And so it begins. The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants are hoping to do like previous champions and get off to a good start with a win on their season opening Thursday night game, a game that the home champion has never lost. They have an interesting opponent across from them, as they take on division rival Washington, a team that has undergone plenty of changes this offseason.
The Giants got off to an awful 0-2 start last season, but went the distance by winning four road games including the title game in Glendale vs the heavily favored Patriots. They enter Thursdays game with the recent loss of two-time Pro Bowl D-lineman Osi Umenyiora, and the retirement of Michael Strahan for them to try and overcome. They still have a tough D-line, and it will reek havoc on Jason Campbell and the Skins line and running game.
Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka will make sure that Campbell and the Skins have little time to do much, as they will hold Clinton Portis in check and make the Skins have to convert a lot of 2nd and 3rd and long situations. Campbell threw for 12 TD’s and 11 picks last season, and with playmakers Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley, he will be called upon to make good reads and better throws in Jim Zorn’s revamped offense.
On offense, the Giants will pound the Skins D-line with a combo of Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and veteran Derrick Ward. Look for them to combine for 150+ on the ground. Eli Manning played out of this world in the playoffs, playing poised and in control. He will need to make more of those same smart, good reads to keep the offense in motion.
Manning is careful with the ball, and should be able to take advantage of some throws underneith, and then try a few over the top throws to Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Manning has to take what the Skins defense gives him, and should be able to get points if he simply plays smart and takes his time.
The Giants will have the emotion of opening night on their side, and even without Osi will put more than enough pressure on Campbell and the Skins offense to pull out an opening night win.