Commentary: RGIII Now Faces NFC East
Charles E.Sutton | 10/22/2012, 2:19 p.m.
For Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, playing in the NFL is about to become lot more challenging.
Over the first six weeks, he faced teams like Minnesota, St. Louis, and Cincinnati who are just occasional opponents. Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and New Orleans are mostly concerned about beating each other in the NFC South. Those games are just business, there's nothing personal about them.
However, that changes starting Sunday at the New York Giants. Washington will play six of their next ten games against NFC East teams. Playing against bitter rivals in hostile environments almost every week will make Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and St. Louis seem like safe houses.
Griffin will face much louder, raucous crowds in all three cities. New York is intimidating, with insults flowing as consistently as beer flows at stadium concession stands. I wouldn't advise that Griffin try the "Landover Leap" at MetLife Stadium or he'll find himself in a sea of humanity that has nothing but bad intentions. Eagles' fans are just plain mean, probably second only to Raiders fans. Clinton Portis' mom once attended a Redskins-Eagles game in Philly and wound up in a brawl in the stands. And then there's Dallas with its state-of-the-art luxury stadium, and all of those rich people attending the game just for status. The Cowboys are still the team's biggest rival.
You know the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys fans can't wait to get on Griffin's last nerve. They are fully aware that the rookie quarterback makes the Redskins a scary team, so nothing is more important than getting under his skin.
Of course, Griffin will say it's just another game. But I can assure you that once he begins to hear those insults regarding his ancestry, he will take it personally and it will be "on". The greatest Redskin players made their mark in division and playoff games. Running for a 76-yard touchdown against the Vikings is one thing, but doing it at MetLife Stadium against the Giants will be so much sweeter. The Redskins haven't won a division championship since 1999, and October 16, 2011 was the last time they've seen first place. Thus, this is a real opportunity to prove that behind Griffin, the Redskins are for real. Griffin's about to experience what the NFC East is all about. I'm betting that he'll do just fine.