The New York Giants (7-4) make their way to the nation’s capital tomorrow night to face a red hot rookie coming off of back-to-back 4-touchdown performances.
New York looked to right the ship last Sunday night, when they topped the Green Bay Packers, 38-10, with an offense that finally featured hobbled wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and a defense that thrived off of a devastating pass rush.
Can they keep momentum against the Washington Redskins (5-6), a team that dismantled the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and re-positioned themselves in the heart of the playoff race.
Historically, the Giants have owned the edge in this series by a mark of 93-64-4.
Monday night marks the 162nd all-time meeting between these two franchises, a series that began back in 1932 and has included two match-ups every year since (except for 1967 and 1969).
Despite the high volume of clashes, the ‘Skins and G-Men have met in the playoffs just twice. In 1943, Washington shutout New York, 28-0, and in the 1986 NFC Championship game New York rendered the Redskins scoreless in a 17-0 victory.
In the last meeting on October 21, Eli Manning threw what was was the decisive score with 73 seconds remaining in the contest. A 77-yard strike to Victor Cruz helped New York take a 27-23 lead.
The Redskins edged the Giants in a number of statistical categories — first-downs, total plays, total yardage, rushing yardage and time of possession. But the difference was the turnovers.
RGIII was sacked thrice by New York. Washington turned the rock over four times, including three lost fumbles and an RGIII interception.
Manning overcame a two-pick game of his own and threw for 337 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Manning provided the bulk of the Giants’ offense, which totaled 64 rushing yards on the afternoon.
You rarely have to search for storylines when two divisional rivals square off against each other.
The overwhelming story here is post-season ramifications. If New York wins, it all but solidifies its berth in the post-season and locks up the NFC East.
The Skins are one of two teams (along with the Cowboys) vying for the final Wildcard spot currently held by Seattle. With the Bucs facing Denver, the Vikings facing the Packers and Seattle visiting Chicago, a win would lead to a tie in the standings.
By the Numbers
With RGIII in one corner, and Manning in the other, these two offenses have the making of a heavy-weight bout.
Statistically, these two offenses are similar in how prolific they are, though they have done it in different fashions.
Washington has scored 30 offensive touchdowns, 13 on the ground and 17 through the air. They have totaled 4,234 yards from scrimmage and average 385 yards per contest.
Sound familiar — NY has scored 29 offensive touchdowns, 23 via the pass. Total yardage from scrimmage: 4,062; and 370 yards per game.
Both of defenses have enjoyed its share of struggles, through. New York is allowing opposing passers to throw for 250 yards per game and own a truly mediocre rush defense. Washington, while stellar vs. the run, owns the second-worst pass defense in the NFL.
So, what will this game come down to? You would assume both offenses will score — at will — but eventually it comes back down to defense.
Which unit will make the stop in a critical situation?
The edge might lie with New York, who stifled Aaron Rodgers a week ago with five sacks. However, the G-Men are minus Kenny Phillips, who added a much-needed safety valve in the secondary and allowed Antrel Rolle to held shield against the run.
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs