Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent five questions about their team and the upcoming game. Being that it’s preseason and the games do not matter in the grand scheme of things, I focused my questions on getting to know the opponent a little better. The Pats play the New York Giants tonight at Gillette Stadium, so I asked Andrew Ilnicki, lead editor of FanSided’s “GMen HQ,” some questions about the state of the New York Giants. The Giants are playing in a tough division in the NFC East, but they have as good a shot as any to win the division.
Let’s get right to the questions…
Musket Fire: The Giants haven’t had much luck with injuries, especially at corner. Are there any trade rumors floating around or are they going to try and weather the storm until Prince Amukamara returns?
Andrew Ilnicki: No trades, just hopes that 3rd year nickel corner Aaron Ross finally steps it up in place of Terrell Thomas which is a huge loss any way you slice it. It looks like he’s much better on the outside than on the inside, and he was always a liability if offenses ran on that package. Contract year coming up, my bet is Aaron Ross plays better than he ever has. Antrel Rolle may play corner is certain situations as well, with Deon Grant having been resigned to safety. The Giants like the 3 safety package and used it with much success last year.
MF: What are the chances we see the Giants’ starters in the preseason finale?
AI: 50%. I think one series will do it, but I doubt the Giants are going to risk anymore injuries to their #1′s. That’s not to say they don’t need the work, reps, and momentum if they can put up a good showing.
MF: The Eagles seem to be the team to beat in the NFC East according to the national media. Are Giants fans believing the hype?
AI: Giants fans and the team itself wont let themselves believe the hype. They look stacked, no doubt. But I think the Giants are up to the challenge, defensively especially. Remember last year, the Giants were 8 minutes away from a very decisive victory over the birds and they basically stopped playing. 24 points later, the Giants are out of the playoffs and once again have that bitter taste in their mouth at the start of this season. They hopefully won’t forget it come week 3.
MF: Do Giants fans feel that Eli Manning is taking a step back or is his slow start to the preseason nothing to be worried about?
AI: It’s certainly debate-worthy. People point to a change in QB coach, but that’s probably not it. He just needs to throw it away and take sacks more than he does currently. In general I think he’s been trying to force things into his receivers and got off the “minimize mistake” track since 2008. In 2009 he had a great offensive season with marginal turnovers, but the defense took such a step back that they had nothing to show for it. Last year, again another explosive season offensively but implosively with bad luck with tipped balls, bad decisions, and just bad injuries to his best receivers. This year I think he checks it down more and gets back to minimizing the turnovers. Last weeks game just underscores the need for him to focus on that more than anything. I think he’ll have a better year in 2011.
MF: What’s your prediction for the Giants’ record this season?
AI:I think they go 10-6 and make the playoffs.