The Texans are on the road to the Empire State this week to play the Giants for the first time since 2010. To get a better read on this rare-ish opponent, I asked Big Blue View’s Ed Valentine five questions about his favorite team.
1. A lot of criticism has been lobbed at Eli Manning the past few seasons. How has he looked so far in 2014?
The criticism was deserved in 2013, when he threw 27 interceptions. A lot of what happened was because of the decay around him, but he made way too many awful decisions.
This season has been different. There have been so many questions about whether or not Manning can run the new West Coast-style offense the Giants are using. He spent 10 years in Kevin Gilbride's vertical, play-action system. Manning has four INTs in two weeks, and his numbers don't look great, but my eyes tell me that for the most part he has played very well.
The problem with the Giants' offense has been everything around him. The wide receivers have been unproductive with way too many drops. Rashad Jennings fumbled a ball on Sunday without even being touched. The offensive line is still a developing group. As such the pass protection was an issue in Week 1 and the run blocking has not been good in either game.
2. Perhaps the only Giants position group more publicly scrutinized than quarterback, Big Blue's offensive line has caught a lot of flak as well. Are you confident in their ability to at least slow down J.J. Watt and company this weekend?
Umm, didn't you hear? We're not allowing Watt across the border into New Jersey on Sunday. The Texans aren't allowed to bring him. You guys have two wins already. You don't need him.
Seriously, I think the Giants' offensive line could eventually be good. As for Sunday I think J.J. Watt could leave bruises all over Eli Manning.
3. Victor Cruz, who I consider to be among the deadliest receiving threats in the NFL, has miraculously still not hit 100 total yards on the season going into Week Three. Why is that?
I mentioned this above, but first and foremost a receiver has to catch the damn ball. Cruz dropped two passes Sunday that would have gone for big gains, and had a third pass he could have caught glance off his hands. After Week 1, Cruz said the Giants didn't throw to him enough. They threw to him 10 times in Week 2 and he failed miserably when the Giants needed him to make plays. Cruz needs to be quiet, maybe stop working the crowd, posing for pictures and signing autographs an hour before game time, concentrate and catch the freakin' ball when Manning puts it right in his hands.
4. What is the Giants' biggest weakness on defense, and how can it be exploited (if at all)?
Well, that's a good question. Considering the fact that Jon Beason and Devon Kennard are hurt and Jacquian Williams seems to live in a world only Jacquian Williams understands when it comes to what he's doing on the field, I'd say linebacker. Exploit the edges with the run and see if the Giants can contain, and you can probably have a field day throwing the ball to your running backs.
5. Put your name on it: The final score for this game will be Texans _____, Giants _____, and why.
I have to think the Giants win a game eventually, and that the Texans aren't suddenly some world-beating juggernaut (not that it would take one to beat the Giants right now). Giants 24, Texans 17.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Mr. Valentine for stopping by and answering all my burning questions. Ed asked me some questions about the Texans as well, and you can find that half of the Q&A here. And of course, for all things New York Giants, head on over to Big Blue View and join the conversation.
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