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Redskins at Giants
John J. Raspanti
The Giants (7-6) are back home to face the struggling Washington Redskins (4-9) after stunning the Dallas Cowboys last weekend. Down by 12 with three minutes to go, quarterback Eli Manning (400 yards passing for the night) engineered two impressive drives to give the Giants the lead. Jean Pierre-Paul’s blocked field preserved the 37-34 must win. Just like that, the Giants four game losing skid was history.
We needed to have a locker room celebration," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We were starving for this."
Manning is easily having his best season. His fourth quarter heroics have quieted the critics. The Giant signal caller has completed 62 percent of his pass attempts with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
"Guys stepped up and made some big plays," Manning said. "It won't mean anything unless we finish the season strong. That's the mindset. We can't relax now or feel great about ourselves."
The Giants running attack belongs to Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw has battled injuries and infractions (benched in the first half of the Cowboy game) to rush for 490 yards. Jacobs had his first 100-yard game of the season against the Cowboys. Wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are having outstanding seasons. Tight end Jake Ballard has caught 37 balls and scored four touchdowns. Ballard’s productivity has gone up in the last few weeks.
New York's defense ranks 30th overall in the NFL. Injuries have taken their toll on the Giants secondary. Opposing quarterbacks are rolling up over 260 yards per game. Free safety Antrel Rolle has done his job with 77 tackles and an interception. Outside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka has recorded three sacks and intercepted a pass. He also has 72 tackles for the season. The big man on the defensive front is Jason Pierre-Paul and his 12 sacks. Paul,22, terrorized the Cowboy offense with eight tackles, and two sacks.
The Redskins have lost eight of their last nine. They defeated the Giants 28-14 in the season opener in what was a very promising start to the season. The team has struggled on both sides of the ball during Coach Mike Shanhan’s season of discontent. Quarterback Rex Grossman’s season has been a hodgepodge of his NFL career. Think the classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Grossman has hit his receivers 58 percent of the time and thrown for 12 touchdowns. He’s also fumbled seven times and had 16 passes intercepted. Running back Roy Helu has filled in ably for injured Tim Hightower. Fred Davis has been the Skins most reliable receiver with 59 catches.
Washington played pretty well last week only to come up short against the New England Patriots 34-27.
The Skins best defensive player, inside linebacker London Fletcher, was not impressed.
"I don't know what a moral victory is," replied Fletcher. “You either won, or you lost."
Fletcher has been superb all year, leading the team with 134 tackles. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has contributed 79 tackles and two interceptions.
The Giants can’t afford to fall asleep against a Washington team that amassed 463 yards of offense in their previous game.
Bettorsworld Bottom Line - Rule #1 when handicapping late season NFL games - teams that HAVE to win, don't always pull through. But the Giants are in a good spot here. They are home for the holidays. Not home as in out of the playoffs, but all of their remaining games are on their home field and they control their own destiny.
The Redskins have won just one game since October 2nd. They are -14 in turnover margin and have a horrendous yards per point number of 21.5 offensively on the road this year, where they averaged just 14 points per game. Huge edge at QB for the Giants with a hot Eli Manning. The game opened -7.5 and now sits at -6.5 with the Giants favored.
The line move towards the Skins, despite a huge majority of the public lining up on the Giants, is usually a good indication of sharp action. However, with this line now under a touchdown, we think the value lies with the Giants.
Perhaps an even stronger play would be to use the Giants in a teaser, bringing them down to pk. This is a great time of year to use certain teams, with certain lines, in teasers, and this would be one such spot.
So, a slight recommendation on the Giants -6.5. A stronger recommendation on the Giants pk as part of a two team 6 point teaser.
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