The Philadelphia Eagles 2015 regular season football schedule continues this week with a big game. It's yet another must-win affair. The Eagles are set to play the New York Giants on Monday, Oct. 19 at Lincoln Financial Field. In preparation for the game, I reached out to our friends over at Big Blue View. Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming contest.
Let's take a look at the answers.
1) The Giants are 3-2 after starting out 0-2, which is similar to how the team started last year. Then the Eagles beat the Giants and New York’s season went down the drain. What makes you think this year will be different? What’s the ceiling for this Giants team?
I wrote about this at Big Blue View on Wednesday. This team defends the run better, it has more good young players, better special teams, probably a better offensive line -- at least in the middle. This is also a team that is beginning to believe in itself. Last year, you knew the Cowboys and Eagles were better than the Giants (whether Giants fans wanted to admit it or not). This year? Some say the Giants are the most well-rounded team. What I will say is I think this year that gap doesn't exist. The ceiling for this team? It's not a great team, particularly on defense. I think this team can make the playoffs, but I don't see it as a team likely to make a deep playoff run.
2) What’s been critical to the Giants winning three games in a row?
Lots of things. They are +5 in takeaway/giveaway ratio and have turned the ball over just three times. The run defense has been huge, although it wasn't as good against San Francisco without Devon Kennard, George Selvie, Robert Ayers and Jon Beason. Special teams has been immense, especially the field position provided by the punting of Brad Wing. They have also been getting contributions from the entire roster.
3) Can you name one matchup that really favors the Giants and one that really favors the Eagles?
The matchup that favors the Eagles is undoubtedly the edge rushers (Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham) against the Giants offensive tackles (Ereck Flowers, Marshall Newhouse). The Giants do a lot in the passing game to protect those two guys, and that will have to be the case on Monday night.
The matchup that favors the Giants is a little trickier with the Giants' injury situation at wide receiver. I will point to two. I think the Giants have an advantage on the interior with DTs Johnathan Hankins, Jay Bromley and Cullen Jenkins vs. the middle of the Philly line. I also think the Giants corners on the outside -- Prince Amukamara* and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- are better than Philly's wide receivers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Jordan Matthews is a guy teams fear playing against.
*[Editorial note: Ed answered these questions before the news came out that Amukamara is unlikely to play.]
4) If you could take one player off the Eagles roster and put him in the Giants lineup who would it be? Why?
I love to ask this question, hate to answer it. Went around and around on this one -- it's complicated by the fact that the Giants are a 4-3 team and the Eagles play a 3-4 defense. Considering that in all honesty the weaker side of the ball for the Giants is the defense the choice here has to be a defensive player. I'm going to go with Brandon Graham. Now, I know Graham is not Philly's best defender and that a guy like Fletcher Cox is putting up better numbers. But I'm looking at the Giants' need for a guy who has the skills to pass rush from a 4-3 defensive end spot and Graham would be the guy. Convince me Cox could play 4-3 DE, that Zach Ertz is far superior to Larry Donnell or that Mychal Kendricks or DeMeco Ryans could play in a 4-3 and I would change my mind. But, admittedly without a ton of conviction, I'm taking Graham.
5) Let's hear a score prediction. Who wins this game and why?
Of course I'm going to pick the Giants because I'm a homer and that's what I'm supposed to do! Actually, I am going to pick the Giants but not -- at least I hope not -- because I'm a homer. Folks at BBV know that is something I try not to be. I'm going to pick the Giants because I think they are a team on the upswing that is really beginning to believe in itself. Also because I can't buy that one victory over an awful Saints team has solved all of the Eagles' problems.
In my mind, these two teams are much different -- and more evenly matched -- than they were a year ago. Giants 31, Eagles 24