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Better Know the Enemy: Washington Redskins

A look ahead at this week's Giants foe



    Better Know the Enemy: Washington Redskins
    Getty Images
    The Redskins have new life thanks to their new quarterback.

    Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Giants' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Washington Redskins.

    If you think it is hard to find a cab in the late afternoon in midtown, you've got a pretty good idea of how it has felt for Redskins fans looking for a franchise quarterback over the past few decades. 

    They could see plenty of perfectly good quarterbacks zipping around with other teams, usually when they faced off against and beat the Redskins. Whenever they thought one was in their sights, those fans discovered under closer examination that the off duty light was on and the wait would have to continue. 

    Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, Heath Shuler and Patrick Ramsey are a few of the failures, which must have made looking at the Giants and Eli Manning pretty painful over the last few years. That pain has subsided this season, though. 

    Robert Griffin III has arrived and been exactly the player that the team deemed worthy of the multiple first-round picks they sent to the Rams for the right to move up in the draft to select the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. He's had no shortage of highlights, but the 76-yard run to ice last week's win over the Vikings is a pretty clear-cut choice for his most exciting moment yet. 

    The only negative on his ledger is that his style leads to a lot of hits, one of which forced Griffin out of a game with a concussion. The Giants will be trying to deliver as many of those blows as possible, although memories of the way Michael Vick (in the past and this season) has been able to exploit the edges of the Giants defense make this less than a sure thing even after last week's defensive brilliance in San Francisco. 

    Whatever the results of this game, it will be the first of many meetings with Griffin and those meetings will have an extra zing as long as Griffin continues to be one of the league's most exciting players. As he matures as a quarterback, we could be looking at the first new guard divisional rival to Manning as the Giants quarterback moves into the next stage of his career. 

    That's an enticing prospect for the future, although the present is plenty appealing all by itself. Here's a few other things to keep in mind for Sunday.

    Alfred Morris  - Mike Shanahan has consistently found productive running backs under rocks and Morris, a sixth-round pick, is the latest addition to the list. He's run for 538 yards in his first six NFL games, giving the 'Skins good balance with Griffin and at least a semi-permanent answer to the revolving door at running back.

    Ryan Kerrigan - The Redskins lost two defensive starters -- linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker -- to season-ending injuries, which stepped up the pressure on Kerrigan to carry a bigger load in his second year. It's worked out pretty well, with 3.5 sacks and an interceptions return for a touchdown (something he did against the Giants last year) helping lift the Redskins to their 3-3 start.

    Fred Davis - Washington shuffled its receiving corps this season to help Griffin's transition to the NFL, but Pierre Garcon's toe injury has left the team in pretty much the same boat at that spot. It's a good thing that they have Davis at tight end, then, because he presents matchup problems that still stress a defense even without big production on the outside. 

    Revenge, of a sort - The fact that the Giants couldn't find a way to beat a bad Redskins team in either of their matchups last season turned out to be nothing more than part of the narrative of their turnaround in the playoffs. It was still embarrassing, though, and these Redskins aren't nearly as bad as last season's edition. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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