Week 1 of the NFL schedule has the NY Giants playing the Washington Redskins; this is a serious game, despite being the beginning of the season. The fact that this is a division game along with being the first real game after somewhat of a questionable preseason, makes this game essential for both football organizations. The Redskins are still establishing an identity and finding a quarterback, while the Giants are mainly concerned with getting their rhythm back and house in order.
Beck has looked decent in the preseason and it is widely believed he will be the starter; he does seem to have a bit more fight in him then Grossman at times. Hightower may be the key for Shanahan's classic zone running schemes; Hightower is often explosive and experienced enough to capitalize on this type of offense. The Redskins will probably be better than most people expect this year, coaching is essential in the NFL; Shanahan is a proven product in this league. Orakpo will bring pressure more often than not most likely, he is the foundation of this new Redskins era. The Redskins are still building, so it is hard to expect much this early up against the NY Giants' primary focus on efficiency and returning to elite status.
Eli Manning keeps everybody guessing, its hard to predict what kind of year this will be. Manning is quite capable of greatness, often consistency and decision making are the flaws that raise doubt. Losing Steve Smith will be hard on Manning, but Hakeem Nicks and Manningham are extremely explosive receivers who can create touchdowns. It is hard to believe Coughlin will take the reins off Eli in this first game, it's hard to say when or if that ever is the best thing to do. Despite Brandon Jacobs lack of composure and Bradshaw's hurt back, the power running game is the foundation of this offense right now. The Giants running game has looked more effective than ever as of late so they will be leaning on that more often most likely to avoid the high rate of interceptions last year. Injuries are an issue again this year with the Giants, and after somewhat of a dismal preseason, this first game is an essential win for the team.
Any game is really up in the air with Eli, he could throw an interception at any times it seems; frequently pushing the envelop with young receivers. It can be hard to say confident as a Giant fan; this first game may show whether the team is playoff bound or not this year. It is hard to put any expectations on the Redskins, but it will be interesting to see if Beck really is their guy. The Redskins will look different this year, maybe even enough to shock the dismantled Giants opening week. Like most games it really depends on the quarterbacks; the Giants will bring enough pressure to hurt Beck. Shanahan is smart, experienced and extremely competitive so his expectations are most likely greater than most, there is no doubt he has a game plan to compensate for the Redskins deficiencies in order to win games.
It still is early so the teams are still being formed as players are cut and signed to and from various teams. For the most part the teams are formed, each team may not have done as badly this preseason as is widely held by fans and analysts alike. The Redskins are getting transformed into Shanahan football, this has proven to work in the past in the league. He focuses on a mobile serviceable quarterback, and a solid zone running scheme along with building the pass rush. The Giants might have done addition by subtraction this preseason, time will tell really. It does seem they have gotten back to more of their core identity, or maintained it at least. They have two dynamic receivers, a solid pass rush with many young linebackers along with a possible elite secondary between Rolle, Phillips and Webster. The real question for them is, can they stay healthy this year?