Welcome to the latest installment of Behind Enemy Lines: New York Giants Edition. WIN STREAK BABY!!!! This week’s edition of Behind enemy lines is coming off a 4 game win streak which came from a 4-0 November. What a completely different feeling this is to the Behind Enemy Lines I wrote earlier this season.

And there is cause for optimism here too, going into the game against the 4-7 Giants. We’re now playing a team who we have a better record than, who thought that would be the case in the midst of the Watson rumors and losing streak. Then we can consider that our defense is looking lean and mean again, after a couple of dominating performances last month, and this week they will be going up against backup QB Mike Glennon who has only 2 more CAREER wins than we have this season! With a career record of 7-28, a couple of key WRs also doubtful, and with the Dolphins defense looking mean right now, its hard not to be confident of holding them to a score that gives the offense chance to go out and win the game.

As you can probably tell, I am feeling good about this game! Jaylon Waddle is looking like a significant NFL talent, Tua is making the most of his clean, accurate style and starting to find his groove, even behind our shaky OLine and we even got our run game going last week with Myles Gaskin coming up big when it mattered with 2 TDs. If anything, managing complacency is likely going to be our biggest challenge this weekend. Coach Flores seems to be well on that train and has been name-dropping Giants players left, right, and center in his pressers, ensuring his players are aware of where the threat still lies.

With all this in mind, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Giants fan, Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) from Empire Sports Media to get his take on the Giants fan perspective on this week’s matchup, and it’s fair to say they also see this game as a winnable match up…

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Hello mate, thanks so much for being my case study fan for this week. I appreciate you and what you do in your content creation for your own fanbase, which made you the ideal person for me to reach out to this week. So greatful that you could give us your time. But for those who are less familiar with you, let us know a bit about you and how you became a fan of the New York Giants.

My name is Alexander Wilson, I’m a New York Giants content creator and owner of Empire Sports Media, a regional NY sports news company. I became a Giants fan when I was 5 years old, my neighbors were die-hard fans and I fell in love with the team during the golden ages.

OK cool, so a deep-rooted following which started right there in your early years. I’m somewhat jealous of that. Being from over here the sport didn’t have the reach it does now and I didn’t really get that kind of connection until just before my teens. Plus, when you’re playing out on long summers evenings, there wasn’t many kid NFL fans to throw a ball round with, so yeah a little jealous.

But to your team, on the face of it, you seem to be in a similar position to us.

Got a young QB who has flashed good, but waiting to fully realize his potential, got young players showing promise, yet also got underperforming key groups, been disrupted by injuries, and ultimately underwhelming production when compared to expectations.

Does that sound kinda accurate? What’s the mood like in the Giant’s fan base right now and how you feeling about the rest of this season and beyond?

Pretty much right yeah. The Giants are in a strange spot right now. We don’t exactly know what Daniel Jones is just yet and our offensive line is too bad to figure it out this season. Not dissimilar to the question surrounding Tua whilst he plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. We are more or less waiting for the draft so we can re-tool the OL and hopefully get a better idea of what DJ is next season. We then have the unpredictability that the new general manager could go in a variety of different directions.

Yeah that is an underrated factor going into the off-season. We can talk and speculate as much as we want about long term plans but the man who makes the plans is yet unknown to us so no-one can really know where you’re heading. Strange one.

And QBs man, boy have we both had our fair share of discussion around that position over the last few years! For you guys its up for discussion right now with Jones’ injury and the prospect of Mike Glennon getting the start. What’s the fanbase perspective on your QB situation overall, and more specifically this weekend?

The fans are not happy with the entire offense right now, let alone QB; nothing seems to be clicking, whether that be poor play, injuries, or a combination of the two. That’s the same this weekend; now we know Jones is out having been not cleared for contact, and with doubtful wide receivers too. As for Glennon, he’s a pure pocket passer, offers nothing but an arm and a long neck. This weekend, we now know Jones is out, which simplifies the offense due to Glennon’s limitations. Although it’s worth noting that Kadarius Toney had 190 all-purpose yards with Glennon at QB, but he’s likely out this week too saying that. I think it’s fair to expect a lot of Kenny Golladay on offense and running the football where we can.

