Another week of football, and another week of our Interview with the Enemy series. This week, our friend, Edward Valetine of Big Blue View, answers 5 quick questions about our week four matchup against Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
After struggling mightily at times (actually leading to an eventual one-week benching), how has Eli Manning looked thus far in 2018?
I’m going to say this about the “benching” in 2017. It was ridiculous. If it was going to happen the Giants should have played rookie Davis Webb -- who has been released by the new regime. Ending Manning’s consecutive start streak by playing Geno Smith, who never had a future with the Giants, was nothing less than a slap in the face to Manning from Ben McAdoo. No quarterback -- Drew Brees or anyone else -- could have succeeded with the mess the Giants had on offense a year ago.
Manning is coming off the best game he’s had in a very long time (25-of-29). That’s the second-best single-game completion percentage of his career. I believe that Sunday’s game showed that when he’s protected and when guys catch the football Manning remains a very capable NFL quarterback.
The Giants worked to improve their offensive line during the 2017 offseason, but early reports are that the line has failed to impress through the season’s first three weeks - is this a long-term concern, or just an issue of players that have yet to get into a groove together?
It’s been a concern for years. The Giants began the year with 4 new starters and Ereck Flowers moving from left to right tackle. Now, Flowers has been benched for Chad Wheeler and John Greco has replaced Jon Halapio at center due to injury. Manning has been sacked 14 times. The line is a concern, but Sunday against Houston was the best it’s played. so, the hope is that the arrow is pointing up.
How is the overall health of the Giants heading into Week 4? Any key injuries?
Tight end Evan Engram (MCL sprain) won’t play. That’s a huge loss. Linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) has yet to play this year. His status for Sunday is uncertain. Cornerback Eli Apple missed last Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Also uncertain.
Who is one Giants player that Saints fans might not be familiar with that you expect to make an impact in this game?
I’d say keep an eye on rookie third-round picks B.J. Hill (DL) and Lorenzo Carter (LB). Both are looking like solid additions to the Giants’ defense, and each had their first career sacks vs. the Texans in Week 3.
What’s your prediction for the game? Final score?
I haven’t wrapped my head around a win-lose prediction yet, to be honest. I do expect a lot of points to be scored.
A big thanks to Edward for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure you check out his work and the rest of the good folks at Big Blue View for tons of Giants content. You can follow Edward on Twitter @Valentine_Ed, Big Blue View @BigBlueView, and of course you can always follow me @dunnellz.