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What to Watch: Giants vs. Redskins

Playoffs start now for 'Skins

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Robert Griffin III has the Redskins entrenched in the NFC playoff picture.

    Game time: Monday, Dec. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET, FedEx Field
    TV: ESPN
    Weather: low-50s, clear
    Records: Giants (7-4) at Redskins (5-6)

    1. Can the Giants slow RGIII? We saw both ends of the spectrum when these teams last met in Week 7. Griffin was 20 of 28 for 258 yards (2 TDs) and added another 89 yards on the ground, but he had an interception and fumbled three times (though he recovered two of them). Still, Griffin was impressive, especially given that he lost tight end Fred Davis early in the game, and Pierre Garcon was sidelined with a toe injury. In the weeks since, RGIII has arguably gotten better, Garcon has returned, and Logan Paulsen has done well in Davis' absence. Put another way: the Giants will have their work cut out for them and they know it.

    2. Can the 'Skins establish a running game? Rookie Alfred Morris needs just 18 yards to surpass 1,000, and the last time these two teams got together, Washington ran all over New York to the tune of 248 yards on 7 yards per carry. Morris was good for 120 yards, and RGIII added the aforementioned 89, but the biggest issues was turnovers. If the 'Skins can hold onto the ball there's no reason to think they won't be able to run at will again. Which will open things up in the passing game and, perhaps, most importantly, keep Eli Manning on the bench.

    3. Will the receivers keep it going? The Giants might have the best pass rushers in the league but their secondary is average. Of course, you could say the same thing about the 'Skins' pass-catchers as recently as a few weeks ago. But with Aldrick Robinson and Garcon healthy, and Santana Moss settling into his role as a possession receiver, Washington has a suddenly potent group. There's no reason to think that won't continue.

    4. Can the defense contain Eli Manning? This was the difference between winning and losing last time -- Manning hit Victor Cruz on a 77-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute to go (and two plays after RGIII and Moss gave Washington the lead). But Jim Halsett's bunch has played much better since the bye week. Ideally, the Redskins' offense will do most of the heavy lifting, sustain long drives, and keep Manning off the field. That would be Washington's best defense.

    5. The game could be decided by special teams. Luckily, the Redskins have Kai Forbath who is 10 for 10 on field-goal attempts since signing with the team after Billy Cundiff kicked himself out of a job in Week 5. Brandon Banks can also be a dangerous return man when he's not fielding punts inside his five yard line. The Giants, meanwhile, have had issues with their coverage teams, although both kicker Lawrence Tynes and punter Steve Weatherford are among the league's best.