1. Tim Hightower
Mike Shannahan loves to establish the run, and Hightower has been the Redskins' most effective player this pre-season. He is by no means an elite player, but he has shown flashes of starter-caliber talent in the past, and on the current Redskins roster, that is enough to set oneself apart. Especially with Jonathan Goff out and rookie Greg Jones starting at middle linebacker, stopping Hightower will be key for the defense.
2. Barry Cofield
The Redskins made a splash by signing a talented defensive tackle to a major contract this offseason. Deja vu? Cofield will be expected to anchor the Redskins' defensive line, something Albert Haynesworth either could not or had no interest in doing. Cofield is known for his run-stopping prowess, and you can be sure the Giants are going to try and pound the rock against a Redskins team they gashed on the ground last season, so Washington needs a big game out of Cofield. There's no question that he will be amped to face his former team.
3. Reed Doughty
With Laron Landry almost certain to miss Sunday's contest due to a slow-healing hamstring, Doughty is likely to get the start. The 28 year old from the small school of Northern Colorado University is actually a very solid backup and a tackling machine, having recorded over 90 total tackles each of the past two seasons. Still, he is the backup when Landry is healthy for a reason; he's just not as athletic and doesn't have Landry's playmaking ability. How well Doughty replicates Landry's performances will have a huge impact on the Redskins' attempts to stop both the Giants' ground and air attack.