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 LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -The Washington Redskins know a trap game when they see one. A couple of brutal experiences from the last two years have made them experts.
The Tennessee Titans arrived at 0-5 a year ago and left with a win. Two years ago, the downbeat Oakland Raiders pulled an upset that nearly derailed Washington's playoff run.
So this week, with the winless, bashed-by-everybody New York Giants (0-2) coming to town, coach Joe Gibbs has done his usual best to make the men in blue sound like superstars from a superior dimension of the space-time continuum.
``All of us know the Giants,'' Gibbs said. ``First of all, that team beat us twice last year with most of the same players. We've got a short work week. You can imagine how hard they're going to play. Right now they're sitting there at 0-2 a real, real good football team. I know what we're going to get.''
Well, the first hole in Gibbs' case is that the Giants no longer have Tiki Barber, whose franchise-record 234 yards rushing day almost single-handedly accounted for New York's 34-28 at Washington in last year's finale.
The Giants haven't won a game since.
Secondly, the Giants aren't adjusting well to new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. They've allowed 80 points in their first two games for the first time since 1966, and Justin Tuck is the only player with a sack. The Big Apple media horde already has a job watch on coach Tom Coughlin.
``You hate to use the word desperation, but we've put ourselves in a bad position, let's put it that way,'' guard Chris Snee said. ``We know what we have to do and what the score is.''
The score is such that a loss to the Redskins (2-0) will put the Giants in a three-game hole just three weeks into the season.
``The mood is what it would be like with an 0-2 team,'' linebacker Antonio Pierce said. ``You're looking for something positive to happen.''
As 2-0 teams go, the Redskins are understandably apprehensive. They didn't exactly overwhelm their first two opponents, Miami and Philadelphia. They've also lost two starting offensive linemen in two weeks, a development that could eventually ruin the season.
Sunday's game will also test how much Washington's defense has improved. Even without Barber, the Giants have moved the ball relatively well, although they have often stopped themselves with mistakes in the red zone.
The Redskins defense, meanwhile, has allowed only one touchdown, its best two-game effort to start a season in that category since 1975.
``I don't think it would matter if they had Tiki or whoever if we play solid,'' defensive end Phillip Daniels said. ``It's on us.''
The real trouble for the Giants could be fending off Washington's offense, which is looking more and more like the Gibbs-style attack of the 1980s. There's a strong running game with a mobile quarterback (Jason Campbell) who can take shots down the field when he's not finding talented tight end Chris Cooley.
Cooley by himself could be too much to handle for a New York defense that has allowed a passer rating of 127.8 in the first two games - and been victimized by tight ends.
``We do have to get this thing back under control,'' Coughlin said. ``Nobody wants to be 0-and-anything. We want to win as fast as we can. We've put ourselves in this position. We've got no one to blame but ourselves, and we do have another opportunity to play Sunday.''
And, in case Coughlin needs a confidence boost, all he has to do is listen to the Redskins, who talk as if the Giants are favored by two touchdowns.
``We can't get too comfortable in our situation,'' Washington center Casey Rabach said. ``They're dangerous. They've got nothing to lose.''
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