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Friday, November 28, 2008
Audibles: NFC East Week 13 preview


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

New York Giants (10-1) at Washington Redskins (7-4), 1 p.m. ET

Huge game for the Redskins after watching the Cowboys improve to 8-4 Thursday. The Giants are the best team in football, though, and coach Tom Coughlin doesn't allow for letdowns. The Giants got that loss out of the way against Cleveland and haven't looked back.

The Redskins are a completely different team than the one that opened the season in the Meadowlands. The Giants feasted on Jim Zorn's West Coast offense and did a nice job of taking running back Clinton Portis out of the game. Jason Campbell has been up and down since that game, but he's certainly capable of burning you if given enough time in the pocket.

Expect Zorn to commit to the running game from the start. Everything in this offense feeds off Portis' success on the ground. The Giants are the sixth-best rushing defense in the league heading into Sunday. They'll have to survive what should be a huge emotional wave from the Redskins early. The late Sean Taylor will be inducted into the Ring of Fame before the game. Zorn wants his players to absorb the special moment and then re-focus on playing.

Both teams have some key injuries. For the Giants, Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs are still banged up. And you should keep an eye on Fred Robbins' shoulder injury. He's a big part of that elite defensive line. The Redskins might have to go without middle linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Andre Carter, who both have foot injuries. Linebacker Marcus Washington has already been ruled out.

Carter actually went through some drills in Thursday's practice, but Fletcher didn't do anything. It would be a big surprise, though, if Fletcher sits out. He's one of the most durable players in the league and he's played through pain before. Plus, he's the emotional leader for this defense.

I think this is the type of game that could hinge on a big play on special teams. Rock Cartwright does a really nice job in all phases of special teams for the Redskins. But Domenik Hixon is the Giants player who can absolutely take over a game.