The Houston Texans invade the major metropolitan area that is New York (er...New Jersey) to take on the 6-2 New York Giants. The Giants are coming off of their bye week well rested and ready to continue their unlikely season where they are suddenly in the wild card hunt in the NFC. Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) from Big Blue View was kind enough to sit down with us to answer some questions about the upcoming game.
The Giants might be the biggest surprise in the NFL this season. What are they doing differently that would explain the success they have had so far?
Well, there are a great many things. The biggest thing is that first-year head coach Brian Daboll and his coaching staff are doing a FANTASTIC job getting everything they can out of a roster that is not intimidating is a big part of it. Saquon Barkley being back to his rookie form is part of it. The Giants are keeping games close, playing solid fundamental football, and preying on late mistakes by opponents to win close games.
Daniel Jones is in the last year of his rookie deal. Has he earned the job beyond this season or do you think the Giants will look to upgrade in the offseason?
If that question had to be answered today, the answer would be yes. At least on a short-term deal, not on a mega-deal. That decision, though, doesn’t have to be answered today. If Jones continues to play as well as he has through the first eight games, he absolutely should stay. But, let’s see what happens.
The same question could also be asked of Saquon Barkley. Do you have faith that he will remain healthy and productive beyond this season or do you think the Giants will look to move on from him given how temporary the running back position tends to be?
No, I don’t have faith that he will remain healthy. Injuries are unpredictable, and it would be silly for me to say I know he is going to remain healthy. That said, Barkley has been phenomenal. When he is playing this way, he is incredible. There’s no way the Giants can move on from Barkley at this point, and GM Joe Schoen has indicated a willingness to talk contract with Barkley’s reps. What that deal looks like and whether they can reach one without using the franchise tag next season is anybody’s guess.
Who are some players on offense and defense that we may not be familiar with, but probably should get to know coming into Sunday’s game?
Offensively, Darius Slayton leads the team in receiving yards despite not catching a pass until Week 4. Watch out for second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson, a wide receiver who missed much of the first half of the season with an MCL sprain.
Defensively, rookie Dane Belton will play a big role with Xavier McKinney out following his ATV accident. You should know who Dexter Lawrence is, but you might not know he is playing the best football of his career and has been dominant at times.
DraftKings has the Giants (-7) favored to win on Sunday. How do you see the game going and are then any other bets you feel comfortable recommending in advance of Sunday’s matchup?
The Giants’ formula has been the same for eight weeks. Keep the game close, don’t let it turn into a high-scoring shootout, make it about who plays best with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, take advantage of opponents’ mistakes to win. The Texans are 1-6-1 and the Giants 6-2, but I’m not sitting here guaranteeing that the Giants will win. I think they should, but if it plays out like the first eight Giants games it will be decided in the closing minutes and the winner will be the team that capitalizes on the other side’s mistakes.
We want to thank Ed for joining us this week in advance of tomorrow’s game. You can catch his work at Big Blue View in addition to some other terrific Giants coverage. We wish Ed and the Giants the best of luck this season as they look to return to the playoffs for the first time since Eli Manning retired.