Sunday Night Football

Sunday Night Football

Washington (6-7, 4-7-2 ATS) at N.Y. Giants (9-4, 8-5 ATS)

The Redskins, who still have a faint pulse in the NFC wild-card chase, head to the Meadowlands to take on the NFC East rival Giants, currently the conference’s top wild-card candidate.

Washington, playing on Thursday night, beat Chicago 24-16 as a three-point home favorite, halting a four-game slide (1-3 ATS). But the victory came at a cost, as QB Jason Campbell (10 of 16, 100 yards) suffered a season-ending dislocated left kneecap in the second quarter. Journeyman Todd Collins relieved and went a solid 15 of 24 for 224 yards and two TDs, including a 16-yard toss to RB Ladell Betts late in the fourth quarter that sealed the win.

New York last week squeaked out a 16-13 victory at Philadelphia as a three-point road ‘dog for its second straight win and cover, both of which came on the road. QB Eli Manning (17 of 31, 219 yards, 1 TD) didn’t do much statistically, but he also didn’t turn the ball over and he led two third-quarter scoring drives, while the Giants’ defense allowed just two field goals in the second half.

The Redskins are mired in pointspread slumps of 2-6 overall, 3-7-2 on the road and 3-8-2 as an underdog.

On the flip side, the Giants are on positive ATS runs of 7-2 against the NFC, 7-2 against teams with a losing record, 6-2 following a spread-cover and 8-3-1 inside the division. However, they are 2-6 ATS in their last eight as a home chalk, including consecutive outright double-digit losses in their last two games inside the Meadowlands.

New York is 7-3 SU and ATS in the last 10 meetings with Washington, including a current 3-0 SU and ATS run. When these squads met back in Week 3, the Giants rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit to win 24-17 as a 3½-point pup.

The total has alternated in each of the last seven series meetings in this rivalry, with this year’s contest barely staying under the posted price. The under is also 4-0 in the last four clashes at Giants Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. GIANTS

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Re: Sunday Night Football

Game Preview for Redskins vs Giants

(Sports Network) - The New York Giants have a postseason berth within their grasp and will try to lock up said playoff spot this Sunday, when they host the NFC East-rival Washington Redskins at Giants Stadium.

A win over the Redskins, who are also fighting for a playoff spot, would clinch one of the NFC's wild card spots for the 9-4 Giants. Dallas (12-1) has already won the NFC East crown.

New York can also get into the postseason with a loss or tie by both Minnesota and New Orleans this weekend.

The Giants won their second straight game this past Sunday after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-13. It was New York's sixth straight road win, a good sign for a team that will open the postseason as the visitor if it gets in.

However, for the second straight week it wasn't easy. Two weekends ago, the Giants allowed Chicago to score a touchdown on its first drive of the game before keeping the Bears out of the end zone for the rest of the contest to earn a 21-16 decision. However, the Bears still had a chance to win on their final play of the game.

Same scenario this past Sunday, as Philadelphia found the end zone on its first drive and then nearly tied the game in the final seconds on a field goal attempt by David Akers. Akers' 57-yard kick had the distance, but hit off the right upright.

Regardless, the Giants improved to 9-4 for their best record after 13 games since the 2000 NFC champion club also went 9-4.

Meanwhile, 6-7 Washington is one of four teams, along with Detroit, Arizona and New Orleans, that are a game back of Minnesota (7-6) for the final wild card spot. That makes this game a big one, as the Redskins play at the Vikings next weekend.

Washington will be without its starting quarterback for this test, though, as Jason Campbell suffered a dislocated left kneecap during their 24-16 win over the Chicago Bears on December 6.

Campbell suffered the injury in the second quarter when he was tackled by Chicago defensive end Mark Anderson. The quarterback was taken off the field on a cart and did not return.

Todd Collins, who has spent the majority of his 13-year career as a seldom- used backup, will make his first NFL start since he began a game for the Buffalo Bills on December 14, 1997.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Washington in what has been an emotional period for the team. It was the second game for the Redskins since the death of safety Sean Taylor, who was critically shot in his home on November 26 in an apparent robbery attempt.

Taylor died the following day and the emotional club lost to Buffalo that weekend. The entire Washington team then attended Taylor's funeral last Monday, just three days before their test against the Bears.

SERIES HISTORY

The Giants have a 85-60-4 advantage in the all-time regular season series with Washington, including a 24-17 come-from-behind win at FedEx Field in Week 3. New York has now won three straight in the series and will be going for its first back-to-back home-and-home sweeps of the Skins since 1994-95. The Redskins, who last defeated the G-Men in 2005 at home, have lost the last three meetings between the teams at Giants Stadium since last winning there in 2003.

The teams have also split two postseason matchups, with the Giants' 17-0 victory in the 1986 NFC Championship countering a 28-0 Washington win in a 1943 NFC Division Playoff.

Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs is 14-18 against the Giants in his career, including the '86 postseason loss. New York's Tom Coughlin is 6-4 against the Redskins all-time, including 1-2 while with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2002), and is 5-2 head-to-head versus Gibbs.

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

Campbell (2,700 passing yards, 12 TD, 11 INT) completed 10-of-16 pass attempts for 100 yards before his injury. He was replaced Collins, who went on to throw for 224 yards and two touchdowns in leading his club to victory. The 36-year- old, who had not attempted a pass in an NFL regular-season game since 2004, will try to improve on the Redskins' 15th-ranked pass attack (217.2 ypg). Running back Clinton Portis (956 rushing yards, 7 TD) was held to just 36 carries on 17 attempts against Chicago, but he also caught six passes for 86 yards, including a 54-yard reception. Tight end Chris Cooley (58 receptions, 7 TD) also had a big game against Chicago, hauling in five passes for 93 yards. Meanwhile, backup running back Ladell Betts (256 rushing yards) and tight end Todd Yoder caught touchdown passes in the win. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (43 receptions) had four catches for 60 yards, while Santana Moss (46 receptions, 1 TD) was held to 29 receiving yards on three catches. Moss has caught three or more touchdown passes in three games in his career, with two of those coming against the Giants. Guard Randy Thomas, who has missed virtually all of this season with a torn triceps, was placed on injured reserve on Thursday.

