Time for some enemy intelligence on the Cowboys and Giants game Sunday. After all the NFC East battles with the Giants, you guys know Ed over at Big Blue View by now. I asked him five questions about the big game, below are his responses.
Blogging The Boys: The Giants defense has had it's problems this year. Is it all injuries, or are there guys under-performing? Give us a breakdown of the defense going into the game.
Big Blue View: Injuries have really ravaged this unit. They seem to go through cornerbacks like water. Terrell Thomas, Bruce Johnson, Justin Tryon, Brian Witherspoon, Michael Coe on IR. Prince Amukamara missed the first half of the year with a broken foot. Linebacker Jonathan Goff on IR, along with Clint Sintim. Mark Herzlich in, then out of the lineup with an injury. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora in and out of the lineup with injuries, and Tuck not anywhere near 100 percent physically. Kenny Phillips likely won't play this week.
The end result is that the Giants have had to shuffle a lot of inexperienced players at linebacker, and it seems like they have a different group in their secondary every week. The end result has been some assignment/communications breakdowns that have led to big plays. Also, not as much pass rush as the Giants would like. That said, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is not above criticism here. Too much three-man rush that negates the pass rush, which is what the Giants are built to do. And too much soft zone that negates what his corners do best, which is press and cover.
Four more to go...
BTB: How much has the absence of Ahmad Bradshaw hurt the Giants? Did he look to be all the way back last week and what are the expectations for using him in this game?
BBV: Bradshaw is the one complete back they have, a guy who can run,catch and block. Plus he plays with an attitude, a physical "I don't think you can tackle me" attitude. They missed him a lot. I doubt he's 100 percent, but the Giants will ride him until he can't go any longer.
BTB: Will starting center David Baas play, and how has the offensive line performed this year?
BBV: Baas won't play it appears. I think there is something significant going on with him medically as he is experiencing severe neck pain and headaches. He has not played really well this year, but the reports are that he has been playing through a lot of these headache issues all season, and that might explain a lot.
BTB: What's the feeling from Giants fans about the game? It seems like a must-win for New York, is there a lot of confidence that the G-Men will get it done?
BBV: Confidence? In the Giants? After the up-and-down stuff we have seen this year? How can you have confidence in a team that lost to Seattle but beat New England and had a good chance to beat Green Bay? That said, even with all the injuries the Giants can play with anybody when they are on their game. Offensively they aren't unstoppable but they can score points in a hurry and the big plays come from a lot of different places. Can the defense give them a chance? That is the big question.
BTB: Even though New York lost last week, it's almost a moral victory to play Green Bay that close. What went right in that game, how did the Giants almost pull off the upset?
BBV: The Giants played with an energy and enthusiasm that had been missing at times earlier in the year, and they also had a couple of their veteran players like Michael Boley and Bradshaw back in the lineup. That helped immensely. The Giants were really one defensive play away from winning that game, and they had several opportunities to make that play. Plus, the Giants can score points. I said that before, but it's true. They can get up and down the field and they can score from anywhere with the receivers they have.
Thanks for the knowledge, Ed. Visit Big Blue View for more on the Giants.