The Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) and New York Giants (1-4) are set to play each other on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. In order to preview this critical Week 6 NFC East matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Big Blue View. The educated Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.
1 - With the Giants sitting at 1-4, how are you feeling about the early returns on the Dave Gettleman/Pat Shurmur era? To what extent do you have confidence the Giants are moving in the right direction?
I like the job that Gettleman and Shurmur are doing. Shurmur talks a lot about believing the Giants are on the right path, and I think he’s absolutely correct. The Giants have a much better locker room, a better culture than they did a year ago. I think they have a better team, as well, and we have seen signs of it. But, the Giants are hardly a complete team and whether or not that “right path” can lead to enough wins this year to keep them in contention I just don’t know. Given time, I think Gettleman and Shurmur can get this right. I just don’t know if that will be this season.
2 - What’s your assessment of Eli Manning through the first five starts of 2018?
I think this. Manning has people who love him and think he can still play well, and people who hate him and think it’s been years since he was a good quarterback. I think he’s given both sides ammunition through five games. He has had two excellent games, 25-of-29 vs. Houston and Sunday vs. Carolina. He’s completing a career-best 71.7 percent of his passes, but he’s had times where he has become “Checkdown Eli” and probably not taken some shots down the field that were available. I think he can still play well. Can he do it every week? Can he do it when things break down around him? Those are good questions, and I think we’re still finding out.
3 - What is the Giants biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?
That’s an interesting question. Offensively, their play makers should be their biggest strength and they should almost always have an edge there. But, for all sorts of reasons they haven’t always taken advantage of that group. If the offensive line does its job I will always think the Giants have an advantage with Beckham, Barkley, Sterling Shepard and — if he plays — Evan Engram.
4 - What is the Giants biggest weakness? What concerns you the most about the Eagles?
Offensively, it’s their line. It’s been improving, but handling the Philly front is never easy. Defensively, the Giants have probably not handled the run as well as I thought they might.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Giants season?
Oh, geez. If I give you a pick that ruins all the suspense for my pick at BBV on Thursday. Besides, I quite honestly haven’t made up my mind yet if I actually have the courage to pick the Giants to win this game. I don’t think they have proven that they deserve that kind of faith just yet.
I will say this. I do believe the Giants are getting better. Maybe there was a little too much “win now” optimism for a team that went 3-13 last season. Maybe the Giants only win 6 games. Maybe things break their way and they manage to get to 8 or 9 wins. I do think, though, that if they stay reasonably healthy the Giants will be better at the end of the year than they were at the beginning.