Fearless Prediction: Giants-Redskins

BY foxsports • December 19, 2009

Game Snapshot

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Grass
TV: ESPN (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden)

KEYS TO THE GAME: First down is critical for the Giants on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they want to back Redskins QB Jason Campbell into long passing situations after watching Philadelphia average 7.1 yards on first down last Sunday. Campbell is playing efficiently as the passing game has picked up in the absence of RB Clinton Portis. Quinton Ganther will start his second consecutive game. Offensively, the Giants' pass protection is a concern with Washington boasting a tandem of double-digit sackers in Andre Carter and rookie Brian Orakpo. New York averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in a Week 1 victory over Washington, but RB Brandon Jacobs needs to be given an opportunity to set up play-action.

FAST FACTS: The Giants have had nine different starting combinations on defense this season. ... Campbell has a 92.3 passer rating with 11 touchdowns in seven games since being benched at halftime in Week 6.

Personnel News

Giants:

    Redskins:

      Inside The Camps

      Giants:
      The Giants haven't seen the Washington Redskins since Week 1 of the NFL season, which seems like an eternity considering the promise each team began the year with. So when these two teams get together for their Monday night matchup, the Giants' offense is going to have its hands full with a defense that is ranked seventh in the league and is first in the red zone.
      "They have always been a very aggressive defensive front," said coach Tom Coughlin. "They do a good job of attacking. They are a solid front, now. The secondary is aggressive; the safeties are very aggressive."
      Coughlin was asked how relevant the information from the first game was as far as helping prepare his offense. He said that while there was some relevancy, things have changed.
      According to Giants quarterback Eli Manning, one big change is that the Washington defense has jelled.
      "They have kind of stayed within the same game plan," said Manning. "You have seen some young guys emerge and really play well. It is not like they are doing a whole lot of things differently. They don't change things up much so everybody knows what they are doing and they are very sound in their defense."
      One guy in particular who has been a difference maker for the Redskins has been rookie linebacker Brian Orakpo, whom the Redskins play mostly at strong-side linebacker but who also moves to defensive end on third down situations.
      With the Giants expected to not have right tackle Kareem McKenzie in the lineup because of a sprained MCL, rookie Will Beatty will step in and help protect his quarterback. It won't be easy, though, as the Redskins' defense is out to make Manning's night miserable.
      Manning, however, said it doesn't matter how many yards he throws for as long as the Giants find a way to win. And he believes that they can win this game if they stick to their game plan and play fundamentally sound football.
      "It's about going out there and playing your best for four quarters and putting your team in a situation to win games," Manning said. "Right now we've got a big one coming up against Washington. I don't care if I throw for 100 yards or 300 yards. As long as we win, that is when you are satisfied."

