- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz broke the Washington Redskins' hearts in Week 7 with a 77-yard touchdown catch in the final minutes. But for that play, the Redskins had the Giants beat that day, and the Giants know it. After losing to the Redskins twice last season, they do not take their division rival lightly.
But in advance of their "Monday Night Football" matchup next week in Washington, Cruz on Wednesday appeared to dismiss the idea of the Redskins as legitimate contenders for this year's postseason. Per Jenny Vrentas:
"They're still a couple pieces away from actually being a contender, them being in legitimate talks for playoffs and things like that," Cruz said today on a conference call. "They're still a few pieces away whether it be defensively or wherever they are missing some pieces. But I think they've definitely -- they've got to be in the conversation. They've got a good team, they play good football, they hold the ball for a long time, and they really do some good things. So I definitely put them in that conversation, for sure."
For what it's worth, I think Cruz's assessment of the Redskins is very good. They've played better defense in the past couple of weeks, but they're still short in the secondary, and that's likely to show up against teams with the kind of talent the Giants have in the passing game. And the reporter in me always appreciates a player who gives honest opinions instead of sound-byte drivel.
But something like this makes you cringe a little, in this day and age, at the idea that it could come back to haunt Cruz and the Giants. The Redskins sit two games back of the Giants in the division race and one game out of the final NFC wild-card spot. The NFL is wildly unpredictable, and a victory against the Giants on Monday Night would make things very interesting in terms of Washington's chances to pull a surprise and reach this season's playoffs. And if they do that at the expense of the Giants -- or if they were to meet and defeat the Giants in a playoff game -- I'd have to believe this is the kind of comment that might maybe just possibly get brought up again. Just sayin'.