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Redskins vs Giants: Five Questions with Big Blue View

Coming off a disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Washington Redskins (4-6) will be trying to get to first place in the NFCE on Sunday against the New York Giants (5-5). We spoke with Ed Valentine of Big Blue View to further familiarize ourselves with the Redskins' next opponent.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

1.  With Victor Cruz seemingly always hurt, the Giants re-signed Hakeem Nicks. What are the expectations for Nicks over the remainder of the season? How do fans feel about the signing? He's still young but has a tainted injury history and hasn't really done anything since leaving the Giants the first time. What does he bring and where/when/how can we expect him to be used? Related, what's the future hold for Victor Cruz as a Giant?

Tom Coughlin said last week he hopes Nicks can recapture his former glory, but that's a coach trying to build up a player's confidence. There are fans who don't want to recognize that just because a guy was a star 4-5 years ago doesn't mean he can automatically be one now. There is a reason Nicks didn't have a job -- no one really thought he deserved one.

That said, if he is going to succeed at all New York would be the right place. He has a quarterback he knows, a head coach he knows and surroundings he is comfortable in. If he plays at all I think it will be in red zone situations as an extra receiver, or as the fourth guy.

As for Cruz, he's owed a LOT of money. My guess is the Giants either cut him and try to bring him back on a low-cost one-year deal or massively re-structure his contract.

2.  Could you tell us about one player on each side of the ball who we may not have heard of and who could have a big impact on Sunday?

On offense, rookie Will Tye has emerged as an option in the passing game. He's a UDFA from Stony Brook who is only playing due to injuries, and the Giants might have found themselves a keeper.

Another guy to watch is Nikita Whitlock. He plays BOTH fullback and -- at times -- is usued as a pass-rushing defensive tackle. The guy is amazing. He's 5-foot-10 (maybe) and 250 pounds, and he's a handful for offensive linemen.

3.  How has the Giants' offense and defense changed from when these two teams faced off early in the season? What strengths and weaknesses have developed?

Offensively, the Giants are getting better. They are fourth in the league in points per game, but they still struggle to run the ball at times and are deficient in the red zone.

Defensively, Jason Pierre-Paul is back, and Prince Amukamara returns at corner this week. DT Johnathan Hankins is lost for the season with a pec injury. This is not a great defense -- not close. They hope the pass rush is improving and to continue to create some turnovers.

4.  Who wins the game and why?

A couple of things make me nervous, from the Giants perspective. The Giants have beaten Washington five straight times, and sooner or later all good things come to an end. The other is that Kirk Cousins and Washington have been much better at home.

That said, I still think the Giants are a better team than the Redskins and that Eli Manning is a better quarterback than Kirk Cousins. I think the Giants know the only reason the NFC East is a race at this point is because of their own failings, and I think they come out, play really well on Sunday and get what they are calling their "six-game season" off to a good start.

5.  How do fans feel about the future of the team at QB and HC? It seems Coughlin and retirement are brought up just about every season. How many years do you think he has left as the Giants HC? Do fans speculate on guys they'd like to be the next HC? If so, who?

You know how fan bases are. The answer to that question differs by the day. There are many Giants fans who have wanted Tom Coughlin gone for years, and if the Giants miss the playoffs this year they will probably get their wish. Everybody speculates on who the next guy will be, but right now I have no idea. As for quarterback, I think everyone realizes what Manning is -- both good and bad -- and understands he is going to be the QB for a while yet.

Many thanks to Ed for giving us great answers on his New York Giants.  For more coverage of Giants-Redskins with an NY flavor, please check out Big Blue View.