We’re into the postseason, and as long as the Minnesota Vikings are in the playoffs we’re going to take the time to talk with their opponents each week to get some intel on who the purple will be facing off against on the road to the Super Bowl.
This week, we are once again discussing things with Ed Valentine from Big Blue View, SB Nation’s home for everything relating to the New York Giants. Since these two teams just played a few weeks ago, I tried to ask some slightly different questions of Ed this time around. When BBV puts up the answers to the questions that they sent me, I will make sure they’re here on our front page. In the meantime, here are the questions that I sent Ed and his answers.
1) As we know, these two teams met at U.S. Bank Stadium just a few weeks ago. Do you think that gives either team an advantage in this one and, if so, which team do you think has that advantage?
I don’t necessarily think it gives either team an advantage. I think it showed that these two teams are more evenly-matched than you might think when you look at a 13-4 team vs. a 9-7-1 team. I don’t think the close final score of that Christmas Eve game was a fluke at all.
2) The first time these two teams played, Saquon Barkley had a decent game, but the Giants really moved the ball well through the air. Do you think Brian Daboll will go into this one with a similar game plan?
Big Blue View’s Tony DelGenio took a look last week at how the Giants’ offense has evolved in recent weeks, and there has been an undeniable shift for the Giants toward passing more on early downs. It didn’t shock me that the Giants went pass-first against Minnesota the first time. Head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are excellent at assessing an opponent and being flexible enough to adapt their scheme/plan to attack a perceived weakness. Barkley had 22 touches in that first game (14 rushes, eight receptions). I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is 25-30 touches this time, but I still think the Giants will look for opportunities to exploit the Minnesota secondary.
3) With nothing to play for in their regular season finale, the Giants chose to rest most of their key players, essentially giving themselves a bye week. Do you think that’s the way the Giants should have handled things?
Absolutely. Barkley had 352 touches this season, tying his career high. Key players on defense like Dexter Lawrence and Julian Love played — by far — career highs in snaps. The Giants have no chance to protect Daniel Jones if Andrew Thomas isn’t at left tackle in the playoffs. Jones has taken a lot of hits and has rushed for a career-high 708 yards. Tyrod Taylor and Davis Webb aren’t getting it done for the Giants in the postseason.
That finale, a 22-16 loss to the Eagles, turned out to be a lot of fun. It also showed that the Giants do perhaps have more depth than given credit for.
4) Finish the following sentence: “If the Giants beat the Vikings on Sunday, it will be because. . .”
They don’t allow Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson to run wild like they did in Week 16, and if they can avoid the critical penalties and turnovers that cost them points in that game. Oh, and it will be because they did not allow Greg Joseph to try a game-ending 60+yard field goal. The Giants have been beaten three times in the last decade on game-ending 60+-yard field goals.
5) These two teams combined for 51 points when they played three weeks ago. The folks at the DraftKings Sportsbook have the over/under for this one currently set at 48.5 points (as of Tuesday morning). Do you see this one coming in above or below that number?
I almost always recommend taking the ‘under’ in Giants’ games. I’m going to stick with that. I think it will be close — 24-21 or 24-23, something like that. But, I always go under because the Giants don’t want the game to be a track meet. They want it in the 20s.
Thanks to Ed for, once again, taking a moment to sit down and answer some questions for us. Hopefully this will not be the last Five Good Questions segment for this season.