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Posted at 07:04 AM ET, 12/15/2011

Victor Cruz says Giants no longer take Redskins lightly

In the first week of the season, the Washington Redskins pulled off a surprise victory over the New York Giants, winning 28-14 to snap a six-game losing streak to their NFC East rivals.

The Redskins and Giants have gone in opposite directions as the season has played out, however. Washington owns a 4-9 record and sits in last place in the division. New York, meanwhile, owns a 7-6 mark and sits tied atop the NFC East.

But despite their differences, New York wide receiver Victor Cruz says thanks to that season-opening loss, the Giants — who entered the season opener having won nine of the last 10 meetings with Washington — know better than to underestimate the Redskins.

“I think we understand that nothing’s granted, that nothing’s given to us,” said Cruz, who leads New York with 68 catches for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns. “We have to go out and take it. I think we kind of approached that game thinking that because of how we’ve owned the Redskins in the past that they were kind of just going to lay down for us and we didn’t have to work as hard or play as hard. But I think this time around, we’re a different team. I think we have a different mentality. And I think we’ll play better this game as opposed to how we did in Game One.”

Echoing Cruz’s thoughts, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said his team has a high respect level for the Redskins despite their record.

“They beat us earlier in the year. They’ve given everybody a tough game, a hard go. You could argue that a play here or there in the New England game, a play here or there against the Jets, both games against Dallas were so darn close. I mean, there isn’t anybody here that’s not aware of the quality of their team and how hard they play.”

Despite falling to Washington, Giants defensive back Antrel Rolle proclaimed to the New York media that his team would still win 99 out of 100 games against the Redskins.

Cruz said that he and the rest of his teammates plan on making good on Rolle’s statement, and will play at a high level this Sunday.

“He understands that we’re very talented, and he believes in us,” Cruz said of Rolle. “We understand that we have to rally behind him and we have to understand that he’s always for the team. We understand his words and we understand that once he said that, we have to back him up 100 percent. I think we’ll do so this weekend.”

By  |  07:04 AM ET, 12/15/2011

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