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Eli Manning, Shaun O'Hara Interview

Eli Manning tells former teammate that surgery has made him faster because “I can’t get any slower.”

Ex-Giant Shaun O’Hara took the stage to introduce former teammate Eli Manning.

The pair were promoting a recent “FinDD Eli” contest where a lucky fan would get to join Eli in an upcoming Dunkin Donuts commercial.

With Eli’s track record for commercials being arguably as great as his two-time Super Bowl MVP career, that’s quite a prize for DD to be giving away. (“Football Cops”, “Football On Your Phone”)

When O’Hara brought Eli up to the stage for a brief Q&A, Eli’s first question to him was, “How many munchkins did you eat today?” in which O’Hara, without hesitation, answered “27, does that sound familiar?”

A quick dig at Eli’s 27 interceptions in 2013.

Eli took it in stride and got his payback when asked about his ankle surgery. Asked if there were any truth to the rumors that the procedure would actually make Eli faster, he responded, “Yes, definitely, because I can’t get any slower.” He also explained that because he’s a traditional pocket passer, it’s more about elusiveness in the pocket and his ability to slide around tacklers like “after O’Hara would miss his blocking assignments.”

O’Hara 1, Eli 1

Manning made it clear he has no reservations about the ankle at all effecting him in the upcoming season. One he believes will see them back in the playoffs and hopefully winning another championship.

“Last year we got off to such a rough start, but the way the team finished and stuck with each other, we grew up as a team last year. We gotta remember that and bring it into this season to get back to the playoffs and win another championship.”

After just 12 practices at OTA’s, Manning says the team should come into training camp ready to go.

The New Giants Offensive System

“If anyone mastered a new offense in 12 practices, it would be a pretty simple offense.”

This year will be the first that Eli is playing without offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride (retired), who has been replaced with Ben McAdoo.

Ten years in one offensive system certainly allowed Eli to get more and more advanced throughout his career and become a leader for the offense. The biggest change for Manning is the verbiage of the new system. He noted that when making quick decisions, knowing what to yell out to his teammates is key. With Cruz, now the veteran of the receiving corps, it’s easy for the two to communicate with the language they’ve both become accustomed to. Look for this to increase Cruz’s targets in games where adjustments need to be made on the fly.

With so many new guys, they’re all learning this new system and studying together. Old and new players alike have been putting in the work during OTAs to get the team chemistry going and learning each other’s personalities and on-field communication routines.

Manning feels good about where the team is now and knows the preseason games this year will be highly beneficial in solidifying that chemistry.

Potential For The Giants Receivers

The Giants have a lot of new receivers, and offensive players across the board. Along with the new system, that gives potential to see some different faces rise (and fall) to the spotlight.

Manning spoke about his receiving corps:

Rueben Randle

Rueben Randle’s gotta step up and have a great year, and has the potential to do so in his third NFL season. According to Manning, it’s time for Randle to be consistent week in and week out.

Victor Cruz

Manning will continue to look to get to Victor Cruz quickly and let him make plays with the ball.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Rookie Odell Beckham Jr has got a lot of speed and talent. Beckham’s only been out there a few times (sore hamstring), but for a rookie he’s very polished with his route running and his sticks. Manning can see that he was obviously well coached at LSU and in high school.  His knack and feel for getting open, and seeing his bursts and his route running have Eli excited.

Jerrel Jernigan & Mario Manningham

With Jernigan showing some talent last season, and bringing back Super Bowl teammate Manningham after his brief stint with the 49’ers, Eli Manning says the offense has plenty of weapons.

The 2014 season should show the New York Football Giants, when fine-tuned, playing very fast. Manning will be getting the ball out quickly letting the receivers be athletic and make plays.

Going into their eleventh season together, Coach Coughlin still always talks about being a professional and taking care of your business. Everyone knows Coughlin stresses being prepared, and Eli is no different. Sticking to the Coughlin school of work hard, be passionate and dedicated, Eli has clearly left last season in the past and ready to take on 2014 with the clarity and focus that you hear promised in commercials for energy drinks.

Manning is focused on making the players around him the best that they can be, and says he’ll have the offensive team prepared to play every week.

Dunkin Donuts “FinDD Eli” Contest

FinDD Eli event in Ramsey,N.J., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

FinDD Eli winner with Shaun O’Hara and Eli Manning (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

In May, Dunkin’ Donuts launched the “FinDD Eli” on-the-cup promotion, where specially marked medium or large beverage offered guests the chance to “find” the New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning via an exciting on-the-cup peel and reveal game and online scavenger hunt.

