The Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) and New York Giants (3-7) are set to play on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. In order to preview this Week 12 matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Big Blue View. The expert Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.
1 - What’s changed on the Giants’ end since the last time these two teams played in Week 6?
First and foremost, I think there has been tremendous improvement on the offensive line. Spencer Pulley has started the last four games at center. Jamon Brown has started the last two games at right guard and it’s no confidence that the last two games have been the line’s best. The Giants were fortunate to land both players, who were 16-game starters a year ago, via waiver claims.
That has given Eli Manning more time, helped the run game and helped open up the Giants’ playbook.
Another difference is that Corey Coleman (kickoff return) and Quadree Henderson (punt return) have stabilized a previous weakness.
The Giants also traded away DT Snacks Harrison and CB Eli Apple, so the personnel on defense looks a little different.
2 - What’s your assessment of Eli Manning through the first 10 starts of 2018? Has he played well enough for the Giants to bring him back in 2019?
Eli is pretty much what I always thought he would be. He’s a veteran QB with a winning pedigree who knows what he’s doing. His physical skills have likely declined a bit and his mobility is an issue, but with adequate blocking and a good running game he can still get the job done.
As far as 2019, I’ve put it this way. I think the final 8 games of the season will tell us that story. Manning has a contract for 2019 and even if they draft a young QB it follows that they will likely want a mentor/placeholder. If he plays well and the offense shows improvement — which is exactly what has happened the last two weeks — the Giants could justify opening the season with him in 2019.
3 - What is the Giants’ biggest strength? Where do they have the biggest edge in this game?
Well, the biggest strength the Giants have is in all those play makers they have on offense. Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard. That’s where they have an advantage, especially with the Eagles secondary being so depleted.
4 - What is the Giants’ biggest weakness? What concerns you the most about the Eagles?
Well, I’m concerned about a couple things. Even with the improved offensive line play, I’m always concerned about handling the Philly front. To be honest, I’m also concerned about the fact that they are the defending champs, they haven’t played well and they seem pretty embarrassed by what happened against the Saints. I just feel like sooner or later they are going to look like the defending champs. I hope it’s later.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what are your expectations for the rest of this Giants season?
I think the Giants have a chance to win. They are playing better and feeling better. I think, though, that until I see them win a game of this magnitude I can’t pick them to do so. There’s no way the Giants run the table and win out, but I do think they will continue to show improvement. They are 2-0 in the second half of the year so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up splitting the rest of their games, which would make them 5-3 over the second half. That’s a huge step forward from 1-7.