No matter what happens with Eli Manning in New York, many football fans will give the star quarterback a pass. Why? In the last few seasons, he graduated from Peyton’s younger brother to the man that brought two Super Bowl championships to the Big Apple. The first one was especially sweet because Manning’s Giants took down the then-undefeated New England Patriots.
Even though Manning is regarded as an elite quarterback, it doesn’t stop fans from asking one big question. What the heck is wrong with him this season, and by extension why are the Giants struggling?
Keep in mind one thing when this is debated. It is not the end of the world. The Giants are 6-4 overall, and it is still worth a trip to New Jersey to see one of the remaining home games. With six teams in the NFC sporting records equal to or better than the Giants, people worry that even with a division championship a lower playoff seed might come, and with it a game against someone like the Chicago Bears or Atlanta Falcons. We all know getting to games can be a hassle so the recommended route is to park your car at a Manhattan Monthly Parking lot and find a party van or bus out to Met Life.
The Giants have a bye this week before they come back into the fire with a game against the Green Bay Packers. Three of the final six games, including the Green Bay contest, are at MetLife Stadium. New York is currently 4-1 at home, its lone loss coming to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even then, that loss was by four points, 24-20, and it was close.
New York closes the schedule with a trip to Washington to see the Redskins, followed by a home game against New Orleans, trips to Atlanta and Baltimore, and the regular-season finale at home against Philadelphia. Worried fans might have pause to concern here. The Giants barely beat Washington, 27-23, in the earlier meeting this year, and Philadelphia tripped up the Giants 19-17. On a side note, there is a strong chance Michael Vick will not be under center when the Eagles play New York again, either due to an injury (concussion) or ineffectiveness. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles might take over.
Still, the New Orleans-Atlanta-Baltimore trio may give nervous Giants fans undue stress. The resurgent Saints have found their footing following rocky early ground, Atlanta is the best team in the NFL, and Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the league. The games against Washington and Philadelphia are important. New York has faced the 4-5 Dallas Cowboys twice and split its meetings.
How the Giants ultimately fare depends on Manning. He has averaged 29 touchdowns a season in the last three years, but through 10 games he only has 12 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. His lowest touchdown output over a full season was 21, in 2008, and Manning looks like he’s on his way to matching that total or barely eclipsing it.
The Giants still look like the team to beat in the NFC East, but unless Manning can pick up the pace it might be a division title and an early playoff exit. That might disappoint legends of Giant fans that hoped for a better performance coming off a Super Bowl season.