This encounter is a potential divisional decider. At least it is for the New York Giants who will surely lock up the NFC East and secure safe passage to the play-offs with a win. The defending Super Bowl champs are clearly also looking to boost their postseason credentials with the best possible ranking, but some trademark erratic efforts this term mean that home-field advantage seems a pipe dream. Not that a lowly seeding has stopped them before, of course - twice lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy from unfavourable draws.
The Redskins are clinging to their own faint hopes of a wildcard berth. And despite Dallas' win last night against Philly, they just about hold their destiny in their own hands. More accurately, their slim chances are inextricably linked to the hands of rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III who has almost single-handedly kept the Skins in the play-off picture with his awesome dual-threat versatility.
RG3's cannon arm and athletic prowess outside the pocket make him a nightmare for defenses to read. And while his unpredictability can even surprise his own teammates, he has brought them back from the brink more times than he has blown it this season. Griffin is also a fast learner who is ironing out the mistakes that go with the territory of a debut season.
Case in point: in just his last two matches, Griffin has doubled his touchdown-pass total (eight) for this, his breakout campaign. He certainly promises to improve upon the encouraging performance he produced on his first shot at Big Blue in late October, when the Skins came up a wafer shy of a shock in 27-23 loss at MetLife Stadium. Now more happily ensconced in the home comforts of FedEx Field, tonight presents RG3 (and his favourite wingman, Santana Moss) with another chance to shine on the national stage. He hasn't missed his lines yet in Monday Night Football either, recording back-to-back victories.
However, the Giants are never to be taken lightly. Tom Coughlin's troops are seldom flashy and rarely register the results in consistent fashion. Apart from when it matters most. It's a key distinction. And one which can largely account for their two unexpected Super Bowl runs in the last five years.
The major constant in those rocky roads to glory has been Eli Manning who is the individual personification of his collective team: in the last, he's first. The hawks were again circling when Manning Jnr hadn't thrown a touchdown in 99 passes before last Sunday's Green Bay game. But Eli responded once more, restoring full power with three TDs for 249 yards in a resounding win over a proven team.
I must confess to normally swerving ties involving the Giants. I've only played them twice this season, with the 50-50 outcome you'd anticipate. That said, the field-goal start in favour of the Skins does appear a very useful handicap to have on one's side this evening in what could turn into a one-dimensional shootout. New York have lost running back Andre Brown for the season with a broken leg, which means it's up to the unheralded Dave Wilson to fill the void. Griffin, though, is already proving that collegiate superstars can make a quick transition to the NFL.
RG3 should prove the game-clincher in a rematch where Washington need only limit their disciplinary errors - they lead the league in penalties (93) and penalty yards (770) - to keep this division alive.
Back Washington Redskins (+3 points) on the Match Point Spread @ 1.9110/11 or betterBack Washington Redskins (+0.5 points) on the First-Half Point Spread @ 2.01/1 or better
Back Over 51.5 Total Points @ 1.9110/11 or better