It's time for Round 2.
The New York Giants will become the first team to face Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for the second time on Monday at FedEx Field. Will the rookie continue to fool defenses that have seen him before, or will the NFL begin learning how to stop the potential MVP candidate?
The bet is on Griffin.
Griffin also will get a second look at the Giants' defense, which has one of his four interceptions this season. New York sacked Griffin three times and forced him to lose a fumble, but he responded with two touchdowns and a late comeback. Of course, that was negated by the Giants' counterpunch with a 77-yard touchdown to win 27-23 on Oct. 21.
Both sides are eager for the rematch, which either will continue the recent surge for the Redskins (5-6) or essentially clinch the NFC East crown for the Giants (7-4).
"This time of the year you're desperately trying to play your best football," New York coach Tom Coughlin said, "and you got to do it consistently, and you've got to be able to finish, to get the games into the fourth quarter and finish."
Griffin nearly did that against New York. The only downside was he left 92 seconds for New York to counter. Maybe Griffin has learned better clock management since the loss by knowing he can score at the end.
Of course, better timing is also incumbent on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's playcalling. Griffin has jelled with Shanahan since the first minicamp. But the two are in far better sync after 11 games.
"I know based on where we're at on the field what play calls are bound to happen or what the down to distance is," Griffin said. "It's getting that way where I take the words out of his mouth, but I also try to listen carefully because sometimes if I get a call wrong, he gets really upset. I won't get into that one. It didn't happen at all this past game, so that was a good thing."
New York surely will seek to contain Griffin's option runs, which netted 89 yards on nine carries. Giants defensive end Justin Tuck admitted Griffin was in his "dreams and nightmares" after the quarterback froze New York's defenders.
"I guess you see other people do things against [Griffin], and you're like, 'Why did he do that?'?" Tuck said. "With a guy that athletic, he kind of puts you in a predicament that you kind of have to do some things against him that you may not have had to do against other people. Yeah, I think he was a little bit tougher than we expected."
So the second meeting is a mind game that seemingly gives Coughlin a headache.
"The experience factor is there. I don't know if that's any solace for us," he said. "I would discount the idea that there's anything easy about preparing."