Another Washington Redskins season means more guest prognosticators and this week is regular New York Football Giants contributor, my friend Brad Stratton.
WFY: Do you think the Giants will benefit from the lockout since they are established at quarterback?
Brad: The QBs missed out on OTAs and minicamps. There was precious little time for quarterbacks and their receivers to get in sync. To make matters worse, Manning lost his two best safety valves, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss. Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are both solid receivers, but Manning is going to need to get some production from Dominick Hixon, Victor Cruz, or Devin Thomas.
WFY: All things being equal, the better quarterback is a.) Phil Simms b.) Eli Manning?
Brad: Phil Simms didn’t play a full season until 1984. Although he had one of the best Super Bowls ever seen by a quarterback, he had 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions that year. He was benched twice, by Bill Parcells in 1983 and by He Who Must Not Be Named in 1991. He didn’t complete at least 60 percent of his passes in a single season until 1992. I loved Simms when he played, but it’s not a competition.
Eli Manning had thrown for over 4,000 yards in two straight seasons, and had 31 touchdown passes last season. Yes, he had 25 interceptions, but nine of those were catchable passes tipped by his receivers. And Drew Brees threw 22 picks in 2010,but no one seems to care about that. He’s led the Giants to 16 wins when trailing in the fourth quarter. Eli is also the only quarterback to lead a fourth-quarter game-winning touchdown drive when nothing less than a touchdown would suffice.
Eli gets bashed a lot for multiple reasons. First is his brother. If he were Eli Jones, people were be as critical. Second was the 2004 draft, with the Mannings announcing that he wouldn’t play with the Chargers. He was the No. 1 pick in a draft with Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Schaub. And he plays in the media capital of the world.
That’s not to say Eli doesn’t have his faults. He throws off his back foot too much. When he scrambles, he tends to dive and not slide, leading to two unforced fumbles in consecutive years vs. the Eagles.
WFY: Have all the injuries caused you to reduce your expectations for the season?
Brad: Previously, I saw the Giants as contenders for the division title. Now, I think there’s more likely to be a contender for a wild card. I see them getting somewhere between 7-9 and 10-6.
WFY: Is there anything about this Redskins team that makes you think they can beat the Giants?
No reason. I’d give the edge to the Giants at QB, RB, WR, and OL. Washington fans have increased their expectations after a solid preseason. But the preseason doesn’t matter. The Giants went 6-0 in the 1974 preseason and went 2-12 in the regular season.
WFY: Did Plaxico Burress bring dishonor to the proud legacy of #17 set by Jeff Rutledge?
Brad: Actually, I find it more interesting that Plax is still #17 with the Jets. He chose that number when he joined the Giants in 2005 because he signed with New York on March 17.
WFY: Who is the greatest New York Football Giant of all time, your lifetime or both?
Brad: It’s got to be Lawrence Taylor. The man redesigned the linebacker position. Teams adjusted their game plans with the sole purpose of containing him. He was one of only two defensive players to ever be named NFL MVP.
WFY: Do you watch Giants games with the sound turned down and the radio turned up?
Brad: I tried while listening to Daryl Johnston, but there was too much of a delay.
WFY: Who are the standouts for Giant media coverage?
Brad: Mike Garofolo of the Newark Star Ledger is the best Giants beat writer. Bob Papa is the Giants play-by-play man on the radio, co-hosts “The Opening Drive” on Sirius NFL Radio, and also broadcasts at the Winter and Summer Olympics for NBC.
WFY: Oh the NJ-NY teams you follow that have won championships (Yankees, Giants, Devils), which is the most special?
Brad: The Giants. Maybe it’s because of the insanely high expectations every year for the Yankees, but the Norwood kick and the Burress touchdown keep giving me chills.
WFY: Side note, the NJ-NY teams your follow, the Nets moving to Brooklyn is kind of weak, isn’t? Would you support the NBA returning to Jersey?
Brad: I support the Nets moving to Brooklyn, and I look forward to seeing a game at Barclays (granted, I still look forward to seeing a Devils’ game in Newark. The NBA isn’t going back to New Jersey.
WFY: What is your final score prediction for Sunday’s Redskins vs. Giants game? Anything else to add?
Brad: Ginats 27, REDSKINS 13
WFY: New York Football Giants 21, REDSKINS 17