Redskins.com looks at two key matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Giants game at New Meadowlands Stadium.
"Redskins-Giants: Marquee Matchups" is presented by Papa John's.
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Donovan McNabb vs. Giants Pass Rush
While the Redskins' ground game has been slowed by injuries, the passing offense is ranked 10th in the NFL through Week 12. It's a quality ranking given that Donovan McNabb has been sacked 31 times this season, second-most in the NFL.
Against Minnesota, which boasts one of the most physical defensive lines in football, McNabb was sacked four times last Sunday. Teams are pressuring McNabb from the front four and via the blitz, and it's up to the Redskins' offensive line and running backs to protect the 12-year veteran.
McNabb has thrown for 2,853 yards and is on pace to set a Redskins franchise record in passing yards, but he has 13 interceptions, his most since 2000.
It could be that all of the hits McNabb has absorbed has taken its toll in the passing game.
Like the Vikings, the Giants boast one of the best defensive lines in football. Osi Umenyiora had some classic battles with Chris Samuels through the years and now he matches up with Trent Williams for the first time.
Umenyiora leads the Giants with eight sacks. When McNabb was in Philadelphia, Umenyiora sacked him six times in a memorable 2007 game.
Justin Tuck, second on the defense with 7.5 sacks, has been a thorn in the Redskins' side in recent years. He has posted a sack in five of his last six games vs. Washington. Since 2007, he has five sacks and two forced fumbles against the Redskins.
Redskins' Run Defense vs. Brandon Jacobs / Ahmad Bradshaw
The Redskins enter into Sunday's matchup ranked 26th in the NFL in run defense.
Last week vs. Minnesota, they were gashed by Adrian Peterson until he left with an ankle injury. Backup Toby Gerhart was able to churn out 76 rushing yards, including 37 in the fourth quarter to seal a Vikings win.
Run defense has long been a source of pride for Redskins veterans like linebacker London Fletcher, who leads the team with 128 tackles, and Rocky McIntosh, who has 108 tackles. It does not help that strong safety LaRon Landry, third with 101 tackles, is sidelined with an Achilles injury.
The Giants are ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing offense – a strong ground game has long been a part of their identity.
After serving as a backup the first 10 weeks of the season, bruising back Brandon Jacobs has re-emerged as a starter for the Giants. He teams with speedster Ahmad Bradshaw to form a thunder-and-lightning backfield.
The 6-4, 264-pound Jacobs is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has 474 rushing yards and five touchdowns this season. Bradshaw leads the offense with 916 rushing yards and he also has five touchdowns.
The Giants have several banged-up wide receivers, so slowing Jacobs and Bradshaw and making their offense one-dimensional could be a key to the game.