The Miami Dolphins head back to Hard Rock Stadium this weekend to face the New York Giants in a Week 5 contest. The Dolphins are coming into this game looking to right the ship after they got torn apart by the Buffalo Bills last week. They are still 3-1 on the season and can get right as they face the Giants on Sunday.
The Giants are struggling on the field and with injuries as Week 5 arrives. They are 1-3 on the season and they cannot seem to find any sort of rhythm. Things look like they are falling apart for the Giants, but is it really as bad as it seems?
To get a better look at the Giants, I turned to our friends at Big Blue View, SB Nation’s Giants team site. Ed Valentine was king enough to take some time to answer my Giants questions. We talked about the pre-season expectations surrounding a 2022 playoff team, the injuries that have been such an issue this year, and a couple of former Dolphins now playing with New York.
You can check out my side of the conversation as I answered questions about the Dolphins here:
The expectations for the Giants seemed high to start the season, but a 1-3 start to the year will quickly turn expectations into frustration. What has been the biggest frustration for the fans as a 2022 playoff team tries to climb back into contention for 2023?
Honestly, in retrospect, I think expectations were too high. The Giants had unexpected success in Year 1 of a long-term rebuild and it led many people to think they were “fixed.” They’re not. I’d say the biggest frustration, among many, is that an offense that was expected to take a step forward — second year for Daniel Jones in the system, additions of Darren Waller and Jalin Hyatt, return of Parris Campbell, hopefully better offensive line play — has not done that.
Injuries to Saquon Barkley and star left tackle Andrew Thomas have contributed, but it goes beyond that. The Giants scored 31 points in the second half against Arizona Week 2. In their other 3 games? They are averaging 5.0 points. The makeshift line looks unprepared. Daniel Jones is not playing well. Part of that is understandable because of the line play, but a lot of it is also on him. The regression from Jones is stunning. The play-calling has been suspect. The use of personnel has been questionable. It’s just been unbelievably bad all the way around.
Entering his sixth season - which cannot be right because it feels like has has been with the Giants for 20 years already - Saquon Barkley is coming off his second career Pro Bowl selection and is still a huge part of the Giants’ offense. With him out due to an ankle injury, the offense just does not appear to be functioning fully. What is it that Barkley brings to the offense that allows it to find a rhythm so much easier, and do you expect him back for this weekend’s game?
The main thing Barkley brings is the threat of the home run when he touches the ball. Teams have more respect for the play-action pass when it’s Barkley in the backfield rather than Matt Breida or Gary Brightwell. As I said above, though, the offensive issues go far beyond one player. Barkley was actually part of the problem when he was in there as he had two passes he should have caught get away from him for interceptions.
I have not been at practice this week, but judging from some of the clips I have seen and the way he is moving I think he plays. The timeline — three weeks since the injury — makes it possible. If past history is prologue, since this is his third major ankle injury, even if he plays I think it will be several more weeks before he is near 100%.
Defensively, the Giants look like an average NFL defense against both the run and the pass, but they are giving up a ton of points. What is working for the defense and, if you were designing Miami’s game plan for this week, how would you attack New York?
I don’t know that anything is really “working” for the defense. They showed some improvement against Seattle on Monday, but they haven’t generated enough pressure, haven’t tackled well and have not generated a turnover in four games.
If DC Wink Martindale is true to form, he will blitz a lot and leave his cornerbacks to fend for themselves. With the receivers Miami has, the Dolphins should take their shots. If he adjusts and plays more zone/umbrella-type coverages to protect against the big play that will require a different approach from Miami.
In the run game, I’d say probe the edges.
Two former Dolphins players are now playing for the Giants: safety Bobby McCain and running back Matt Breida. How do they fit into New York’s roster and what should we expect to see from them?
McCain is an afterthought, buried on the safety depth chart. He has played just three defensive snaps all season and, to be honest, I’m not sure he lasts the season as part of the roster. He is not a good special teams player, and that is the only role he has right now.
Breida is a nice player and is the primary backup to Barkley. He has started the last two games. He only has 21 carries for 61 yards as the Giants just haven’t given him the ball often enough in my view. He did have two pass receptions Monday night of more than 20 yards.
This has ballooned up to an 12.5-point spread in favor of the Dolphins, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. After Miami got smacked in the face and never had an answer against the Buffalo Bills last week, I think Dolphins fans are a little concerned now and 11 points in any NFL game feels huge. Do you think the Giants and Dolphins are that far apart right now, or do you expect this to be a tightly contested game?
Yeah, I think they are that far apart. Probably farther. The Giants lost 40-0 to Dallas, 30-12 to San Francisco and 24-3 to Seattle. That’s a combined 94-15 against three 2022 playoff teams. This is a road game for a confused, shell-shocked Giants team against an opponent that is better than they are. If I was a betting man I would take the Dolphins, even with that spread.