The League

David Larimer
Two-time defending Gameday pick-em champion

David Larimer

An assistant NFL editor at the The Washington Post

Washington at N.Y. Giants, Week One

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Tonight, 7 p.m.

The Giants feel they're not getting due respect for their Super Bowl title. Running back Brandon Jacobs told the New York Daily News: "I don't know how much winning we'll have to do to convince people that we are a good team and that we are contenders. I don't think people are ever going to believe in the New York Giants."

This isn't news. Athletes' demand for respect so far outweighs supply that huge swaths of farmland are now being devoted to the development of corn-based alternative respect. But Big Blue has cause to feel overshadowed. Some league observers have them finishing third in their division, and the acquistion of Brett Favre by their Meadowlands housemates stole headlines in the preseason.

Then again, respect starts at home, and the Giants haven't won there since Oct. 21. Only three of their last 17 victories, including playoffs, have come at Giants Stadium. The fact that the Redskins were the last team to raid the fort, as well as the last team to beat New York, period, adds motivation.

The Redskins need not look back to that 22-10 win over the Giants on Dec. 16 -- earned under a different coach, a contrasting offensive philosophy and an injury fill-in at quarterback -- as much as to, of all things, the preseason. Will Coach Jim Zorn's up-tempo philosophy, a stark departure from Joe Gibbs's grind-it-out template, break out of its slumber of the final two exhibition games?

The biggest fallout from those blowout losses to Carolina and Jacksonville was the demotion of longtime starting tackle Jon Jansen in favor of Stephon Heyer. Heyer's matchup with New York's Justin Tuck -- himself a new starter, taking over at defensive end for retired star Michael Strahan -- could be the most intriguing individual battle of the game, the first of three NFC East road trips for the Redskins in the season's first five weeks.

By David Larimer  |  September 4, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Week 1 Previews Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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