Opposition Research: Raanan On the Giants

Talking injuries, matchups and who will win the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

In this installment of Opposition Research, we spoke with NJ.com Giants beat writer Jordan Raanan to get a better feel for the Eagles’ opponent on Monday night.

​What are the Giants’ strengths and weaknesses?

“The Giants are really quite the dichotomy. There is no in between with this team this season. Their strengths and weaknesses are pretty clear cut. On offense, there strengths are star quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Their weakness is their running game. It’s nothing that will scare the opposition.

“On defense, the Giants can stuff the run. They’re second in the NFL in that category, but they’re 32nd against the pass. A large part of that is because they can’t rush the passer a lick. They just don’t have anyone that strikes fear into opposing quarterbacks.”

What are their key injuries?

“Where do we start? So many choices? Let’s start at wide receiver. Beckham has a hamstring injury and may or may not be able to play. Victor Cruz (calf) isn’t walking through that door anytime soon and Rueben Randle is also dealing with a hamstring injury and won’t be 100 percent. That leaves the Giants extremely short on healthy wide receivers and weapons. It’s hard to imagine even if Beckham plays he will be his usual self.

“On defense they have their problems as well. Two of their three best players this week are likely out. Cornerback Prince Amukamara isn’t playing and linebacker Devon Kennard appears to be a longshot. Defensive end Robert Ayers (hamstring) and middle linebacker Jon Beason (concussion) are also question marks. Damn I’m tired after answering that question.”

How is the defense different under Steve Spagnuolo?

“It’s a Spags defense. That means they’ll blitz plenty and fly around the field aggressively. The word they’re all using to describe how they play is ‘relentless.’ It’s a rather apt description. The Giants are allowing yards but tightening up in the red zone and forcing turnovers. What they can’t do even remotely as well as last year is rush the passer. Spagnuolo just doesn’t have the horses.”

What matchup do you think will decide the game?

“Odell Beckham vs. Byron Maxwell. If the Giants don’t get a big game from Beckham (or if he doesn’t play), I just can’t seen them having a chance. Beckham is their best player and playmaker by a wide margin, and if he plays, should have a field day against the Eagles cornerbacks.”

Who do you think will win and why?

“Everything tells me the Eagles will win by a wide margin. The Giants are badly beat up, the game means more to the Eagles, they’re playing at home, in primetime, on a Monday night and coming off a decent victory. The only reason I’ll even say this one stays close is because this Giants team has been gritty and surprisingly resilient early this season. But in the end, it won’t be enough. This is a tough spot for them.”