If not for a blown coverage on a 77-yard Eli Manning-to-Victor Cruz touchdown pass with 73
seconds left back in Week 7 in New York, the Redskins would be riding a three-game winning streak against the Giants. As it is, Washington cashed as a 6½-point underdog in that 27-23 loss, its fourth straight spread-cover in this rivalry. Furthermore, the ‘Skins are coming off consecutive wins and covers against division rivals Philadelphia (31-6 at home) and Dallas (38-31 on the road), meaning Robert Griffin III has cashed in each of his first three NFC East games. On top of that, the Redskins have been off since beating the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, while New
York played the night game last Sunday.
So of course I’m recommending the Giants as a road favorite on Monday Night Football. (To answer your question, no, you don’t have to pee in a cup to be a sports handicapper.) My logic is two-fold: First, I trust Mark Sanchez to complete three straight passes (to his own team) more than I trust Washington’s sieve-like defense to keep the Giants off the scoreboard. Take out the 31-6 win over the Eagles—when Philly rookie QB Nick Foles was making his first start, and on the road—and the Redskins have surrendered 32, 31, 38, 22, 24, 26, 27, 27, 21 and 31 points. That’s an average of 28 points per game.
Secondly—and more importantly—this is the first time a defense will get a second crack at RG III. In the first meeting, the dazzling rookie shredded the Giants to the tune of 20-for-28 passing for 258 yards and two TDs, with an additional 89 rushing yards on nine carries. But, Griffin also was picked off once and put the ball on the carpet twice (losing one of the fumbles). So it was hardly a flawless performance. Now, he has to face the Giants’ veteran defense a second time, and I simply believe that defense will come with a different, more confusing scheme. Keep in mind that a week ago in a 38-10 beat-down of Green Bay, New York pasted Aaron Rodgers; the reigning league MVP went 14-for-25 for 219 yards with one TD and one interception, was sacked five times and waved the white flag late in the fourth quarter, turning the offense over to his backup.
Yes, RG III is spectacular—but he’s not exactly in Aaron Rodgers’ class just yet. Nor does he
have as many offensive weapons. Finally, while it’s true that the Redskins are 5-6, it’s also true that they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Friday’s Result: UCLA-Stanford UNDER 47 (loss)