Photo of Eli Manning by AP/Bill Kostroun

The Giants may have won 11 games in a row away from the Meadowlands last season, but imagine how good they would have been had they taken care of business at home? They went 3-5 at Giants Stadium and, for a while, their lackluster play in front of the loyal fans appeared as if it would cost the team its chance at the postseason.

One of the five teams to beat the Giants at home were the Washington Redskins, another playoff team out of the loaded NFC East. They have a new coach (Jim Zorn) and a new offense to go with it. Given Clinton Portis' workload, the former Miami star is no sure bet to repeat last year's productive season. The Giants, thanks to injuries (Osi Umenyiora) and the resulting relocations of players (Mathias Kiwanuka), could be a work in progress on defense. But they are talented enough to shut down the league's best playmakers if the unit plays like it did in the postseason.

On offense, which Eli Manning will show up? The one that made plays in the playoffs, or the one that had a mediocre 73.9 quarterback rating during the regular season? He has the playmakers (Plaxico Burress and Brandon Jacobs) to help out. Should the Giants of four games in January in February be trusted more than the team that appeared half-asleep during the regular season? How close the Giants come to replicating their playoff performance will determine the team's fate in the regular season. For a team In a division with Dallas and Philadelphia to go along with Washington, a game against the Redskins at home is a critical one.