There are three keys to the game for the Redskins this week: Run the ball. Stop the run. And force Eli Manning to win the game.
Few quarterbacks are able to win games on their own. The Redskins don’t appear to have one who can, so they must ensure that Rex Grossman doesn’t have to win the game with his arm.
The running game was anemic last year, which led to major problems because the team depended so heavily on the passing game. The run creates balance and keeps defenses from finding a comfort zone. If the Redskins are to have success Sunday, they have to stay committed to establishing the run.
The Giants’ success on defense is predicated on the play of their defensive ends. These ends have been strong, fast, quick and crafty. Their ability to play the run and rush the passer creates plenty of opportunities for other players.
Establishing the run would force the defense to adjust the game plan, especially with the Giants coming into the game banged up.
Running the ball will unlock the offense’s ability to utilize play action fakes and other misdirection plays that will keep the Giants’ defense off balance.
If the Redskins can’t or don’t establish the run, their play calling will be difficult and limited. That will give the Giants’ defense the advantage.
Their defensive ends and the rest of the defense will begin to disrupt the passing game, which will allow Perry Fuel to find a rhythm in how he dials up blitzes.
I don’t expect Grossman to be able to hold up under relentless assaults on him. So establish the run.
The same theory holds true for the Redskins on defense. Stop the run and force the Giants to win with Eli Manning’s arm.
I played for the Giants and I’ve seen first hand what will happen if Manning has to throw a large number of passes. He will turn it over.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have had success running against the Redskins in the past, reducing the pressure on Manning.
The Redskins will have to be up for the task, and believe me when I say stopping these guys will not be easy.
If the Redskins can contain the running attack it will change the whole dynamic of the game.
The advantage would belong to the Redskins. Manning has some good receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, but if he has to win through the air it will create more sack, interception and fumble opportunities.
Stop the run and Redskin linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan could have very productive opening days.
This week it’s simple math. You want to establish the run and stop theirs.