Commentary

Giants need to solve McNabb riddle

Big Blue expects same old Donovan when G-Men battle Redskins on Sunday

Updated: December 3, 2010, 12:53 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the Philadelphia Eagles surprisingly traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins on Easter Sunday, Keith Bulluck reacted the way most did. "Oh [bleep]," said the Giants linebacker who played with McNabb at Syracuse and remains good friends with him. "I couldn't believe Philly would trade within the division."

Tom Coughlin's reaction was probably similar although he's not saying.

"My thoughts can't be expressed at this time," Coughlin said on Wednesday when asked to go back to his first reaction.

The Giants clearly would have loved to have seen McNabb find a new home outside the NFC East. But on Sunday, the Giants will have their annual reunion with McNabb, except this time he will be wearing burgundy and gold. McNabb is 11-7 overall against the Giants in his career and has won his past four starts against them, including a 23-11 playoff win during the 2008 season. Last year, McNabb swept the Giants as the Eagles put up 40 or more points in both victories.

If the Giants (7-4) want to win the NFC East, they will have to beat McNabb twice in the span of a month starting on Sunday. That might be tougher than some might expect since McNabb hasn't lost to the Giants since Nov. 9, 2008. "It's just a comfort level in the team that you're with and the things that you're able to do," McNabb said of his success against the Giants. "Guys around me made plays and when you're playing against a team twice a year, you have a feel with them, like what they're going to do, their defense's fronts and blitzes, and the answers to some of their questions.

[+] EnlargeDonovan McNabb
Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesThe New York Giants haven't defeated Donovan McNabb since Nov. 9, 2008.

"That's something that is obviously a lot different being with a different ballclub, but when you play against a team for 11 years, you build a good relationship with them as far as what they're doing and the defensive coordinators," he added. "It's going to be a battle, and it's going to be a lot of fun."

McNabb has had the Giants' number. But the Giants have practically owned the Redskins, having won seven of their past eight meetings.

This, though, is not the same Redskins team the Giants are used to facing. While the Redskins (5-6) have struggled at times this season (see Michael Vick/"Monday Night Football"), the Giants will get their first taste of Mike Shanahan and McNabb's Redskins. The Skins have beaten the likes of the Eagles, Packers and Bears.

But McNabb and Shanahan also have had their share of drama this season and the Redskins quarterback has thrown for only 11 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. As a Redskin, McNabb has passed for more than one touchdown in a game only once thus far.

Still, Coughlin expects to see the same old Donovan no matter what uniform he is in.

"He's still Donovan McNabb and he has a very, very strong arm, he will pull it down and run," Coughlin said. "I don't think there's any difference in terms of how you prepare for Donovan, having to make sure that you try to force him to step up in the pocket and you try to put as much pressure as you can right away."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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