September 3, 2008

Let's Get This Party Started

Believe in now. That's what the NFL has been telling every team and fan base this offseason. And it's convinced me.

The Redskins have put together an up and down preseason, but just a glance at their roster doesn't make me think how bad will we be, but how far can we go?

Jason Campbell is the key to the offense and he's kept us in suspense as to how he'll perform this year. When I look at him I see a guy with all the intangibles, but he has yet to gain the confidence needed to lead a team in any situation.

Jim Zorn is doing all he can, but the ball is in Campbell's court. This is his team and he needs to show the NFL world that he is ready to take them on his shoulders.

Anyway without further ado, it's time to break down tomorrow's opener and it couldn't get much closer.

At first glance the Giants have an advantage. They are playing at home and are receiving their Super Bowl banner so the momentum goes to them.

Looking at the matchups, the game gets a little tighter. The Giants are playing without Osi Umenyiora, and Michael Strahan retired so the current defensive ends who are Justin Tuck and Matthias Kiwanuka are a bit of a downgrade. Neither of the latter two players have played without the former two drawing most of the attention from opposing teams' offensive lines.
I like the Skins' chances in the trench battle. Jon Jansen will be replaced by Stephon Heyer who shut down Strahan in a game last year. The rest of the line should settle in nicely against the Giants front four.

This should allow Washington to experience some success in the running game early on. The offensive line will have its best run blocking guard in Randy Thomas and this should get Clinton Portis some quality touches.

If Portis runs well early, the pressure on Campbell should vanish and he can sit in the pocket and pick apart secondary on underneath routes. The Giants don't have the best corners, but Sam Madison really came on at the end of last year while Aaron Ross is a shutdown corner in the making. Corey Webster is weakness the Skins should challenge. Campbell has yet to prove he can throw a consistent deep ball and so it would be wise for him to stick to the quick rhythm throws that really play to his strengths.

The Skins have a good chance to wear down the Giants defense by controlling time of possession and the line of scrimmage, but the defense will need to get the job done.

This is where I see the problems flaring up. Jason Taylor is questionable for the game and if he misses it or plays under 100% the Skins defensive line will also have trouble controlling the line scrimmage.

The Giants have a running back by committee. Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Derrick Ward will all get touches. Ward tore the Skins up last year in week three, rushing for over 100 yards. He is a nifty runner with good vision as oppsoed to the lumbering Jacobs. Jacobs runs upright, but is big enough to push the pile and pick up extra yards. Meanwhile, Bradshaw is the speed demon. He can catch and provides that burst which makes him a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.

I think the Skins will have trouble stopping this trio. They are all so different and that's what makes them so tough to get a bead on. I could see the running game being very successful for the Giants tomorrow night.

As for Eli Manning and his receivers, there will be less success. Manning is lucky to only have to face Andre Carter and possibly an injured Taylor, but he will still be pressured. I think Greg Blache might use a variety of blitzes, sending Reed Doughty from the safety spot and an occasional corner blitz.

These manuevers would be wise to employ as Manning jars easily. Throw his timing off and he can get intop a gamelong funk. Add the fact that Plaxico Burress always seems to drop passes against us and he could have a frustrating day.

I think the Skins linebackers will have a huge impact on the game as they will need to cut off the run plays that make it past the line of scrimmage. Since there will be a substantial number of them, London Fletcher has to plug up the holes and there is no reason to assume he won't.

Special teams is a split decision. John Carney is old, but accurate while Shaun Suisham is coming into own. I call that a draw. Jeff Feagles is unmatched when it comes to downing punts inside the 20 while Durant Brooks sees his first real action. The return game features an up and comer in Dominik Hixon for NY while Rock Cartwright anchors a solid kick return game for the Skins. Advantage Skins. Disappointing punt returner Antwaan Randle El needs to revert back to his Pittsburgh form while RW McQuarters is adequate.

The coaching match-up will be fun to watch as well. Tom Coughlin, so often criticized, is coming off his first Super Bowl win as a coach. He has all the confidence in the world right now and will call a good game.

On the other hand Jim Zorn is calling his first game and we will probably see a few mistakes. He has looked great so far, but this is taking it to another level. Advantage Giants.

The pick: I think the Skins build off success in the running game and control the ball while the Giants will struggle in the passing attack, limiting what they can do offensively. The Ginats will get a big play or two to keep it close, but the Skins won't blow a first half lead this time. Jim Zorn will win his coaching debut 20-14 and the Skins will knock off the defending Super Bowl champs in their own house.

Hey, believe in now!

1 comment:

jimcass said...

I am pumped for the game tonight! How awesome would it be to have the Redskins beat the defending Super Bowl Champs to start the opener??? I think the Giants have a great deal of talent but I also think they got hot at just the right time as well last year. I will take our D over the G-mens D and our RB and TE over the Giants as well. It’s great to have the NFL again and with the NFC East going to have 4 great power teams it’s going to a fun season in which I hope the Skins surprise a lot of people. I already got my opener tickets next week vs the Saints. Since I belong to the Redskins myspace page I got a coupon code: RXL5 and I saved like $30 extra on my eSellOut tickets if anyone else might be interested?
Should be fun, I hope the Eli Manning looks like the Eli many of us have grown to laugh at over the years and not the Eli who was Super Bowl MVP. I think a healthy dose of CP will be more than enough to beat the Giants tonight!