With our New York Giants traveling to the Big Easy to face the 4-0 New Orleans Saints (yippee, a real NFL team for a change!!) I checked in with 'Saintsational' over at Canal Street Chronicles. Here is the result of our chat.
Canal Street Chronicles: My first question has got to be about Eli. I know he say's he's fine but Plantar Fasciitis is a very painful and very lingering injury. Are you worried about it effecting his play on Sunday?
BigBlueView: No, not really ... he was absolutely fine on Sunday, and threw the ball beautifully. Of course, he barely played into the second quarter as it was already 28-0, so maybe that wasn't a good test. I am curious to see what happens if he has to move around some or gets popped a couple of times, but I'm not worried about his ability to make the throws.
Canal Street Chronicles: Today on Big Blue View you mentioned Brandon Jacobs' inability to break out in 2009. What should Saints fans expect from the Giants running game?
BigBlueView: A heavy dose of it, I think. The Giants can score (they are 2nd in the league in points), but my guess is they want to avoid a shootout if they can. So, they will try to run the ball. Jacobs is healthy, I just think that when he is in the game teams have been crowding the line of scrimmage more giving him fewer places to run. When he hesitates at the line or has to change direction before he's into the secondary he isn't as effective. Ahmad Bradshaw has been tremendous. He's a big-time playmaker and a breakaway threat every time he touches the ball.
Canal Street Chronicles: "What do you think the Giants defense needs to do to stop the Saints offense?
BigBlueView Is the Saints offense stoppable? Seriously, it's all about the pressure. Can the Giants vaunted defensive line get to Drew Brees, or will they have to bring extra people. The Giants are eaily No. 1 in the league in pass defense at 104.8 yards per game, but in some respects that is just as much about the caliber of teams they have played as it is anything else. I am very curious to see how Terrell Thomas at corner, and C.C. Brown and Aaron Rouse (replacing the injured Kenny Phillips) hold up at safety against this passing attack.
BigBlueView: Let me turn this around on you a bit. How well do you think the Saints defense matches up with the Giants offense? And what worries you more, Eli Manning or the Giants running game?
Canal Street Chronicles: I have a lot of confidence in the Saints defense now and nothing would surprise me anymore. They have proven they are good enough to win games for the Saints when the offense can't get it done. They have been pretty good at shutting down the run but the threat of a two-back attack worries me a bit. That could play a factor as the game wears on. But I'm a bit suspicious of Eli's injury and if the Giants success depends on him, I'm confident the Saints can bring some pressure and take advantage.
BigBlueView: Tell me a little more about that unit, since I'm really not as familiar with the personnel as I should be.
Canal Street Chronicles: After a couple of disappointing seasons, veterans Charles Grant and Will Smith have finally been earning their exorbitant paychecks. Grant leads the team with 4.0 sacks. On the inside is Sedrick Ellis, last years first round draft pick, and Remi Ayodele has been filling in for the injured Kendrick Clancy. Also in the mix is Anthony Hargrove who plays both DE and DT. He has a big motor and has been a pleasant surprise for fans this year.
Canal Street Chronicles: I'm assuming you have no regrets about the Shockey trade? Are you worried he might be out for blood this weekend?
BigBlueView: Oh, he will be fired up. We know that. Shockey was a great player for the Giants for a long time, though not as great and not as important as he thought he was. That was always the crux of it. He wanted the offense to be about him, and under Tom Coughlin the offense will never be about the tight end. No regrets because the Giants are doing just fine, thank you.
BigBlueView: I have to turn that around and ask you your impressions of Shockey. I know he had a rough first year. He leads the team in receptions this year, I believe. How well is he playing, and behaving?
Canal Street Chronicles: He's behaving fine. None of that baby stuff. The Saints have a great locker room with only quality players. As far as on the football field, he's a go-to guy. Brees trusts him and knows he can make those tough catches. Shockey caught two touchdowns in week one against the Giants but has been more quiet lately. In my opinion, he still needs to do a bit more to prove this trade was worth the draft picks the Saints gave up.
Canal Street Chronicles: Any memories of Sean Payton as offensive coordinator on the Giants and having playcalling duties taken away from him?
BigBlueView: Oh, sure. I have to admit I NEVER thought Payton would be a quality NFL head coach. He was pretty much a flop in New York in getting along with Jim Fassel, and I don't think he did that great of a job in Dallas with Bill Parcells, either. I had no clue what the Saints were thinking when they hired the guy. But, that's why I do this and people who run football teams run football teams. Except for Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, that is.
Canal Street Chronicles: What does it feel like, as a fan, to have your team win the Superbowl? Saints fans don't know the feeling and this year is as good as any to finally get that chance.
BigBlueView: Well, all I can say it is a feeling you want to experience again and again. Super Bowl 42 was the greatest Giants game I have ever seen, and I will always remember it. A fan should always, once in their lifetime, get to experience winning the big prize. Shoot, Red Sox fans have gotten to do it.
BigBlueView: Last question from me. Are you looking at this game as a sort of 'measuring stick' for the Saints? I know for the Giants this is without question the best team they have played, and the first 'real' game they have played in a month.
Canal Street Chronicles: Yes. Very much so. This game won't neccessarily determine the outcome of the season but it will give us a chance to see how good the Saints really are. Even if they lose, the way in which they lose will be telling. But a victory could give the team lots of confidence to take into the middle of the season.
Canal Street Chronicles: Prediction?
BigBlueView: Oh .... that is soooo tough. I have to keep the faith, so I will say Giants, 31-30. I will say this, though, a loss here won't surprise -- or devastate me -- provided that the Giants show they are a top-flight team. Which I think they will.
BigBlueView: Prediction from you?
Canal Street Chronicles: I think it's going to be a great game and very close. Giants are a talented team but the Saints are at home and the Dome will be loud. Saints 27-24.