My friend Brad Stratton is back for some more guest prognosticating about his beloved New Yorker Football Giants who play the Washington Redskins this weekend in our native New Jersey.
WFY: I guess getting swept by the Redskins last year must have really upset John Mara — he was on the committee that fined the Redskins for breaking an unwritten rule (Pro Football Talk). Pretty weak stuff from him. Your rebuttal:
BMS: Yeah, it’s a shame we got swept by the Redskins last year. Wait a second, let me just pause my New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI Champions DVD. Honestly, if getting swept by the Redskins means we win the Super Bowl, sign me up for 0-infinity against the Skins in the regular season till the end of time.
As for the Redskins and Cowboys getting fined, they were among all the owners who agreed to not use the uncapped year to generate a competitive advantage, then still did it. They deserved to be fined for sheer pompousness alone! Now, was it collusion? Probably. Would Synder and Jones had won if they took the case to court. Likely. But the two were at least smart enough to know that suing the rest of the league probably wasn’t in their teams’ best interests.
WFY: Surprise! The Redskins are 3-3 because Robert Griffin III is already a game-changing QB. They score over 30 points a game. How concerned are you about them? Do you think the Giants can stop RGIII or merely hope to contain him? Is there anything else scary about the Redskins?
BMS: RG3 is quite a dynamic player (he’s on my fantasy team and helped me beat Sam last week), which was obvious by how badly the Redskins sucked after he got knocked out versus the Falcons. I doubt the Giants defense can stop him, but they had some success against Cam Newton and to a lesser extent, against Michael Vick, in forcing the quarterbacks to beat them with their arms, not their feet. So I hope they can slow him down some.
WFY: What are the best and worst units on the Giants?
It’s easy to say what the best unit is on the Giants. Quarterback. Eli Manning is a top 3 quarterback at this point. He’s cut down on interceptions, and even when he does throw them, he’s out their next series slinging the ball around again, the previous mishap now a thing of the past. Look how he threw three interceptions in the first half against the Bucs earlier this year. With most quarterbacks, they would have basically closed up shop after that. But instead, Manning leads a huge second half comeback, and falls four yards short of tying Phil Simms’ franchise record for more yard passing in a single game. The man is a leader. He makes his receivers so much better, which is something everyone also says about his brother. What has Kevin Boss done since he left? What has Steve Smith done? Meanwhile, Martellus Bennett is on pace for a career year at tight end, Cruz and Nicks may be the best one-two wideout tandem in the league, and guys like Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle is having big games.
BMS: The worse unit may be the secondary, which is been hit against with injury after injury. It really relies on the defensive front to generate pressure. But if the QB gets time, they can easily give up yards. Michael Vick has been a turnover machine all season, but without players getting in his face a few weeks back, the Eagles don’t commit a single turnover against the Giants.
WFY: Has Tom Coughlin passed Bill Parcells as best modern Giants coach?
Tom Coughlin just passed Bill Parcells last week in career wins as the head coach of the Giants. I think one more Lombardi will cement him surpassing Parcells’ legacy.
WFY: If the Giants are Big Blue, how come they have a white jersey with no blue on it, but lots of red? Do you like that jersey? What about the alt red jersey?
BMS: I love both Giants’ home and away jerseys. They are Big Blue, but their colors are red, white, and blue (so patriotic!), and to a lesser extent, gray. They haven’t worn the red jersey in years, and supposedly had retired it, although there was a rumor in the offseason that it might make a reappearance this season. I hate the red jersey. If they want an alternate home jersey, why not the Big Blue uniforms from the 80s, complete with the helmet with GIANTS in the side. Although I like the current jersey and helmet design the best.
WFY: What Giants jerseys and other gear do you own?
BMS: Of current players, I owe two Eli away jerseys (forgot I had the one and got a second), and two Eli home jerseys (one is an authentic jersey with the captain patch and Super Bowl XLVI patch).
WFY: Please rank the Giants rivalries in the NFC East. Are there any inter-divisional rivals that are more important to you than intra-divisional rivalries?
BMS: As for divisional rivalries, Giants-Redskins rank at the bottom, although some of that is due to the lack of success the Redskins have had over the years. Nothing beats Giants-Eagles. As a Yankees fan, I hate the Eagles more than the Red Sox. When Xander’s original first grade teacher tried to turn him into an Eagles’ fan, I had to inform him that Eagles’ fans hate Santa Claus, and that the Eagles hate puppies. Giants-Cowboys is in the middle. I really dislike the Cowboys. But i don’t hate them. I don’t feel ill when we lose to them.
BMS: The Giants are coming off a big win in San Francisco last weekend, and look ahead to a rematch with the Cowboys, so I can see the Giants giving a subpar performance and losing to the Redskins, But I think RG3 adds a lot of interest to this game, so I don’t feel it’s like a classic letdown game. My guess, the Redskins get a lead, the Giants come back. You’re never truly our of a game when you have Eli Manning, and I predict a late fourth quarter comeback and a 24-23 Giants victory.