Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants – Week 1
Thursday, September 4, 2007
Giants Stadium At The New Jersey Meadowlands
East Rutherford, New Jersey
East Rutherford —
The Giants came out guns ablaze fresh off the Super Bowl XLII victory in Phoenix in February. NBC, famous for letting the suspense build for a sporting event (see: NBA on NBC, 1990-2002), got us riled up with footage of Michael Strahan and Super Bowl Hero David Tyree hoisting the trophy in midtown Manhattan the other day, and later, the trophy being escorted to East Rutherford. Then, Strahan got the crowd at Giants Stadium pumped with his “STOMP YOU OUT” speech.
Opening drive was sparkling. Eli Manning made a couple of great throws, Plaxico Burress, fresh off a new contract extension signed just before the game, was making acrobatic catches all night. Brandon Jacobs, who is always fired up, started the NFL season RIGHT by trucking Redskins’ safety LaRon Landry. Jacobs, who goes 6’4″ 265 lbs, is the biggest and most nimble running back the league has ever seen and does not fall with the slightest tap (you know who I am referring to). Landry is no slouch. He is going to be a stud in this league and came into the NFL with the reputation as a rangy hitter that can run sideline to sideline and make great plays. He’s used to laying the lumber. This time, he got it laid to him and got knocked out, Debo style.
The first Giants’ drive lead to a touchdown, but after that, suspect playcalling, lackadaisical throws by Eli Manning and a few adjustments by the Redskins’ defense led to three field goals the rest of the night for the Giants’ offense.
The biggest question would be how would Redskins’ coach Jim Zorn fare with his West Coast Offense and QB Jason Campbell. The preseason was no fluke. The Redskins are BAD right now. They will get better as they adapt to the system, but they looked terrible for half the game. Of course, part of this was due to the Giants’ defense, which despite missing Strahan and Osi Umenyiora, and playing a currently inept offense, were DOMINANT all night. It could have been Dallas or New England and the Giants’ defense would have dominated. I, for one, believe the talking heads on ESPN and FOX Sports (most of whom hate the Giants anyway) have overstated the significance of Strahan’s departure (which most Giants fans and the front office anticipated) and Umenyiora’s injury (given that Justin Tuck is about to become a STUD defensive end that teams will have to scheme around all season). The Giants’ defense will be fine. PERIOD.
The only question is: Can Eli continue what he did down the stretch in 2007? Will Toomer be bumped to the sideline in favor of Manningham or Hixon, now that he cannot get open anymore? Will Kiwanuka continue being as effective as he was in 2007 before his injury and last night? We will see. I had the Giants winning 12 before Umenyiora’s injury. I still have them winning 10, possibly 11. There is no slippage.
Clinton Portis did well to get 84 yards, when there were hardly no holes in the offensive line to run through. He is a great back and I’ve always respected him. Mathias Kiwanuka does, too, now that he got chipped pretty good by Portis in the 2nd half. The Redskins have players. This was Week 1. Both teams are rusty. The Redskins are installing a new offense. Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (or as Troy Aikman calls him, “Steve Spagnola”) has been shuttling players in and out as he contours his defense to fit the personnel that remains after free agent defections, retirements and injuries. Despite all this, the next time these two teams meet — expect more of the same. The Redskins will be better in all phases, but so will the Giants.
Week 2 –
New York Giants at St. Louis Rams
Edward Jones Dome
St. Louis, Missouri