The season is less than a week away now and the Redskins will jump in head first by taking on divisional rival the New York Giants. There is no official word yet on who the Skins starting QB is, but I think that's more due to Shanny playing mind games with Tom Coughlin. So in looking forward to the season, what should be the blueprint to beating our divisional opponents?
New York Giants
Biggest Weakness: The Giants were bitten by the injury bug more than any other team in the NFL this season. The two biggest hits were losing promising rookie defensive tackle Marvin Austin for the year, as well as last year's interception leader Terrell Thomas. Sage Rosenfels and Clint Sintim are also out for the season, while Ramses Barden and Adam Koets start the year on the PUP list.
Blueprint: Eli Manning has shown shades of continuing as a turnover machine this preseason, so it will be key for the Redskins front seven to get pressure on the QB and force some bad decision. The main point of attack should be starting LT Will Beatty who has only started six career games, Beatty should have a rough time matching up against Brian Orakpo and Stephen Bowen.
The Giants are still very solid on the defensive side of the ball, mainly anchored by their front seven. The one weakness may be their secondary where they have serious injuries to the aforementioned Thomas and rookie Prince Amukamara. Hopefully the Skins can step into a methodical passing game to help move down the field.
Biggest Weakness: The linebacking corps will be a source of problems for the Eagles in my mind, but I think their biggest weakness is themselves. Sure they have a lot of big names and have added a lot of talent, but it's going to take awhile for everyone to gel and develop continuity.
Blueprint: The key to beating the Eagles is when your team has the ball. If I was an offensive coordinator then I would try to make the Eagles and first year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo extremely uncomfortable, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that from Josh McDaniels' and the Rams Week 1. Expect a hurry up offense, audibles, and an exotic playbook.
On defense teams will attack the inexperienced week interior of the offensive line, which is anchored by rookies Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce. The Eagles were exploited in the preseason and I would expect the trend to continue even more once defensive playbooks are opened even more.
Biggest Weakness: The secondary is a bit of a mess, but if I'm a Cowboys fan then I'm not feeling good about my starting offensive line. Tyron Smith has looked good in preseason, but has also been manhandled at times. Then you have undrafted free agent second year player, Phil Costa starting at center, and to Costa's left you have a 7th round rookie Bill Nagy starting. Defensive tackles should have a field day against the 'Boys and Tony Romo might get reacquainted with that fresh Cowboys Stadium Field Turf.
Blueprint: Attack the Cowboys weak secondary and rush the passer, any balanced team should be able to handle the Cowboys, it's that simple. I also don't get the Rob Ryan hype, the guy has had a Top 10 defense ONCE as a coordinator. The Cowboys may have the best skill position players in the division, but I think they are going to have trouble getting them the ball and getting other teams offense off the field.