New York (6-6) at<BR> Washington (5-7)

Rod Gardner

Offensive player to watch: Receiver Rod Gardner. Washington likely will be more aggressive with its playcalls and New York's secondary is injured. The Giants don't really need to worry about anyone else and, if they want, can double team Gardner.

It'll be a good test to see how Gardner responds. A true No. 1 wideout would still find a way to have a big game. We're waiting to see if Gardner is that guy.

And keep an eye on: Running back Ladell Betts. Steve Spurrier said he'd like to get him some more carries. Washington must determine what Betts can do before finalizing its offseason plans.

Defensive player to watch: Middle linebacker Kevin Mitchell. He played well last year, at least against the run, but lost his job when Washington signed Jeremiah Trotter. This is a chance for Mitchell to prove he can still start, though it will be for someone else next season.

And keep an eye on: Corner Champ Bailey. He shut down Amani Toomer in the first meeting, though Toomer beat up everyone else. Bailey is playing at a Pro Bowl level and wants a trip to Hawaii. Another strong game would help.

How the Redskins can win: Attack the banged-up Giants defense. New York already is without corner Will Allen and Will Peterson might not play because of a concussion. Same with middle linebacker Michael Barrow. The Redskins could spread the field with three receivers and attack either in the air or on the ground. It will work. At least in theory--Danny Wuerffel's no-zip passes could be lethal against the likes of Peterson, or even Jason Sehorn. But Wuerffel can attack nickel corner Ralph Brown. Defensively, Washington must stop Jeremy Shockey. The Redskins usually succeed in slowing Tiki Barber, but they haven't excelled at pressuring Kerry Collins. Make him move around and the Redskins can win.

Key stats: New York has intercepted only five passes all season, and none in eight of the past nine games . . . End Michael Strahan has recorded half a sack in 10 straight games.

Signs of trouble: New York stops the run with its front seven . . . Jeremy Shockey makes crucial catches all day . . . Danny Wuerffel is pressured . . . The game comes down to a late field goal--with a new holder and kicker, does anyone really want that?

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