Thirty-one winners were invited to meet Eli Manning on Thursday, June 19th at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ramsey, NJ, where the ultimate grand prize was announced – the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear alongside New York Giants Superstar QB Eli Manning in an upcoming Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

After enjoying a Q&A between Eli Manning and his former teammate Shaun O’Hara, the thirty-one attendees each received a sealed envelope. After counting down from the number ten in honor of Manning’s jersey number, the guests all ripped open their envelopes and the grand prize winner was revealed. David Driscoll of Springfield, NJ was the lucky recipient of the “FinDD Eli” cutout, and will be preparing for his television debut in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial with Eli Manning. All attendees received a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, tickets to 2014 New York Giants training camp, and a photograph with Eli Manning.

Eli Manning And I Are Actually Twins

In a non-football related discovery, this was my first time meeting Eli Manning in person.

Most people will say that Eli and Peyton look very similar, which they do. Eli even told a (questionably true) story where he was in a local Dunkin Donuts one morning and some guys in the store were debating with him (not realizing who he was) whether he looked more like Eli Manning or Michael Phelps.

I was as shocked as anyone to find out that Eli Manning and I are actually twins, created from a combination of the greatest men on earth as an experiment a la Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito . Like they say, you learn something new every day.

Eli Manning Twins

 

While there were a number of names banded about before the first round of the draft, the New York Giants appear to have been fairly certain about opting for Louisiana State wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as their opening pick. Head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese were clearly keen on adding some pace to their offence and bolstering Eli Manning’s options after a tough year for the quarterback.

With Hakeem Nicks spending much of the past two seasons sidelined with injury and Reuben Randle still struggling to find any real consistency, the Giants made it a priority to find a wide receiver to help take some of the pressure off Victor Cruz. After missing out on the playoffs for the past two seasons, the Giants have made no secret they are looking to give Manning everything he needs to start getting the best out of this offensive unit and give bet365 fans something to think about ahead of the new season.

At just 5 feet 11 inches and 198 pounds, Beckham isn’t the biggest wide receiver the Giants could have gone for in this draft, but the 21-year’s raw speed and ability to return kicks and punts made him an obvious choice for the Giants management.

“We tried to get the quarterback some weapons. The quarterback needs some help. This guy is a weapon. It was an easy pick for us,” said GM Reece.

Head coach Coughlin added, “We can count on him to help us score some points. We did some work on the offensive line in the free-agency period,” he said, referring to the four veteran offensive-line free agents the franchise have signed during this offseason.

Beckham’s caught the eye after making the first-team all-Southeastern Conference selection after breaking L.S.U.’s single-season all-purpose yardage record with 2,315 yards in 2013. While not the biggest wide receiver, Beckham’s talent as a crafty and shifty runner of pass routes made him highly sought-after in the draft.

While the Giants were also looking at strengthening a number of other areas in their roster, it appears the New York management were in agreement to use their first round pick on acquiring the services of a player who will have an immediate impact on the Giants team.

It’s not a surprise to see Beckham succeeding as an athlete. His father, Odell Sr., was a running back at L.S.U. from 1989 to 1992 and his mother, Heather Van Norman, was an all-American runner for the L.S.U. track team during her time at the university. Beckham also attended Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, following in the footsteps of Eli and Peyton Manning of graduating from that school.

And it will be Eli Manning who Beckham will now be hoping provides plenty of chances for him to show just why the Giants used their first pick to bring the wide-receiver to New York. The two-time Super Bowl champion may not have been at his best over the past two years but he hasn’t exactly had the strongest offensive unit to work with. A busy offseason for the Giants may now have given the quarterback what he needs to end New York’s absence from the playoffs. 

The 5-8 New York Giants were eliminated from playoff contention after suffering 37-14 beat down at the hands of the San Diego Chargers. Eli Manning remained winless (0-3) against the team that drafted him in 2004. Manning was relentlessly booed throughout the game as New York’s offense failed to convert several scoring opportunities into seven points. Manning will not have to deal with the boo birds this weekend as his Giants host the 11-2 Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle Seahawks, who are currently the NFC’s top overall seed, are coming off a hard fought 19-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.  The Giants have a tendency to ‘play-up’ to their opponents and Sunday afternoon should not be any different. “We’ll be motivated because of the nature of the team that’s coming in here,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said on a conference call Monday. “We’ll be excited to play against the Seahawks. We try to be excited and motivated for every team. We didn’t play well yesterday, but that’s not going to change the way we play each game. And yes, we are excited to host a tremendous Seahawk team. It’s a tremendous gauge for our team and any team to play against a team with the kind of record and which has accomplished the things the Seahawks have.”

