Next-Level Preview: Giants at Redskins

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
4:25
PM ET
The Giants head to FedEx Field on Monday night for their second meeting of the season with the Washington Redskins. In Week 7, the Giants escaped with a 27-23 victory, largely due to Eli Manning's 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 left to play.

The Giants are coming off of a convincing 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. In that game, Manning broke out of his scoring slump with three touchdown passes, including strikes to favored targets Hakeem Nicks and Cruz. The Redskins, meanwhile, beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-31 on the strength of Robert Griffin III's four touchdown passes.

Here are some areas to watch for on Monday:

• Griffin has been one of the best quarterbacks on throws more than 10 yards downfield. He has nine touchdowns on such throws (tied for third in the league), including 26- and 30-yard strikes to Santana Moss against the Giants in Week 7. Griffin is accurate with his deep passes, under- or overthrowing his targets only 18.4 percent of the time, second-lowest in the league. The Giants' defense, meanwhile, has struggled defending such throws, allowing the highest yards per attempt (13.1) in the league. They have also given up 10 touchdowns on throws more than 10 yards downfield, the total amount they allowed all of last season.

• The Giants will not only have to deal with RGIII's arm, but also his legs. The Redskins run the zone read -- where the quarterback has the option of either handing off to his running back or keeping it for himself -- more than any team in the NFL. In their Week 7 matchup against the Giants, the Redskins ran the zone read 14 times for 74 of their 248 rushing yards. The Giants will need to stay disciplined and maintain their assignments to contain the Redskins' rushing attack.

• The Giants have struggled to defend rushes outside the tackles, allowing the fourth-most rushing yards (446) and the third-highest yards per carry (6.4) in the league. The Redskins have two of the top-three rushers outside the tackles this season. Griffin has an NFL-best 438 yards outside the tackles and has rushed for 20 first downs, tied with Arian Foster for most in the league. Alfred Morris has the most rushes outside the tackles (68), more than half of which have come on pitches. As a team, the Redskins run outside the tackles on 40.2 percent of their rushes this year, highest in the league.

• The bye week did Manning a world of good last. Last Sunday, he posted his highest Total QBR (87.9) in the last five weeks and threw three touchdowns, all of which came on third down. How Manning plays on third down has been key to the Giants' success this season. When Manning plays well on third down, the Giants usually win.

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