See I don’t know where I am with that in terms of where that would leave you. Earlier in the season I would have said that our run defense was absolutely a cause for concern, but we held up Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers last week, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens not long before that. So I am hopefully we have turned a corner there and can slow a running attack. As for Glennon and his arm, I feel confident in our DBs, Xavien Howard is an obvious one but Jevon Holland is also not to be slept on. That said, we blitz A LOT and if you can rip open a pass over the top, as Cam did on one explosive play, we can be vulnerable.

But enough about what I think, what’s the Giant perspective of Miami football right now? Has our season surprised you? Did you expect better from us initially? Did you expect this turnaround when we sat 1-7? Or is all playing out as you imagined it would?

As already alluded to, we see a team with a questionable QB and a weak offensive line, similar to us! I expected a bit better from Miami if I am honest, but understood they had hurdles to overcome and a lot of young players taking veteran responsibility. I expected a better start and a mid-season collapse, but I guess the record could end up being the same with a mid-season comeback after such a poor start. We also know your defense blitzes a lot and Patrick Graham knows the tendencies, so should be an exciting matchup and one we feel like we could have the upper hand in predicting.

Yeah, I agree with the just like you part. I do think there are so many similarities to these two franchises right now. I also think you are right about the blitzes, but with a weak OLine yourselves and a more static QB in Glennon, if we can get through to him before he has time to wait for bigger routes to take advantage of, then I think we can limit what he is able to produce.

So if that’s where we are now, where do you see us moving forward? Is this going to be where we stand for the next few years or are we in for an upturn or downturn any time soon?

I see your QB situation becoming a problem and offensive line struggling in pass protection. I think your team is at a turning point, and relying on your defense can cause issues, which the Giants have experienced this year. Eventually, they won’t be able to hold out and if your offense can’t go out and win games themselves, then there’s only one outcome.

I can see why you’d hold those opinions, but from our point of view, surely that’s only a short-term worry? Just like you said for yourselves earlier in our chat, if we get to the off-season, we can build our OLine a bit better and then see what Tua is really about when he is given a stronger wall in front of him. Again, not dissimilar to the situation you find yourselves in.

But back to your roster for a bit, who is on your roster that we should be worried about? Obviously, there are some players as household names and are well known, but are there any players going under the radar who could cause us issues?

I would say Saquon Barkley obviously, as one of the household names you talk about. With DJ now out and with your run defense issues earlier in the year, it makes a lot of sense for Saquon to see a lot of action. But they’re also making more of an effort to get Kenny Golladay more involved now he seems to be recovered from his niggly injuries. Since Miami loves to blitz, I expect a short passing game and more screens, slants into space. If Sterling Shepard can play, he will likely be a focal point as a short route runner, but as is typical with our season, he is another player whose injury status is once again up in the air.

I understand that pain, meet Will Fuller! God we paid that man handsomely for his one-year deal and we have barely seen consecutive snaps from him. An absolute disappointment. I agree with you about Barkley, it does make so much sense. But from my perspective, hopefully it is also obvious and Miami have a plan for dealing with him.

What about play stye. Moving away from players slightly, what areas of play should we be looking to exploit if we are to extend our unbeaten run?

I think this is an obvious answer now for this weekend. Mike Glennon is starting, blitz him to death. Make him throw early and often, especially with short yardage wide receivers limited this week, at the end of the day, Glennon is a backup for a reason. If you rattle him and drop some linebackers into shallow pockets you may get some turnovers. Also, if you can, stop the run and stop it early, once you do that to the Giants they’re virtually useless on offense.

Yeah a key factor in our November win streak was establishing defensive dominance early. Forcing three and outs, punts and turnovers, I don’t see any reason why the plan should change. Then its just about stopping you guys in the process.

