Ah, the Giants. The Eagles have dominated them in recent years, despite their pair of recent Super Bowl victories and their star wide receiver who is better than every wideout on the Eagles combined.
To get a better take on what the New York folk have done this year, we talked to Big Blue View’s Edward Valentine about the G-Men:
1. We know Eli, for his flaws, is a very solid quarterback. We know Odell Beckham Jr., for his love affairs with kicking nets, is other-worldly talented. But who else on the Giants' offense is having a good year thus far, someone we might not know about?
Well, when you find that person you let me know. The Giants' offense has not exactly been humming along this season. It certainly isn't a running back or a tight end. If I wanted to give you a boring answer I'd say Justin Pugh. He has settled in at left guard and is having his best NFL season.
A more exciting answer is rookie second-round pick Sterling Shepard. He has 31 catches thru seven games and I'd say he's been under-utilized. The Giants need to get him the ball and let him do some damage.
2. The Eagles' key to success so far this season, as it is for most teams, is being able to disrupt the opposing quarterback. Have teams been able to get to Eli in the pass rush this season?
Well, no. But, it's a qualified no. Sure, the Giants have given up only 11 sacks, second-best in the league. But, that isn't because of great work by the offensive line. It's because the Giants are basically playing catch-and-release on offense with Eli getting rid of the ball almost as soon as he catches the shotgun snap. Everything is short, everything is based on get the ball out as fast as possible. That keeps Eli from getting hit, but it doesn't really use Beckham, Shepard and Victor Cruz to maximum impact.
3. The Giants have allowed at least 325 yards of offense in six of their seven games so far this season. What is it about the defense that's allowed opposing offenses to have success?
The defense has actually played well, and seems to be getting better. They have had struggles on third down, but the issue is really the offense. The Giants have the worst time of possession in the league, which means the defense is on the field more than any other defense in the league.
The secondary is outstanding. The run defense is outstanding. The pass rush hasn't been good enough yet, and we'll see if the Giants use more pressure to change that.
4. The Eagles were very, very close to tabbing Ben McAdoo as their next head coach this offseason. How's the rookie been doing in his first season at the helm?
Funny, because I was just writing a blurb about McAdoo and Doug Pederson. Both rookie coaches who got off to promising starts, but whose honeymoons seem to have ended. After two seasons as offensive coordinator, McAdoo is still calling the offensive plays. And he's under fire because the offense, even with all the weapons the Giants have, has been terrible.
They can't run the ball, and they have maybe 2-3 running plays in the entire offense. They're scoring more than a touchdown less than a season ago. They're predictable, having used "11" personnel 96 percent (that is not a misprint) of the time. He could become a very good head coach, but he needs to show some flexibility.
5. The NFC East doesn't seem to be a particularly easy division to parse out, ever, but particularly this season with the changing of the guard and a collection of four teams with winning records. Where do you see the Giants fitting in the current makeup of the division?
Well, to answer that question I have to tell you that Giants Nation is ticked off at the Eagles. You were supposed to beat the Cowboys last week, which would have left you both at 5-2 and the Giants just one game out in the NFC East. Instead, you screwed up and now the Cowboys are going to be very difficult to catch.
I think the Giants are right in the mix with the Eagles, Redskins and the host of other teams that will fight for a playoff spot. They have things to figure out, but they have a chance.
BONUS! Who wins, and what's the final score?
Hate this question. If I say Giants, I'm a homer. If I pick the Eagles, BBV readers will try to ban me from my own site. I'll say Giants, mostly because sooner or later the worm has to turn and the Giants have to start beating the Eagles.