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The New York Giants are 3-6 thanks to the return of running back, Andre Brown. Brown carried the ball 30 times for 115 yards in his regular season debut last week at home against the Oakland Raiders. Brown gave the Giant running attack, which was ranked 30th in the NFL, a huge boost. Prior to Brown’s season debut, the Giants started eight different running backs in their first nine games. Entering their Week 10 match-up, the Raiders ranked 6th in rushing defense, which makes Brown’s debut a little more impressive.

This week’s opponent, the Green Bay Packers, ranks in the middle of the pack, yielding 107 rushing yards per game. Last year, Brown accounted for 64 of 147 rushing yards. Without any competition for carries, Brown seems like a sure bet for at least 100 yards. The Packers boast some skilled defensive players in BJ Raji, Clay Matthews, and AJ Hawk, but Brown found success in the past. 

The Giants are hoping that Brown’s return will take some pressure off of Eli Manning and the passing attack. Impending free agent Hakeem Nicks has yet to find the end zone while Victor Cruz hasn’t scored since Week 4. Nicks, Cruz, and third receiver Rueben Randle all scored last year during last year’s 38-10 romp over Green Bay.

The Giants opened as 5-point home favorite against Green Bay. A few sportsbook reviews have the Giants as a 6-point favorite against the Aaron Rodgers-less Pack. The Giants’ offensive line has struggled, which is obviously a cause for concern. However, as long as Brown runs hard, the Giants should find more balance on offense. Look for the Giants to establish the run early and often as they try to grind down Green Bay’s front seven.

Prediction: Giants 31 Packers 14

When the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, they were a 7-2 team that looked like they were going to coast into the playoffs as the winners of the NFC East. However, they have gone just 2-4 since that point, and they are now on the wrong side of the postseason picture without control of their own destiny. They have to beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium if they want to still have a realistic chance to make it to the postseason.

What we have seen from the Giants though, is that they are at their best when all of the chips are in the center of the table and the most is on the line.

QB Eli Manning has been up and down all year long, but of late, he has been terrible. Arguably his worst game of the season came last week when he threw no touchdowns and two picks with just 161 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. It was the lowest of the lows for New York, which was shut out for the first time since 1996.

It also didn’t help last week that the team couldn’t figure out how to ever consistently get anything going on the ground. Take out a 20+ yard run by both RB Kregg Lumpkin and RB David Wilson, and as a team, New York averaged just 2.63 yards per carry. The good news is that RB Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to be back in the fold for this one after sitting out last week.

New York hasn’t had a fantastic history against the Ravens in the past, going just 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS in the seven games against this franchise since 1985.

If you want to make your NFL picks on the Giants, you have to lay 2 ½-points on the road against Baltimore.

The one thing you can expect from the New York Giants throughout the regular season is the unexpected.  They can come out and lose a seemingly easy game against a terrible Philadelphia Eagles team then blow out a recovering Saints ball club.  All in all, the Giants are always struggling to make the playoffs and will have yet another road block in their way this coming Sunday when they take on the Atlanta Falcons.  While the NFL odds have the Giants at a two point handicap, they certainly have the tools to win the game this week.  They just need to dig deep and make the right moves.

One of the reasons the team has struggled throughout the season is their unreliable offense.  Quarterback Eli Manning constantly goes from huge wins that see him throwing for upwards of 300 yards and multiple touchdowns to games where he barely gets a hundred yards passing.   He will find ways to constantly get receiver Victor Cruz the ball then not hook up with him for an entire game.  The team needs to evaluate their offensive set up and find a way to get a more stable base that will yield more wins.  While they have proved that they can win big in the playoffs, them getting more wins in the regular season would surely help the team get more favorable match ups come January. 

As it stands now, the Giants will have to find ways to turn over the ball as well as get big plays on offense if they want to keep up with the Falcons this week.  Atlanta has struggled in the last few weeks though which has lead many to believe this game is the Giants for the taking.  If the team can get the ball moving in the air then things will certainly be looking up for them in week 15.

