The New York Giants (7-4) travel to FedEx Field tonight to take on the Washington Redskins (5-6) for the NFL’s Week 13 installment of Monday Night Football. This game has the makings of a remarkable sequel to Round One’s 27-23 win by Eli Manning and Co. in Week 7.
With a victory, the Giants can put a stranglehold on the NFC East race. It would extend the lead over the Dallas Cowboys to two games and all but end the Redskins’ chances of a postseason berth in Robert Griffin III’s debut season.
A loss, however, will mark the beginning of a potentially epic close to the season for all three teams, as only one game will separate them for the home stretch.
Coming off their 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers, New York looks to keep the momentum going before a brutal final schedule that includes a home game with the New Orleans Saints and road games against the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens before closing at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Surviving that stretch and somehow finding a way to win the division could make the Giants favorites in the NFC.
Griffin is having arguably the greatest rookie season the NFL has even seen. Continuing to prove on the big stage that he belongs will go a long way toward reinforcing all the hype and Washington’s decision to sell the farm for the chance to acquire him in last April’s draft.
Look no further than an opportunity to clutter the NFC’s playoff picture Monday night against the Giants as another chance to wow his onlookers. Based on his last two games—617 total yards, eight touchdowns (all passing) to only one interception and nine incomplete passes—RGIII has no qualms about showcasing his talent.
Here is one bold prediction for each team, along with fantasy football "beast or bust" candidates in Monday night's matchup.
Eli Manning Finds 3 Different Targets in the End Zone
In their last meeting, Manning was able to spread the ball around to all of his favorite targets, with Victor Cruz tallying seven receptions for 131 yards and the quarterback’s only score. Look for a similar approach this time around, as this game has the makings of a shootout.
Manning should have a field day against the league’s second-worst pass defense that is allowing 301.4 yards per game and 23 touchdowns.
Washington has no one that can match up with Cruz, Hakeem Nicks or Martellus Bennett which will allow the veteran signal-caller to pick his poison. As the score creeps into the high 20’s by the third quarter, look for an over-stuffed stat sheet out of Manning and Co.
RGIII Tallies 400 Total Yards and 4 Touchdowns (Fantasy Beast)
Griffin has been the focal point of opposing defenses all season long, making his statistics all the more unbelievable. Monday’s game against the Giants should be no different, as their defense will stop at nothing to contain the dual-threat quarterback.
In their last meeting, RGIII amassed 378 total yards and two touchdowns (both passing) in the loss. But the rookie is coming on as a passer as of late and should be able to exploit an eager Giants’ pass rush.
Look for Griffin to pick apart a less-than-average pass defense while still being able to find the necessary space to make plays with his legs. If he gets loose and hits the second and third levels early in the game, Monday’s performance could send the hype machine into overload.
Fantasy Bust: Ahmad Bradshaw
The Giants haven’t shown much of a commitment to the running game all season, ranking 15th in the league with an average of 114.6 yards per game. It seems that has more to do with their overall offensive philosophy than seldom fielding a full complement of healthy running backs.
The Redskins are third in the NFL against the run, allowing just 89.2 yards per game on 4.1 yards per carry with just seven touchdowns.
Manning and Co. utilize a quick-strike passing game that has resulted in 51 trips to the red zone (tops in the league). The play calling tends to favor the run when there, resulting in a second-best 15 rushing touchdowns inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
The problem with Monday night is that there could be tons of scoring on big plays on both sides of the ball.
Shootouts typically do not favor the running backs. And if round two is anything like the previous meeting, Bradshaw—12 carries for 43 yards and a score—isn’t a strong play here.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.