While it might feel like it's been three years since the Skins played a regular season game, it's only been about eight months. That all comes to an end at 4:15 p.m. Sunday when the Skins take on the NY Giants.
The Giants won the division last year with a 12-4 record, while the Skins finished up 8-8, last in the NFC East.
The Skins dropped both games to the Giants last year.
Week 1 was a 16-7 loss, in which Washington couldn't get the offense humming. They rushed for just 84 yards, and conservative play-calling, in part, limited Jason Campbell to just 133 yards in the air.
Week 13 came in the midst of the second-half swoon for the Skins. Again, they put up just a measly touchdown, losing 23-7. Again, they failed to reach 100 yards on the ground, with both Campbell (38 yards) and Devin Thomas (29 yards) out-rushing a banged-up Clinton Portis (22 yards).
The Giants were the better team last year. They're likely the better team this year -- if you're the degenerate gambler type, the Giants are favored by about 6.
But these certainly aren't the same teams as last year.
For one, the Giants receivers are in flux. With Plaxico now wearing bright orange, the depth chart is a bunch of guys you probably haven't heard much of: Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon and Mario Manningham.
The temptation would be for the Skins to stack the box until the receivers proved they could beat the secondary, but when they tried that in the second game last season (the first post-Plaxico game), Manning threw his only 300-yard game of the season.
The Skins secondary was maligned for their performance last year, but the improved defensive line play should take some of the pressure off them -- they won't have to cover receivers for :30 while waiting for someone to put heat on the QB.
Another area to watch is the Skins' offensive line versus the Giants D line.
The struggles of the line in pass protection are well known, and the focus of much concern. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are a dangerous combination which should give Stephon Heyer and the others a big challenge. If they can give JC that extra tick or two to read the defense, the Skins are hoping for a big jump in passing performance over last year.
If the line holds up, the Skins could certainly take the game. But if Campbell constantly has hands in his face, it's likely to be a repeat of last year's 0-2 performances.