The Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) and New York Giants (4-11) are set to play at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview this Week 17 matchup, I reached out to our associates over at over at Big Blue View. The enlightened Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) kindly took the time to respond to my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.
1 - There’s been talk of the Giants playing the spoiler role in this game but an Eagles loss only helps the Cowboys make the playoffs. Which one of those division rivals is the lesser of two evils for Giants fans?
Can I just skip this question? They are sort of 1a and 1b, to be honest. I think that tends to change based on which team is having more success, and the Eagles have had more recent success. So, I guess I’d say Dallas is the lesser of two evils. Besides, ask Giants fans and I think Eagles fans are at the absolute top of their most hated fan bases list.
2 - What’s the confidence level in Daniel Jones heading into Sunday? He’s coming off his best performance of the season but he’s also struggled in some bad weather games (Green Bay, Arizona). Looks like it’s going to be a rainy one at MetLife this weekend.
Jones is coming off a historically good game, his best as a pro. Five TDs, no picks, 352 yards passing. I’d say I have no real weather-related worries about Jones. The issue is ball security in the pocket, and that’s a concern regardless of weather. He’s going to get better and better as he gets that under control.
3 - Saquon Barkley was having a pretty pedestrian stretch (3.2 yards per carry) in his seven games prior gaining 422 total yards from scrimmage over the past two weeks. What’s all gone into the turnaround and do you expect him to keep it up?
Well, the biggest difference is that Barkley is FINALLY completely healthy after his Week 3 ankle sprain. He missed three games, then played in several where it was apparent he wasn’t at full strength. Now he is. He’s just got that explosion back that makes him special. Now, the Eagles aren’t the Dolphins or Redskins. Give him an opening or a one-on-one, though, and that could end badly for the Eagles.
4 - What are your expectations from a Giants pass defense that’s really struggled? Keep in mind the Eagles are basically playing with practice squad wide receivers.
Well, things aren’t going to suddenly change in Week 17. DeAndre Baker has been getting better, beginning to show why the Giants moved up to grab him in Round 1. Sam Beal and Corey Ballentine are talented, but trying to find their way. Ballentine is just learning to play the slot, and teams have picked on him. The Eagles will likely do the same. Safety Julian Love has been a revelation in recent weeks.
5 - Back in our Week 14 Q&A exchange, you said you didn’t think Pat Shurmur will be back in 2020 but you did allow that there was a “slim chance” it could happen. Are you feeling any different about that, especially if the Giants end the season on a three game winning streak?
I still feel pretty much the same. One of the things about the Giants is they are the only team in the league with dual ownership, and as far as we know at this point co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara have differing opinions on what should happen. Beating the Eagles would likely help Shurmur’s case to stay. The question is, can three wins at the end of the season erase what we saw in the first 29 games under Shurmur?
6 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction?
Probably the Eagles. Nothing would surprise me here, but I’ll say 30-27 Philly.