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5 Q’s and 5 A’s with Big Blue View: Giants surging towards the playoffs, a huge culture change under Joe Judge and more

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It is a big game for both teams and four weeks ago no one would have bought that.

The Arizona Cardinals take on the New York Giants and we talked to Big Blue View’s Ed Valentine about the Giants and how they went from laughing stock, to team no one wants to see in a matter of weeks.

Enjoy and give Ed and BBV a follow.

The New York Giants are tied for the lead in the NFC East and a game back of the wild card in the NFC... Based on this season does that surprise you?

— Of course. The Giants started the season 0-5. They were 1-7 at the halfway point. No one in their right mind is going to say they knew at 1-7 that four weeks later the Giants would be leading the division. Obviously, the division isn’t good. The Cowboys and Eagles are both a hot mess. To their credit, though, both Washington and the Giants are on the upswing.

The Giants have talked about making weekly improvement all season, and have for the most part managed to do that. They EARNED that victory over Seattle on Sunday and I do think they are a good team at this point.

Joe Judge has this team winning with defense and special teams, what has been your impression of Judge as a coach in year one?

— Judge is terrific. I think he is going to be the Giants’ head coach for a long time. People went ballistic about him making players run laps during practice and that stuff, but Judge has been authentic, he has a plan, he knows what he wants and how he wants it, he communicates well with players and has earned their trust, and he has hired a terrific coaching staff. If you want more to read about Judge, I wrote this earlier in the week.

Speaking of the defense, who are some players that have really stood out?

— Defensive lineman Leonard Williams has a career-high 8.5 sacks. Free-agent acquisitions James Bradberry (cornerback), Blake Martinez (inside linebacker) and Logan Ryan (safety) have all been outstanding. Safety Jabrill Peppers has been playing really well. I could go on.

One of the keys for this defense is they are getting positive contributions from not only their big-name guys, but from unheralded players as well. Cornerback Isaac Yiadom and edge defender Jabaal Sheard are guys the Giants basically picked up off the scrap heap who are playing well. Rookie Day 3 draft picks Darnay Holmes (CB/Round 4), Cam Brown (edge/Round 6), Carter Coughlin (edge/Round 7) and Tae Crowder (inside linebacker/Mr. Irrelevant) have contributed. undrafted edge Niko Lalos has played two NFL games and has takeaways in both.

The star of this defense is defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who has done a phenomenal job putting all of the pieces together.

Offensively, things are not great, but wins are wins. I know Daniel Jones has been banged up, but what are the expectations of him for the rest of the year and how much time does he have left to prove he’s the guy?

— You can say “not great” offensively if you look only at the overall stats. That’s not the whole picture, though. The Giants have improved immensely as an offense. they are no juggernaut, but they have found a way to run the ball effectively, the offensive line has been excellent in recent weeks and the Giants have turned the ball over just twice in their last four games after committing 15 turnovers in the first eight games.

As for Jones, he was in the middle of a really solid three-game stretch when he was hurt. Whether he returns this Sunday or not, I think the hope has to be that he picks up where he left off — playing decisive, mostly mistake-free football. As far as how much time he has to prove he’s the guy I think he has a while. The Giants aren’t going to be in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields and I think it’s pretty much a lock they go into next season with Jones at quarterback. The organization seems to love the guty. I think they feel like they are on the upswing and will spend more time trying to build around him.

Do the Giants finish their season 2-2 against the NFC West this weekend and extend their win streak to five?

— I am picking the Giants to win this game, based purely on the fact that the Giants have been surging while Arizona has lost four of five. Still, the Giants aren’t a perfect team and I know there is no way this run they are on continues forever. I won’t be surprised by the outcome of this game either way.