- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Robert Griffin III's first six NFL games were against teams that play outside of his own division. When the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Sunday in New Jersey, it will be Griffin's and the Redskins' first divisional game of the season. Only the Steelers and the 49ers have waited until this week to play a divisional game. (The Niners play theirs tonight.)
Back when the schedule came out, I remember thinking that this could be a good thing for Griffin -- to get his feet wet in the NFL without having to worry about the added pressure and intensity of the NFC East games until later in the year. Certainly, the way he and rookie running back Alfred Morris have performed to this point makes you think they're ready for anything. But Redskins coach Mike Shanahan thinks it's nice that they got to wait this long before being thrown into the NFC East fire. Per Rich Campbell:
"It's always an advantage if you’re going to play within your division if it's little bit later than earlier, especially with rookie players," coach Mike Shanahan said. "I think it is a big benefit for us with Robert and a kid like Alfred."
The logic makes sense. These NFC East games bring a little something extra to them. Just look at the Giants, reigning Super Bowl champions who are 4-0 so far this year outside the division but 0-2 inside. It's an all-best-are-off situation, and had Griffin had to open his pro career with a bunch of them in a row, it would have added a level of pressure that he might have been able to handle but likely didn't need.
Now, with the Giants' game coming up, the team feeling good about last week's victory over Minnesota and the prospect of ending Sunday in first place, Griffin, Morris and the rest of the Redskins are in a perfect position from which to begin the extra-competitive portion of their schedule.