Washington (5-6) at NY Giants (7-4)

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN, STATS Senior Writer Friday, Dec 3, 2010 Kickoff: 1:00 pm EST Sun Dec 5, 2010

The New York Giants have had their share of problems against Donovan McNabb(notes) in the past. Now that he’s enduring his worst season while playing for the Washington Redskins, it should be easier.

The Giants face McNabb in a Redskins uniform for the first time Sunday, with New York trying to defeat its NFC East rival for the fifth straight meeting.

McNabb went 11-7 as a starter including playoffs in his career against New York (7-4) with Philadelphia, throwing 27 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He lost his first three starts against the Giants, won the next seven, lost the following four and won the most recent four.

“It’s just a comfort level in the team that you’re with and the things that you’re able to do,” McNabb said. “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.

“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 and things of that nature.”

McNabb had a 69.5 completion percentage, 515 yards passing and five touchdowns with one interception in two wins against the Giants last season.

“He’s going to be in a different uniform - that would be a little bit different for all of us - but we have played against Donovan many times and he certainly is an outstanding quarterback and leader of his team, no matter whether it’s Philadelphia or Washington,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

McNabb, though, has been a different player with Washington (5-6).

The six-time Pro Bowler never had more interceptions than touchdowns with the Eagles, but he has 11 TDs, 13 interceptions and a career-worst 76.0 quarterback rating with the Redskins. Washington receivers have combined for an NFC-low four touchdown receptions, and they’ll be facing a New York pass defense that is the best in the NFL, yielding 186.4 yards per game.

The Redskins have been without their top two rushers for the last three games. Clinton Portis(notes) is out for the season with a torn muscle in his abdomen while Ryan Torain(notes) has been out since Oct. 31 with a hamstring problem. Torain will be a game-time decision.

“We’re going to evaluate a couple of our tailbacks here over the next couple of days to see exactly what kind of shape they’re in,” coach Mike Shanahan said.

Washington amassed a season-low 216 yards in last Sunday’s 17-13 loss to Minnesota.

While the Redskins are on the fringe of contention, the Giants are one-half game behind the Eagles for first place in the division. New York avoided a third straight loss by rallying from an 11-point halftime deficit for a 24-20 victory over Jacksonville last Sunday.

The Giants have the third-best offense in the league with 387.2 yards per game, but they played without top receivers Hakeem Nicks(notes) and Steve Smith against the Jaguars. Nicks is making progress from a leg injury that required emergency surgery but will miss this game. Smith has also made progress from a partially torn pectoral muscle but is listed as doubtful.

David Diehl(notes) has returned to practice after missing the first three games of his career but is doubtful. Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara(notes) will not play. An offensive line featuring several backups, however, has helped Eli Manning(notes) avoid a sack for four straight games - the longest stretch in the NFL this year.

“They’ve done a good job of understanding what we’re doing, how we’re going to block things, picking up stunts and tendencies of the defense,” said Manning, tied for the league lead with 23 touchdown passes. “Hopefully we continue to do that.”

The Giants’ change at running back last week seemed to work as Brandon Jacobs(notes) had season highs of 14 carries and 87 yards with Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) backing him up due to his six fumbles. New York did not commit a turnover for the first time, remaining at a league-worst 30, and scored on its first possession for the first time.

Washington’s defense, which will be missing safety LaRon Landry(notes) for the third straight game as well as cornerback Carlos Rogers(notes), ranks last as the only one in the league allowing more than 400 yards per game. The run defense is giving up 4.9 yards per carry to tie Indianapolis for the worst mark in the NFL.

The Giants are enjoying their longest win streak in this series since taking six straight from 1993-95.

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