In preparation for the Cardinals/Giants contest this Sunday, I got together with The SB Nation Giants blog Big Blue View's Ed Valentine online to have a chat. He answered several of my questions, as I did for him. He already posted his conversation with me on Thursday.
Hit the jump to see what a Giants expert says about his team.
ROTB: Ok. for starters... how is the injury situation panning out?
BBV: Well, you are probably aware of all of the guys the Giants have on IR. I think it's nine now. The good news is that Osi Umenyiora practiced today and might be available for limited duty on Sunday. Of course, wide receiver Brandon Stokley got hurt at practice today.
ROTB: How are the fans taking to Eli this year?
BBV: Well, the fact that he has been incredible for the last six quarters certainly helps. NFC Offensive player of the week and 32-of-45 for 400+ yards with 6 TDs and no picks in his last six quarters. He's been oustanding, especially working with some new receivers.
ROTB: Is Coughlin really on the hot seat like it seems he is every other year?
BBV: As for Coughlin, him being on the 'hot seat' is a media creation. The Giants ownership loves the guy, and even if this season turns into one where they miss the playoffs again I think they will look at the mess he has been handed and give him a pass. If he can get this team to the playoffs, which he might, he's Coach of the Year.
ROTB: What specific success should the Giants have against the Cardinals?
BBV: Well, there's a couple of areas I think the Giants could exploit. It's my understanding that Arizona has struggled on the offensive line and that pass protection is an issue. If that is the case that plays right into what the Giants like to do on defense .... rush the passer, and they will send pressure.
Offensively I think the Giants would really like to get a consistent ground game going. They have hit some plays, but not been consistent with it so far. Their yards per carry is way down from where they would like it.
ROTB: Since Antrel Rolle's signing, how has he been viewed in NY -- fans and media? I know he likes to make noise and made the Pro Bowl, although his stats say he might have been put ahead of some other perhaps more deserving candidates.
BBV: Do we have to talk about Rolle? The guy is a good player, although I am in agreement that he did not play at a Pro Bowl level last season. He has actually been very good so far in 2011. My issue with Rolle is his constant ability to say the wrong thing, or to say too much. Or to talk when everyone else around him, meaning his teammates, knows that it is time to shut the heck up. He did it again this week after taking a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the second straight week, then saying he would not apologize for taking the penalty because sometimes you had to do it. A day later, he backtracked. Which means Coughlin or Justin Tuck got in his ear and put him straight. Until the next time he says something stupid, anyway.
ROTB: If you could take any Cardinals player from their roster and put him on the Giants, who would that be?
BBV: I think the obvious answer is Larry Fitzgerald. There really is no one else close to him as a difference-maker on your roster. I salivate at the thought of putting him on one side, Hakeem Nicks on the other with Mario Manningham as the third guy. Eli Manning would put up incredible numbers with that trio.
BBV: I think the Giants pick up where they left off last week and win this one. I'll say 20-13 Giants.
ROTB:I say 27-23 Cards. Beanie will play and give the offense the needed threat of balance. Arizona always plays much better at home and is up for big games. They will hold up the Giant offense just enough to keep them kicking field goals.
I'd like to thank Ed for taking the time to meet up online and answer a few questions. It is one of my favorite things to do week to week. Make sure you check out the Giants site.