EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., OCT. 10 -- The New York Giants have had their share of memorable rumbles at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, they ended a history of failure by winning their last three games at Texas Stadium near Dallas and they've experienced unexpected triumph and bitter disappointment at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.

But nothing, it seems, excites and inspires the Giants as much as a visit to RFK Stadium, where they will face the Redskins at 4 p.m. Sunday.

"There's not many places in this league," said quarterback Phil Simms, "where I can walk out of the tunnel and hear every word ever invented. No matter what happens, the crowd always gets involved, especially when you get near the far {south} end zone. You can't even call a play in the huddle."

"It's a frightening thing, believe me," linebacker Lawrence Taylor said of the RFK racket. "Very frightening.

"Noise can be an added factor. When things go right for the home team and the decibel level's going up, it can become a factor. The best thing about it is when you play in a noisy stadium and you start doing some things right, and it gets quiet. That's an added attraction for the opposing team. Any time you can get a noisy stadium to shut up, it inspires the opposition."

The Giants have been able to quiet the Washington crowd in each of their last two visits there. In 1988, they slipped out with a 24-23 victory when Chip Lohmiller missed an extra point -- his only failure in 93 career tries -- and a late field-goal attempt. Last year, in a Monday night session, Raul Allegre kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Giants to a 27-24 triumph.

The two victories have helped the Giants win the last four against the Redskins and nine of the last 11 nonstrike games. They have won those four games by a total of 14 points.

"I think we've just been fortunate," Coach Bill Parcells said. "Most of the games were very similar-type games that could have gone to either team. Both of the games last year could have gone either way. I just have to consider it luck in some form or fashion."

No matter where they play, the Giants and Redskins always seem to have a tense, thrilling game. Although the Giants have split the last two division titles with the Eagles and have developed a fierce competition with the 49ers, no rivals provide as much motivation for them as the Redskins.

"Over the years I've been coaching with the Giants it's been a very good rivalry," Parcells said. "It's always been a hard-fought, clean game. I think it's some of the best the NFL has to offer, I really do."

"We get up for games against the 'Skins," Simms said. "There's a good rivalry there. Both teams play hard and clean. We enjoy playing them and I think they enjoy playing us. They're always good and the last six or seven years, we've been good too."

The Giants lead the series by a comfortable 65-48-2 margin. But none of the last five games has been decided by more than seven points. "We look forward to playing them, because it's always such a war," said linebacker Carl Banks. "It's always a very physical game."

"They're going to embarrass us if we don't come to play," said fullback Maurice Carthon. "If we're not ready, they could run the ball down our throat or throw the ball down the field, like they did against Phoenix. All 47 of us have to be ready to play the 'Skins." As of today, that was questionable.

Halfback Rodney Hampton, the Giants' top draft choice this year, did not practice again because of a sprained right ankle. He rode an exercise bike and may try to practice Thursday. Hampton leads the team with 14 receptions, seven more than runner-up Dave Meggett.

Brian Williams, a backup center and guard who was the No. 1 pick in 1989, is in the hospital with pneumonia. He should be released Friday morning, but Parcells listed both Williams and Hampton questionable for Sunday. With or without them, the Giants will be ready.

"We're looking at it as a very big game for us," Simms said. "If we can go down there and win, it will be very important for us."