With the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants scheduled to face off in a big game on Sunday, I reached out to our enemies over at Big Blue View. The great Ed Valentine kindly took the time to answer my questions.
Let's take a look at the answers.
1) Antrel Rolle said that Eagles, who won the division in 2013 and are currently in first place, aren't the team to beat in the NFC East. Do you agree? If so, who is the team to beat in the NFC East?
Rolle says a lot of stuff. He's great copy and all that, but sometimes I wish he'd shut up. The Eagles are the defending champs, and they are 4-1 right now. That makes them the team to beat. Are they the best team? Darned if I know. I'm trying to be as objective as I can here, but what I've said at BBV is that all three fan bases -- the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys -- have reason to feel good about their teams. I really, really like what I've seen from the Giants the past three weeks.
2) The Giants started off the season 0-2 but have rebounded nicely for themselves with three straight wins. The G-Men are averaging 35 points scored in their past three games and have only allowed an average of 17 points per game. What's been critical to their turnaround?
Where to begin? I think the biggest thing has been the takeaway/giveaway thing. The Giants were -6 after two weeks and had no takeaways. They now have 10 takeaways and are fourth in the league in points off those takeaways. Overall they are now +/-0 in that department.
The defense has been limiting the big plays, and when it does that it can be dominant. The offense has been humming mostly because the offensive line, an Achilles Heel last year, has been outstanding.
3) What is the biggest strength and weakness of this Giants team?
The biggest strength of this team is, I believe, something hard to really pin down. I think it's resiliency, this team's belief in itself. That has manifested itself in coming back from the 0-2 start and in coming back from a 20-10 deficit against Atlanta on Sunday.
The biggest weakness? The Giants gave up a bunch of big plays defensively the first couple of games, but that has stopped lately. I'd say the biggest weakness thus far has been breakdowns on special teams. The Giants gave up a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown, the return game hasn't been good and they have coughed up two fumbles on kickoff return.
4) If you could take one player off the Eagles roster and put him in the Giants lineup who would it be? Why?
LeSean McCoy. Rashad Jennings is hurt, but I'd say McCoy even if he was healthy. The Giants have run the ball well, but it's a move the chains kind of run game. Jennings, Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis are not home run threats. McCoy scares the crap out of you every time he touches the ball.
5) Let's hear a score prediction. Who wins this game and why?
I hate these. Everyone expects you to pick 'your' team. If you don't, your own readers go ballistic. If you do, opposition readers just call you a 'homer.' I guess this week I'm going to be a 'homer.' Like I said above I really, really like what I'm seeing from the Giants on both sides of the ball. Efficient offense, excellent defense. I really believe the Giants can win Sunday if they don't a) turn the ball over and b) get hurt by their own special teams. Giants 30, Eagles 27.
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