Giants offensive player to watch: Eli Manning

Eli Manning and the Giants enter Sunday’s game with a 4-2 record and first place in the NFC East. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

How he beats you: Ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage, Eli Manning is coming off his second Super Bowl win and leads a New York Giants squad that averages 414.7 yards and 29.7 points a game. Manning has thrown for 1,772 yards and 11 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 63.6 percent of his passes. Although he lacks the mobility of some quarterbacks, he has great pocket awareness and an ability to extend plays.

The Redskins can’t afford to allow Manning to get rolling, but getting to him will be difficult as the Giants have surrendered just five sacks all season, fewest in the NFL through six weeks.

“The line does a good job of protecting him and keeping him clean, and they put a big emphasis on keeping the quarterback upright,” Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “They’re going to trust that those outside receivers can get open whether it’s a two or three-man route. They’re going to do whatever it takes to keep Eli healthy, and they’ve done a good job of it.”

How to stop him: The Redskins will need to win their matchups up front, and also use some of the creativity that enabled them to rack up a season-high four sacks last week against Minnesota. They’ll also need strong pass coverage, so Manning has to hold onto the ball instead of picking them apart.

The Redskins hope to batter Manning and force him into errant throws. They know that’s much easier said than done, however.

“I don’t think you can rattle him,” cornerback Josh Wilson says. “ Some times he can have the ball in his left hand and make a better throw with his left hand than I can with my right hand. The guy’s a great quarterback. You don’t win two Super Bowls just because you’re OK. He understands that he’s going to have some pressure in his face, and he’s going to get the ball out when he does get it.”

 Says Cofield: “You’ve got to win 1-on-1 battles, and you’ve got to win the opportunities you can get, because you’re not going to get many of them because of the protection and how good they are and how efficient he is at getting rid of the ball. He’s not fast, but he’s good in the pocket. He just drifts a step here or a step there and makes it a QB hit as opposed to a sack. You’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities. If we can get some good coverage, we can get him down.”

Also on The Insider

Brian Orakpo back at team facility, trying to move forward from pectoral injury