taylor and Lemar Marshall.

Defensively, the team has surrendered an average of 292.9 total yards per game, while the Giants have racked up a weekly count of 360.9, good for second in the NFC. Also perhaps troubling for the Redskins is a minus-4 turnover ratio, which pales in comparison to New York's plus-12 - the third best in the league.

REDSKINS OFFENSE VS. GIANTS DEFENSE

So much for boring, no-name, Gibbs-led units.

Surprising first-year Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss continues piling on the misery for New York Jets fans with what's now become a Pro Bowl-recognized season, having racked up 75 catches for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns through 14 games.

Moss needs 197 yards to pass Bobby Mitchell's 1,436 for the best single-season output in team history. Meanwhile, the player he was traded for in what looked like a steal in the other direction - Laveranues Coles - has 65 catches, 695 yards and three touchdowns for Jersey's other team...the 3-11 one.

Quarterback Mark Brunell needs 216 yards to become the 27th player in NFL history with 30,000 for a career and one more TD pass to establish a personal single-season best of 21. The former Jacksonville starter is 246-of-418 for the season for 2,797 yards and an 87.0 passer rating, which is third in the conference.

Clinton Portis has eight touchdowns on the ground - another third-best number for the NFC - and is 137 yards short of Stephen Davis's team record of 1,432 yards in 2001. Portis has rushed for 100-plus yards in 30 of 58 career games and is the fourth-fastest player in league history to reach that plateau.

And, to top it off, versatile tight end Chris Cooley has 64 catches for 725 yards and is just four receptions short of breaking Jerry Smith's team standard of 67 from 1967.

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan's 129.5 career sacks are 3.5 off the seventh-best all-time number of Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O'Neal. Previously anonymous book-end lineman Osi Umenyiora has 12.5 sacks this season, good for a tie for second-best in the league.

Free safety Brent Alexander has a team-best four interceptions.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Both teams are talented. Both teams are streaking. Both teams are motivated.

So, in the absence of anything else, go with the team that's better. And in this case, that's the Giants. It shouldn't be as one-sided as the 36-0 demolition posted back in East Rutherford in October, but this time the result will be far more meaningful.

"Better Days" for Big Blue.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Giants 24, Redskins 21.

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OVERALL ANALYSIS

Both teams are talented. Both teams are streaking. Both teams are motivated.

So, in the absence of anything else, go with the team that's better.

what he meant to say was

'go with the home team that would like very much to avenge their worse loss of the season, coming off their biggest win of the season.

skins 24, giants 13'

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Moss needs 197 yards to pass Bobby Mitchell's 1,436 for the best single-season output in team history. Meanwhile, the player he was traded for in what looked like a steal in the other direction - Laveranues Coles - has 65 catches, 695 yards and three touchdowns for Jersey's other team...the 3-11 one.

No comment.

Clinton Portis has eight touchdowns on the ground - another third-best number for the NFC - and is 137 yards short of Stephen Davis's team record of 1,432 yards in 2001.

Y'know, I still cheer for Stephen Davis on the rare occasions I see him.

But it'd be OK with me if Clinton broke his record this week. (As opposed to next).

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