The Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) and New York Giants (2-10) are set to play at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football. In order to preview this Week 14 matchup, I reached out to our associates 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. Also, don’t forget to check out my side of the Q&A exchange over at BBV.
1 - What’s your confidence level with Eli Manning returning to the starting lineup this week? What becomes of Manning after this season? Does he really belong in the Hall of Fame?
Ah, three questions in one. Sneaky, but well done! Manning is Manning and you know what you’re going to get. I have confidence that he will play well. Maybe really well. He will never say it, but he has a lot of pride and being scape-goated the way he was this year has to hurt. After this year? I think Manning would love to play, but where? Maybe if he gets a 3-4 game audition and shows he still has gas in the tank a team like the Bears might be interested, but he will have very few options. I think he retires. The Hall of Fame? I would say yes, but that case was a heckuva lot easier to make in 2012 than it is now. I have always said Manning has been a victim of organizational failure, not the cause of the failure and I think the 10 games since he has been benched show that. Still, his numbers and his won-loss record are what they are. I think the Manning/Hall of Fame argument is one I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall for when the time comes for HOF voters to discuss it.
2 - How would you evaluate Daniel Jones’ performance? To what extent do you think the turnover issues are fixable?
Jones is, in my view, a very talented rookie. He makes some brilliant throws and has better arm talent than many evaluators gave him credit for coming out of Duke. He is, however, still learning to read defenses, learning to manage the pocket and learning what he can and cannot do at the NFL level. The fumbles (he’s had 15 this season) are a big issue, and yes I think they are largely fixable. Listen, all quarterbacks will fumble once in a while when the pocket collapses. They have huge defenders flying at them full speed and swiping at the ball or trying to crush them. Fumbles will happen. Many of Jones’ fumbles have been avoidable simply because of holding the ball too long or being hesitant in the pocket. Mark Schofield believes Jones is showing progress in this area. Better pocket awareness and fundamentals, fewer fumbles.
3 - Pat Shurmur’s not going to be back in 2020, right? Who might replace him?
I personally don’t think he will be back. I think there is still a slim chance he might. These are the Giants, after all, and they hate upheaval. I did a piece on potential replacements earlier in the week. For me, Matt Rhule of Baylor tops the list. If Dave Gettleman stays on, and keeps the authority level he currently has, you have to think Ron Rivera will get a long look. Rivera and Gettleman did have success together in Carolina.
4 - What’s the confidence level that Dave Gettleman can right the ship?
That depends on who you ask. The Giants are 2-10, but my belief is the roster is better than that. I believe that, while it’s far from a finished product, that this should be roughly a five-win team at this point. That’s on the coaching staff. I think Gettleman knows talent. His trades and free agent moves have left a lot to be desired. Personally, I would give him more time.
5 - Who wins this game and why? Score prediction? And what do you want to see the Giants do in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Eagles win, unless Manning has a crazy “feel good” game. I’ll say 37-30. I’m rooting for that. I have always supported Manning and thought he got more blame than he deserved for the mess the Giants have been in recent years. The draft? If Chase Young is on the board the Giants have to, have to, have to take the guy. They need difference-makers on defense, and he is the biggest difference-maker in the draft on that side of the ball. After that, go talk to Ben Solak and our guy, Chris Pflum.
Bonus: Does it mean anything to Giants fans that New York might lose their lead for the first time ever in the all-time series between these two teams with an Eagles win on Monday night? It’s currently tied up at 86-86-2 for the first time since 0-0 with the Eagles going 18-4 in the last 22 meetings.
Maybe in better times it would. Right now, I think Giants fans care about bigger things. Like the organization finally figuring out how to get the right people in place to make decisions that get this team back to winning.