It's Friday, and that means time for 'Friday Five' with Inside Football's extraordinarily knowedgeable editor, Pat Traina. See her blog, Train-A-Thought, for my answers to her questions.
Ed: Any residual effect on the Giants from the wild trip to Minnesota/Detroit? I'm not worrying about the whole 'one less day to prepare for Philly' thing. I'm just wondering about being out of routine, out of sorts, all that stuff. Did it really become a non-issue once the team got back on Tuesday?
Pat: Well having had my share of travel nightmares in my career, what people who don't travel a lot don't understand is the stress of not knowing or not being able to stick to your planned schedule does take its toll on your physically as well as mentally. Remember, these are athletes who sat around and did nothing Saturday, Sunday and into Monday. That's a long stretch to be idle. Usually they would at least run or lift weights, know what I mean?
So yes, they were likely more tired than they thought they would be. When they got back, Coughlin spoke about how exhausted he was and he changed the schedule to allow the guys a few extra hours of rest and recovery. Will it pay off? That remains to be seen.
Ed: Are you buying some of the Eagles claims that referees don't do enough to protect Michael Vick? Do you think maybe they are 'posturing' a bit to try and get a call this week in what is obviously a critical game?
Pat: Nope. If the Eagles are so concerned about Vick, then don't put him on the field. NEWSFLASH: Defenders are going after the quarterback. So here's a new idea: Quite your complaining, design your blocking schemes accordingly, and deal with it.
Ed: Each week we seem to focus on one player. This week let me ask you about Matt Dodge. He hit some terrific punts Monday night. Is he beginning to settle down, and settle in as a quality NFL punter?
Pat: He's come a long way for sure, but he also has a long way still to go. I think you can point to at least one clunker or adventure in pretty much every one of his punting performances, and you also have to remember that some of his kicks have started out crappy only to take a favorable roll.
Ed: Do you have a problem with DeSean Jackson's 'Nestea Plunge' into the end zone last week against Dallas? Barry Cofield's taser dance? Crazy celebrations in general? Does some of this stuff cross the line into taunting or, at least, being self-aggrandizing?
Pat: Personally I think all those celebrations are ridiculous, but I'm old school. With that said, these guys are having fun, and while you can make a case for poor sportsmanship (you know, if you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before?) these are the little things that make the game so unique.
Ed: Crystal ball time. After five straight losses to Philadelphia, do the Giants finally turn the tables this week and defeat the Eagles?
Pat: You know what? I do. I'm going to stick my neck out here, but I was having a chat today with a colleague and I said that I had a strong gut feeling that the Giants would win this weekend - and the last time I felt this strongly about a game's outcome was the Super Bowl season when I went on record saying that the Giants would upset the Patriots. My colleague agreed with me -- and this is someone who's pretty accurate when it comes to forecasting the outcome of these games. I think if the Giants take better care of the ball, they'll have much better results, and I look for the defense to really go after Vick hard.