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Woody:the MATCHUPS


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Washington at N.Y. Giants Today, 1 p.m., Fox Line: Giants by 3

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sunday, December 7, 2003


The Giants must find their offense vexing. They are eighth in the NFL in total yards, but are 27th in points scored. A look at the turnover ratio offers some explanation. The Giants are minus nine in that category. Quarterback Kerry Collins has completed 57 percent of his passes, but has thrown more interceptions, 15, than touchdown passes, 13. Collins' pass protection has been shaky most of the season, and the Buffalo Bills sacked him six times last week. Sometimes, Collins gets rid of the ball early because he senses pressure that isn't there yet. Running back Tiki Barber has gained 993 yards rushing and 329 more as a receiver. But he has a tendency to fumble.

In desperate situations, the Giants are not good. They are zero for 10 on fourth-down conversion attempts.

The Redskins offense is hampered with or without Patrick Ramsey at quarterback. If Ramsey plays, his mobility will be severely hampered by a foot injury, leaving him vulnerable to pass-rush pressure. If Ramsey doesn't play, the offense is hampered by the inexperience of backup Tim Hasselbeck and his comparatively weak arm.

Running on the Giants defense is possible. Perhaps Trung Canidate can have his second 100-yard game or perhaps he and Ladell Betts can combine for 100 yards rushing.

Advantage: Washington


The Giants have four starters on injured reserve. Still, the Giants lead the NFL in sacks with 34. Defensive end Michael Strahan is one of the more formidable players at his position. He and Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen always have an entertaining matchup. The Giants have trouble stopping the run. They're 17th in the league and are giving up 117 yards per game on the ground. They're 21st in points allowed per game and 22nd in total yards allowed per game.

The Giants offense is vulnerable to pass-rush pressure, but the Redskins are weak in the pass rush department. The Redskins are 29th in sacks per game. Redskins cornerbacks Champ Bailey needs to shut down Amani Toomer, who averages almost 18 yards per catch, if the Redskins are to be successful. And the front seven has to stop Barber and force him to fumble.

Advantage: Even


Giants punter Jeff Feagles has a 33-yard net, while Redskins punter Bryan Barker has a 34-yard net. Redskins return man Chad Morton has returned a punt for a touchdown, while the Giants have yet to scratch with either of their return units. Giants place-kicker Matt Bryant is nine of 10 on field goal attempts, including three-for-three between 40 and 49 yards. Redskins place-kicker John Hall has been good on 22 of 27 attempts, and he knows how to handle the Giants Stadium wind, having kicked there for the New York Jets for six seasons. Advantage: Washington


The Giants seem burned out on Jim Fassel's crisis-mode coaching. The Redskins seem burned out trying to figure out Steve Spurrier's game plan. Redskins defensive coordinator George Edwards is under fire from inside the organization, which does not inspire confidence in the players. Neither coaching staff has been able to rally the players. Advantage: Even


Intangibles are tough to find in this matchup. Neither team has a chance to make the playoffs. Fassel is almost certain to be fired when the season ends. It's difficult to see Spurrier surviving this train wreck of a season. The Giants might rally around Fassel, but pro players don't do a whole lot of rallying around anyone. The Giants are at home, but is it an advantage to play in front of New York fans when the season is going down the drain? And the Giants are 1-5 at home this season. Advantage: Even

- Paul Woody

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