      Redskins:
      The Redskins confirmed executive vice president Vinny Cerrato's resignation.
      In the statement released by the team, Cerrato made some notable omissions in thanking the club for his time there.
      "I've had the pleasure of working with some great coaches such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman Lewis," Cerrato said.
      He cites the defensive coordinator and the offensive consultant but not embattled Jim Zorn, the coach he and Dan Snyder hired 23 months ago.
      In the newsy part of the statement, Cerrato said that he and owner Dan Snyder "agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this position."
      Cerrato has been Snyder's right-hand man for 10 of the 11 seasons the owner has run the Redskins (save 2001 when Marty Schottenheimer forced Cerrato out). Washington has made the playoffs three times, including in 1999 with a team that was put together by Charley Casserly, Cerrato's predecessor.
      The Redskins are in the midst of their fifth losing season during Cerrato's second tenure that lasted not quite eight years.
      "Of course, I am disappointed with this year's results, but I strongly believe that with outstanding draft picks and encouraging performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong foundation for the franchise," Cerrato said.
      Snyder called his buddy "the consummate optimist" and said he "has always made decisions based on what would be the best for the team."
      Bruce Allen was seemingly destined to become the general manager of the Washington Redskins, the job he was given on Thursday.
      As a teenager, Allen was nearly tossed from the sideline during a Redskins game for cursing at the officials, causing his father, coach George Allen, to deny he knew him to avoid a penalty.
      As an adult, Allen built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that the Redskins victimized for their only playoff victory this decade.
      Allen believes passionately in, well, passion, as did his late father, the Hall of Famer who turned the long-moribund Redskins into winners in the 1970s.
      "The greatest thing is the passion, love what you're doing," said Allen, who ran the Oakland Raiders' front office from 1995-2003 before spending five seasons with the Bucs. "I worked at a gas station on Route 7 by Tysons Corner. A car pulls up and it was (my father). He didn't like the way I came out of the gas station. Whatever you're doing, have a passion for it."
      Asked why he wants to work for Redskins owner Dan Snyder, Allen said, "I like Dan for his passion."
      Allen sounded just like his father when he talked about the key to success.
      "The principles of football in my mind are simple," said Allen, who wore a burgundy and gold tie to his press conference. "It's a team. It's 53 men, an entire staff, everybody in the building going in the same direction for one common purpose and that's to win."
      He wasn't a big winner with Oakland (77-74 and three playoff seasons during his nine years) or Tampa Bay (38-44 and two playoff seasons in five years), but Allen did produce the Raiders' only Super Bowl team of the last quarter century and the Buccaneers' only consecutive winning seasons since 2001-02.
      Allen, 54, is credited for fixing the Bucs' salary-cap woes, but in doing so he rid the roster of longtime standouts Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Simeon Rice.
      He also traded malcontent Keyshawn Johnson for more productive fellow receiver Joey Galloway and revived the careers of receiver Antonio Bryant and defensive end Greg White but gave quarterback Chris Simms a huge contract, which turned out to be a big mistake.
      And while the Bucs won the NFC South in 2005 and 2007, they were bounced from the playoffs each time, scoring just 24 points in home losses to Washington and the New York Giants. Only one of Allen's 47 draft picks in Tampa Bay, guard Davin Joseph, has been chosen for a Pro Bowl. And only one of his 34 free-agent signings, punter Josh Bidwill, has been similarly honored.
      Allen's first year in Tampa was his worst. He gave big contracts to such past-their-prime veterans as offensive linemen Derrick Deese and Todd Steussie and running back Charlie Garner, and drafted a bunch of busts, headed by first-round receiver Michael Clayton, who has four touchdowns in six years.
      When the Bucs lost their final four games to miss the 2008 playoffs, Allen and coach Jon Gruden, a prime candidate to coach the Redskins in 2010, were fired.
      "Bruce Allen is a great football mind and an even better person," said Gruden, now an analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football. "He is a leader and a great fit for this job. He's a big reason why I had any success in coaching."
      Allen, a player agent before becoming an executive, has used his year off to visit former opponents around the league.
      "Hopefully learning (and) having more experience, we can make sure we have less mistakes and more correct decisions," Allen said.
      Allen's track record was better in Oakland, where he was named NFL Executive of The Year in 2002, when the Raiders capped three straight AFC West titles with the conference championship.
      "He's a proven winner," Snyder said. "He has a great passion for the game, a passion for winning. He's a great communicator. He has a tireless work ethic. He works around the clock. It's an added bonus that he understands the tradition and heritage of the Washington Redskins."
      On that point, there's no argument. Allen referred to some members of his father's famed "Over The Hill Gang" as "extended family."
      Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' trainer for 37 years before retiring after last season, remembers throwing Bruce and his brother George, the future Virginia governor and senator, out of the training room for spitting tobacco.
      "If he's as dedicated as his dad (was), as one-dimensional about winning as his dad (was), we'll be fine," Tyer said.
      Allen, who was fired along with Gruden after the 2008 season, was evasive when asked about hiring Gruden or former Denver coach Mike Shanahan, to replace the embattled Zorn, saying he'll spend the final three weeks of this season evalating everything about the Redskins.

      PREDICTION: Redskins 23-19



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