What about our roster now? What areas worry you or are you concerned about, on either side of the ball? Are there any players who you worry could cause you problems this weekend?

I’m worried about your tight ends, big fan of Gisecki, he deserves even more targets. If you can get him in favorable matchups, I fear he could hurt us. I also like Miles Gaskin – Giants have had issues stopping run this year so I would use the RBs well, Gaskin had two TDs last week and has his share of receiving scores too, he is one I have my eye on. Then of course, Jaylen Waddle is a stud, if you get him into space, our corners are awful at tackling and he has the hands and speed to make us pay.

FINALLY, someone showing Gaskin some love! Little soapbox time now, apologies mate. But our Oline STINKS!!! I see this used as a reason why Tua and Brissett struggled early in the year, often tweeted or written about. Yet I don’t see the same energy of that argument is not extended to our running backs, especially Gaskin. I hope he stays a Dolphin for a number of years and gets to work behind a better offensive line soon.

But now, man, I gotta ask. I ask every week. What is the New York Giant’s fanbase perspective on Tua Tagovailoa, both for this season and in the longer term?

The fan-base sees Tua as a work in progress – neither someone to be taken lightly, nor someone to be particularly scared of. Right now our defense is great at disguising coverages, and after we forced 3 INTs on Jalen Hurts this week, we’re going into this game feeling like we could have a similar effect on another Alabama product. Graham wants to confuse Tua and the defense likely sees this matchup as advantageous, so expect unique blitzes and a similar game-plan to that we saw against Philly.

See I quite like this. While I hope you are unsuccessful in your attempts, I like that people are now planning game plans on how to stop Tua, it shows he is starting to gain some respect. They’re not just going to come out and get in his face and hope they can beat a poor QB, in your own words there will be “unique blitzes” which means they’re putting plans in place specifically to nullify what Tua can do, which in turn means that they must respect the threat that he poses in the first place. So while the compliment is hidden, I do feel like this approach alone is a step forward in the league opinion of what Tua can do.

Finally then mate, what’s your match prediction? How do you see it playing out?

I see the Giants winning this game, even with Glennon at quarterback. We’ve played well against some good teams lately and our defense is on fire. However, we likely won’t have Kadarius Toney or Adoree Jackson, so it’s going to be tough in some areas. I think we win by a field goal. 24-21.

I feel confident man, from our perspective at least. When we look at the paper stats, we’re going against a 4 win team with a backup QB and his injury-hit offense. With the way our defense has looked recently, I feel like we will cause your guys problems and make your defense see a lot of the field. There is also the prospect of Devante Parker returning which could add some more reliable hands for Tua to aim at, and his completion percentage recently is very good, even against the heavy and clever rush packages of the Panthers front line. So I’m sticking with my confidence and I am saying Miami get the win, 28 – 13.

Seriously mate, thank you for being involved in this. Been so good to hook up and talk football with you, respect you man so its been great to chat. It’s going to be a great matchup this weekend, we both have legitimate cause for optimism and we both see our own teams coming out on top, while only one of us can be right, its hard to argue with either fanbase’s logic. Should be a fantastic game and one I hope you end up disappointed by ? Best of luck for the rest of the season, starting Monday!

 

So that’s that for this week. After speaking with Alex I can’t lie and have to concede he does make some good points. Their defense has looked sharp recently, and our Offensive Line cannot afford to regress any further. Glennon does only have one weapon, but with as many people as we throw up front, if he can somehow wind up his arm, he can get it into our lesser populated secondary. So there are absolutely some valid points made here which further enhances the argument that we can’t afford to slip into complacency.

That said, I am still high on what this team is producing right now, and going up against a number of backup players in a team that only has four wins anyway, I have to be confident. With a bye and rest week next week, it’s a crucial game to convert into a win if we want to continue to turn this season around.

5-7 going into this week, 6-7 going into the bye!

Fins Up!