Posted by Boone for those who'd like to revisit Anne's great Blognostications entry from Week 13 of the 2010 NFL Season:
If you’re like me, you spend a good part of your Wednesday evenings checking out BGO to see who the resident prognosticator is for the week. So I imagine that more than a few of you clicked on this week’s installment of Blognostications and thought “by Anne the … wait, what? Who?” Some of you may remember me from “that other board” as an infrequent poster who occasionally emerged from the shadows to insult fans of other teams – the message board equivalent of the aunt who gets drunk at weddings and stage whispers comments about the bride’s weight. Given my undistinguished posting history, both here and there, you can imagine my surprise when the powers that be asked me to write an entry for this particular blog. This isn't like photoshopping Eli Manning’s head onto a dog’s body; it actually requires some thought.
Before I get started, let me get this out of the way right now: I’m going to be the first blognosticator to pick the Redskins to lose. Yeah, I know. I’m a crappy fan. But here’s my reasoning. I think that at 5-6, we are a middle-of-the-road team whose play tends to be uneven and, at times, wholly uninspired. The Giants, at 7-4, are a better-than-average team that often manages to find a way to win games. It’s not complicated: The Giants, in my opinion, are the better team and the better team often finds a way to win.
When the Redskins have the ball. The Giants are ranked 9th against the run, while Washington is ranked 26th in rushing yards. I’ve always liked Mike Shanahan and have for years admired the way his zone blocking schemes have made household names out of runners who would otherwise be playing in the XFL. But he was doing it in the AFC West, which lacks the smashmouth qualities common to NFC East teams. I think that his system can work – eventually. But when you’re playing your #4 running back behind an injured and aging patchwork of a line, the results are predictable: One rushing first down and 13 rushing attempts for 29 yards against the Vikings. Ouch. The Giants must be salivating.
As for the Redskins passing game, I’m not telling tales out of school when I say that snow fencing could do a better job of keeping defenders away from Donovan McNabb than our merry band of turnstiles. So far, McNabb has been sacked a total of 32 times, with almost half of those coming in the last 4 games. The Giants, with the #1 pass defense in the NFL, already have 31 sacks this season and have sent 6 quarterbacks to the sidelines. When you compare the Redskins O-line with the Giants’ D-line … well, there’s not really much of a comparison. We are boys; they are men. We’re the Little Sisters of the Poor; they’re the College of Cardinals. We are Bambi; they’re the guy who shot Bambi’s mother.
It’s not all bad news. Ryan Torain has been able to boost the running game during Portis’ decline and fall. On the passing side, Cooley continues to be a solid player; Moss is still a nice #2 receiver; and Anthony Armstrong is emerging as a capable deep threat. If we can ever manage to acquire a legitimate #1 receiver, I think that the passing game is going to be pretty good.
When the Giants have the ball. On offense, the Giants are ranked 6th and 9th in rushing and passing yards, respectively. It is here where I think we see the importance of drafting thoughtfully and with an eye to the future. Since 1999 (the year that Dan Snyder bought the Redskins), the Giants have drafted 11 offensive linemen, 6 running backs and 13 wide receivers. To be sure, some of these players have washed out, but many (even the late-round picks) have played well. So when the line has to be reshuffled at the 11th hour, as was the case this past Sunday, it can still generate a consistent running game and protect the quarterback. As Bulldog’s Twin noted last week, good drafting has allowed them to play Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, with Ahmad Bradshaw and Ryan Grant as understudies. And although few of their receivers could be described as world beaters (Hakeem Nix being a notable exception), they provide good targets for the perennially overhyped Eli Manning.
The Redskins defense, on the other hand, is currently ranked, what, last overall? Second to last? Is anyone even looking at this embarrassing statistic any more? As we all know, the defense’s main claim to fame is a 3-4 scheme that is completely ill suited for its personnel. The most glaring example, obviously, is Albert Haynesworth, who plays so infrequently that he’s able to nap between snaps. And when he is on the field, he mails it in so often that he should be working at a post office. At least Andre Carter is trying. Really, what can you say about this stupid defense that hasn’t already been said (and said better)? I could have spared myself a lot of grief if I’d just listened to Om when he warned us about Jim Haslett back in January.
Again, as with the offense, there is some good news. DeAngelo Hall is having a pro bowl caliber year. Laron Landry is back to playing his natural position of strong safety and, when he’s not sidelined, is making big plays again. Even Carlos “Oven Mitts” Rogers is looking good these days. Now if we can just fix the front 7 we’ll be set.
Final score: Giants 31, Redskins 17.
Post-script: Look, I really hope I’m wrong. I hope that the Giants are entering their patented second-half-of-the-season collapse. I hope that Donovan McNabb marches the offense up and down the field like Genghis Khan leading the Mongol hoards through Eurasia. I hope that at the end of the game, Giants fans everywhere are sobbing into their beers and turning in their fan cards. (Especially that ex-boyfriend of mine who always wore those hideous Zubaz pants in Giants colors. My retinas are still burning.) But for me, watching the Redskins this weekend will be like going to a wedding where the couple is an obvious mismatch: love 'em, wish 'em the best, and make sure you’ve got lots of tissues, just in case.