Merry Christmas, everybody. And for all you good little Giants fans, here's something for the stocking -- another Q&A swap with my buddy Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View. Ed promised me that he wouldn't hit the Christmas Eve eggnog too hard before answering these, but the way this season has gone, could you really blame him if he did?
Anyway, don't forget to catch my answers at Big Blue View.
Here's Kris Kringle, I mean, Ed.
1. Okay, ask the question again. Do the Giants make the playoffs?
"Oh, that question is sooo hard to answer. I have been polling folks at Big Blue View about that weekly since the Denver game, I think. My gang is keeping the faith, as about 70% have said 'yes' to that question two weeks in a row. I am going to go with my community on this one and say 'yes.' Granted, the Redskins are a mess but the Giants showed better effort and cohesiveness against the Redskins than they have in a long time. Resilience and playing their best when no one believes in them is becoming a trademark of Tom Coughlin's Giants teams, and I think they are doing it again. I think they are going to win out. If they do, I have to believe Green Bay or Dallas will find a way to lose one game. I'm sure that is partially my heart talking and not my head, but that's what I'm going with."
2. Was the pass rush that produced five sacks against the Redskins real, or was it a one-game mirage?
"I hope so, but I am not convinced. Osi Umenyiora played as well as he has all year, and I need to see him do it again. What I really liked was Bill Sheridan using some of those 'overload' blitzes where two or more guys come through the same gap. Where has that been? And, the way things have often gone for Sheridan this year, will that continue to be a staple of the blitz package or will it disappear like C.C. Brown?"
3. The offense has put up 30 or more points in four of the last five games. Is it Eli, or is it Gilbride?
"It's both. As I wrote Wednesday at Big Blue View, Eli is unquestionably having the best season of his career. There is no doubt he is the Giants MVP. You also have to give Gilbride credit, and I know there are a lot of vocal fans who still can't stand the guy. But, c'mon! The Giants are averaging 27.6 points per game, Eli is en route to his first 4,000-yard passing season, and the Giant are becoming as explosive offensively as any team in the league not named New Orleans. His play-calling against Washington was extraordinary. Screens, draws, subtle changes in the blocking schemes and formations to help the running game. Every so often KG has a game where his play-calling is a real head-scratcher, but he is a pretty darn good offensive coordinator."
4. How shocking would it be if Carolina wins Sunday?
"It would stun me, I know that. I know what the Panthers just did to the Vikings, but I think that was their one moment in the sun the rest of the way vs. a team that really was probably due for a bad game. To me, it's all about the Giants defense. Can they come with the same intensity and effort they showed last week, and against Dallas? If they can I think they win. Even with their own Steve Smith, I don't think the Panthers hurt the Giants with the deep ball if the Giants continue to avoid coverage breakdowns and get some pressure."
OK, what do you guys think?