The New Orleans Saints scored just 10 points last week, and QB Drew Brees was held without a single touchdown pass for the first time in 54 games. Brees was picked off five times, bringing his tally for the last two weeks to seven INTs. However, in spite of this form, Brees has to be smiling, knowing that he is taking on a weak New York Giants secondary on Sunday afternoon in one of the biggest games of the year.

The G-Men have had their share of problems stopping the pass this year. They rank 22nd in the NFL in pass defense at 245.2 yards per game allowed, and quarterbacks are actually throwing for 262.9 yards per game. Where almost all of the damage is being done though, is on the outside to receivers. The Giants have had four games this year where opposing receivers have tallied at least 200 receiving yards, and they have had six games allowing at least two touchdowns to wide receivers.

Enter: WR Marques Colston and WR Lance Moore. These two have 113 receptions, 1,650 yards, and 12 trips to the end zone between them on the campaign, and we figure that they are going to have huge days with Brees throwing the football to them once again.

History isn’t exactly on New York’s side either. The last three times these two teams have met, the Saints have scored an average of 42.3 points per game. Brees has accounted for 372 and 369 passing yards in the last two as well.

To make matters worse for the Giants, they have three DBs, Kenny Phillips, Jayron Hosley, and Tyler Sash, that are all listed as questionable with various ailments. The team though, has picked off 18 passes this year, which suggests that perhaps there could be some big plays both for and against this defense on Sunday.

There is a reason that the 53 on the board is the highest total on the NFL odds this weekend. The Giants are favored by five points.

Perhaps a bye week was just what QB Eli Manning was looking for to get his act back together again. He and his New York Giants had their bye in Week 11, and they came out firing in Week 12, putting up their most impressive victory of the season in a 38-10 romp over one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers. This week, Eli and the G-Men are on the road at the hot Washington Redskins, but there is every reason to believe that they will have a great chance of covering the 2 ½-point NFL odds put on the board for this week’s showdown.

Manning has thrown for 2,890 yards and 15 TDs this year in spite of the fact that he really hasn’t had a remarkable passing game in quite some time. Manning did throw for three TDs last week against the Pack, and he had a 114.4 quarterback rating in the game, his higher mark of the season. However, you have to go back to Week 7 against none other than these Redskins to find the last time that he threw for at least 300 yards.

This Washington defense had played better ball over the course of the last few weeks, but last week, it showed its true colors when it allowed 441 yards and three TDs through the air to QB Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. That now marks eight times this year in 11 games that the Redskins have allowed at least 299 passing yards, and it was the fifth time that they had allowed three passing touchdowns. There has been just one game all year without a passing TD conceded by this Washington defense.

Should New York win this game, it will mark the fourth time in the last five seasons that it swept Washington. However, the Redskins are working on a four-game cover streak in this series dating back to the end of the 2010 regular season.

A long weekend of turkey and football will be capped off Sunday night with a juicy matchup between the past two Super Bowl champions. The Green Bay Packers (7-3) invade the New York Giants (6-4) at MetLife Stadium for what is also a rematch of a divisional playoff game won by the Giants in January.

New York received a much-needed bye last week following two straight losses, including a 31-13 setback at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals 31-13 as a 3.5-point road favorite. The losses, coupled with the recent surge of the Washington Redskins, have left the defending Super Bowl champions with just a 1 1/2-game lead in the NFC East. A loss to the Packers and things could get interesting down the stretch in this division.

According to the Week 12 NFL odds, the Giants are 3-point home favorites against the Packers with the over/under listed between 49.5 and 51 points, depending on where you look.

First and foremost for the Giants will be getting quarterback Eli Manning back on track for the season’s home stretch. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has played poorly in three straight games, which includes throwing four interceptions versus zero touchdown passes. That is the longest streak without a TD pass in Manning’s career.

The hope out of Gotham is a  week of rest is just what the doctor ordered for Manning. Rumors have been that Manning has suffered from a tired arm and it’s hoped the bye will allow him to return to the elite level he showed earlier this season.

The Packers have reeled off five consecutive wins, despite dealing with a rash of injuries, especially on the defensive side. At least three starters will be out against the Giants—All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews, former NFL defensive player of the year Charles Woodson and cornerback Sam Shields.

New York has seen its lead in the division slip and is getting ever-more desperate for a win. However, Green Bay is playing perhaps its best football of the season right now. This one figures to be close, but the Giants may be due the slight edge given the home-field and injury concerns of the Packers.

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.