The Giants have played solid defense all year, and despite a hiccup on the opening drive against the Eagles, did a great job of shutting down Philadelphia. New York limited the Eagles and quarterback Donovan McNabb to just 165 net yards passing, though it did yield 141 rushing yards in the win. The Giants enter this week seventh in the league in yards allowed (302.8 ypg), and are 10th against the pass (206.8 ypg) and seventh against the run (96.1 ypg). New York also leads the NFL with 47 team sacks, with three of those coming against Philly. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (43 tackles) tallied a sack and is second in the NFL with 12 on the season. Barry Cofield and Jay Alford each got to the quarterback as well. Umenyiora has three sacks in his past two home games against Washington, while defensive end Michael Strahan (47 tackles, 9 sacks) has 17 career sacks against the Redskins. Also, defensive end Justin Tuck (49 tackles), who had three tackles against the Eagles, has nine sacks on the season after beginning the year with just one in his career. Linebacker Kawika Mitchell (66 tackles, 2 sacks) led the team with 10 tackles versus Philadelphia, while Reggie Torbor (23 tackles) added six stops.

New York safeties Gibril Wilson and James Butler were both inactive against the Eagles, forcing rookies Michael Johnson (23 tackles) and Craig Dahl into starting duty. The duo ended with five tackles each. Wilson is doubtful to return this week due to his knee injury, while Butler is questionable thanks to a hamstring ailment.

WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL

The Giants are seventh in the league in rushing offense with a 126.2 yards per game average. However, the ground game was shaky versus Philadelphia, as Brandon Jacobs (669 yards rushing, 2 TD) fumbled twice. It marked the second straight week turnovers nearly cost the Giants. Against Chicago, quarterback Eli Manning threw two picks and lost a fumble before rallying his team for the win. Jacobs ended with 70 yards on the ground against the Eagles and has 549 yards from scrimmage over his past five games. Backup Reuben Droughns (281 rushing yards, 6 TD) added 34 on just three carries last week. Manning (2,790 yards, 18 TD, 17 INT) threw for 219 yards in the win and hooked up with wideout Plaxico Burress (62 receptions, 900 receiving yards, 10 TD) for a 20- yard touchdown pass. Burress, who has not practiced since mid-September due to an ankle sprain, ended with seven catches for 136 yards. Amani Toomer (50 receptions, 3 TD) hauled in three passes for 37 yards, while Sinorice Moss (16 receptions) added a pair of catches for 28 yards. Jeremy Shockey (55 receptions, 3 TD), who leads all NFL tight ends in receptions and yards since 2002, was held to only one catch for four yards.

Washington's pass defense, which is ranked 23rd in the league by allowing 222.9 yards per game, got a big lift last week from corner Shawn Springs. Springs (51 tackles) picked off his first two passes of the season, matching his career high for a single game. Linebacker London Fletcher (3 INT) was all over the field with 12 tackles and leads the team with 112 stops. One matchup to watch this weekend is the Redskins' sixth-ranked run defense versus the Giants' solid running game. Fletcher will be joined by fellow linebackers Rocky McIntosh and Marcus Washington in trying to stop New York's ground game. McIntosh (87 tackles, 3 sacks) posted six stops against Chicago, while Washington (36 tackles, 5 sacks) had five tackles to go along with a sack. Defensive end Andre Carter (46 tackles, 8 sacks) had half a sack last week and has 12 1/2 over his last 18 games. Safety Reed Doughty (34 tackles), who is taking over the starting free safety role from Taylor, made seven tackles. Springs and fellow corner Fred Smoot (39 tackles) will have their hands full with Burress this weekend, as Bears' wideout Bernard Berrian totaled seven catches for 91 yards and a score in the Redskins' last game.

FANTASY FOCUS

Manning has had some good games and some really bad ones this year, so it is tough for fantasy owners to take a big chance during playoff time. That being said, the Redskins have struggled against the pass this year, and their ability to stop the run will mean a lot of passing attempts by the young Manning. As long as he keeps his turnovers down, he should turn in a good game. On the receiving end, Burress isn't as explosive as he was earlier in the year due to his lingering ankle injury, but he continues to put up numbers and find the end zone, making him a lock for a start. Shockey should also rebound from a bad weekend last time out. The Redskins can stop the run, meaning Jacobs and Droughns are risky starts.

For Washington, Collins is making his first start since 1997 and should be avoided. That also hurts Moss and Cooley's production, though Cooley should still be used, as he is one of the better tight ends in the league and will serve as Collins' safety net. That being said, Portis should see a lot of carries to help Collins, so his opportunities will be there to make a play. New York's defense is also worth a look this weekend due to Collins starting.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Given the events over the last few weeks, it is tough to root against the Redskins. A playoff berth would be a great way to honor Taylor's memory, and Washington has destiny in its hands due to a game against Minnesota next week. However, that game has less meaning if Washington loses this Sunday, meaning the club should come out fired up. The question is if it will be enough. Manning is the x-factor, as he has shown this year he is prone to getting off to slow starts. However, he has been finishing strong and is riding on the back of a very solid defense. One of these days, Manning isn't going to be able to dig his club out of an early hole, but he should be okay against Washington.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Giants 20, Redskins 13

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