But it's Week 12 in the NFL, about eight months after the trade that sent the Pro Bowl quarterback a little farther down the I-95 corridor. The shock value has been reduced. So don't expect the Redskins to have the advantage of the Giants defenders doing double-takes on the field when the two teams play today.
"I've been watching him for a while," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said of McNabb and his new threads. "The first time I saw him, it was weird. He looks natural in that uniform now because I've been watching him play for a while."
The key for the Giants is to make him look even less like the Donovan McNabb who resided in Philly and tore Big Blue's heart out with remarkable consistency. Such as the last four times he played against them, including one of the most gut-busting playoff losses in the team's recent history. He has thrown 25 touchdown passes to six interceptions against the Giants in the regular season and has run for another three scores.
But he hasn't shown that kind of production this season for the Redskins.
"I think it's a product of the offensive system that he was comfortable with in Philly," Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "When he was in Philly, the difference for me was he knew where everyone was going to be and he was the general of that offense.
"It's not like he's not the general of the offense, but he doesn't know where everyone is deployed and where everybody is. He has made some mistakes as far as that is concerned from what I can see on tape."
But the Giants know that at any time, the old Donovan can come back.
"They still run bootlegs with him. He's still dangerous with his legs," defensive end Justin Tuck said. "He's not running as much as he used to, but it's there."
Speaking of not running as much, the Giants usually face the Redskins and prepare for a grind-it-out rumble in the trenches. Not this time.
Washington was a run-first offense for the previous several years, mostly for lack of a decent marriage between quarterback and system. Now they have Clinton Portis on injured reserve and Ryan Torain has missed three straight games with a hamstring injury. The Redskins have been so torn up at running back this season, they don't have a single rusher with more than 400 yards on the ground. The Giants have two.
Tom Coughlin warned of this new team identity early in the week. "They are a big-play offensive team,'' he said, "and they have receivers that can cover the big field."
But Tuck said he's not banking on the Redskins abandoning the run.
"We've gone into too many games this year and it appears that a team is doing something, but once we step on the field, they're doing something completely different," Tuck said. "We're just going to be prepared for everything. [Coach Mike] Shanahan, McNabb, all those guys can do a good job of giving you a tremendous loop because they see how you set things earlier in the game and they completely change it . . . Their running game hasn't been as successful as you'd think, but we just gave up 200 yards. Our run defense isn't playing well either.
"This," Tuck added, "should be a good week for us to kind of get back on track."