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Giants Try to Solve Robert Griffin III a Second Time

Monday night could put the Giants a lot closer to the division title

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Dec 3, 2012  |  Updated 4:04 PM EDT
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Giants Try to Solve Robert Griffin III a Second Time

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Another date with the NFL's shiniest new star.

The Giants can take a big step toward the NFC East title on Monday night. 

Beating the Redskins would leave them two games clear of both the Cowboys and Redskins with just four games to play while also leaving them with at least three wins in the division. With the hapless Eagles standing between them and a 4-2 mark, the Giants would be sitting rather pretty after a win.

Getting that win is a little more difficult with it looking unlikely that safety Kenny Phillips is going to play on Monday night. Phillips hurt his knee again against the Packers, an injury which could threaten to end his return to the lineup after just one game. 

Phillips' return was vital to the easy win over Green Bay because his presence as a deep safety made it possible for Antrel Rolle to play a more physical, aggressive style close to the line of scrimmage. The Giants knew they could count on Phillips and that enabled them to take more risks and try more things to attack Aaron Rodgers. 

It's doubtful that they are going to take the same kinds of risks with Robert Griffin III with Phillips out of the lineup. The rookie has been on a jaw-dropping roll the last two weeks and the Giants have already gotten a big taste of what he can do against a defense that doesn't have Phillips hanging out to clean up messes. 

Having seen RG3 once could make the Giants better equipped to deal with what he can do, although that's mitigated a bit by the fact that Griffin keeps on showing more wrinkles to his game. If Jason Pierre-Paul, slowed by back issues at the end of last week, isn't fully ready to go, it could be a long day of trying to choose between giving Griffin time to throw or chasing him around the corner. 

It's a big task and it is one that could lead the game into a shootout. Eli Manning doesn't play the same game as Griffin, but he's certainly capable of putting up the numbers. 

We're just not sure he's capable of doing it right now. His game last week was hailed as being all the way back thanks to the final score, but it didn't really feel that way while watching the game. 

There was a big screen pass to Ahmad Bradshaw and three touchdowns, but a couple of dropped interceptions, maddening drops and inaccurate throws looked straight out of the worrying weeks before the bye. The Redskins do not have a good pass defense, but they did a strong enough job on Manning the first time around until their inexplicable breakdown on Victor Cruz's game-winner. 

A win would make the division title almost inevitable. They'll have earned it if things play out that way.

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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