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Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 12/16/2011

Keys to the Giants game: Redskins must stay motivated with nothing to play for

First and foremost, the Redskins must be motivated to play on Sunday. That will be a big piece of the puzzle. When a season is almost complete and there’s no post-season to play for, players can fall into the pre-Christmas and vacation mode.

So the Redskins will need to keep the game close early on. A quick lead by the Giants will spell defeat. Some guys will be more concerned with staying healthy and getting back to the warmth of the heated benches.

The Redskins won the first time around, but these teams were in the same place: No wins or losses. Now that has changed. The Giants are pushing for the division crown and a playoff spot, while the Redskins are trying to avoid the worst record since Dan Snyder acquired the team. That means the Redskins would need to win at least two more games.

The defense will have its work cut out for it. Eli Manning has been playing very well and Brandon Jacobbs has been running really hard lately behind an offensive line that has been blocking much better.

Hakeem Nix seems to be the Giants’ biggest receiving threat, but Victor Cruz makes big plays too. LaRon Landry has been put on injured reserve and is out for the rest of the season. Oshiomogho Atogwe hasn’t been starting, so I assume he’s not very healthy.

The secondary will struggle without those guys. It will come down to DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson rising to the challenge. It will be interesting to see if they can.

On offense, the best way to approach this game would be the same way the Redskins approached last week’s contest: Keep the other team’s offense off the field. So that means a good dose of Roy Helu in the running game. Run, run, run that ball.

The Giants have a pretty good secondary and they will be keying on Jabar Gaffney, who seems to be quarterback Rex Grossman’s favorite target right now. Grossman will need to try to spread things around if the Giants are successful in eliminating Gaffney.

If the Redskins fight hard, run the ball and keep the Giants’ offense off the field as much as possible, they could have a chance to win. But I’m not convinced that the Redskins have it in them to sweep the Giants, win at their stadium and stop Eli Manning, I’m taking the Giants in this one.

More on the Redskins:

Redskins-Giants: Five storylines

Moss wants to ruin Giants’ hopes

Redskins are building via the draft

By  |  11:52 AM ET, 12/16/2011

 
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