“Eli Manning has a weak arm.” “Manning’s not an elite QB.” “He implodes after a bye every year.”
Coming off a bye on Sunday, Manning and the New York Giants came onto the field with something to prove. They took a white-hot Packers team and wiped the field with them, winning 38-10. Manning threw for 3 TDs, 249 yards and a passer rating of 114. He even had a 12-yard rushing play. His A-B connections at RB, Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown ran for a combined 122 yards and racked up two more touchdowns. Lawrence Tynes put five points-after between the uprights and added another 3 with a 43-yard field goal. The Giants only committed four fouls, giving up a mere 24 yards in penalties. Their defense registered 5 sacks and a pick against a usually-steady QB, Aaron Rodgers.
The G-Men were up 31-10 at the half. Manning didn’t even have to play the second half!
Quite frankly, the Giants could do no wrong. And two other teams in the NFC East are sweating a bit more profusely now. Both the Redskins and Cowboys are still mathematically in contention for a playoff spot, but that window got a little smaller last night. The Redskins host the Giants next Monday night, and after seeing QB Robert Griffin’s play after his last two starts, Manning had better perform just as well next week as he did in the trouncing over the Packers.
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The Giants now stand at 7-4 (right where they put the Packers, who, up to this point, had won five straight. Oh yes, and the Giants did lose Brown for the season with a broken leg. This means Bradshaw will have a heavier workload, and rookie Dave Wilson (the Giant’s 2012 number one pick) will see a lot more time on the field.
New York has a tough road ahead of them, too. After their trip to FedEx Field next Monday, they will play the Saints, NFC-best Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and end up with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons and Ravens are road games. And while some might scoff at the idea of ending the season against a “threat” like the Eagles, keep this in mind: The Eagles have already delivered a loss to the Giants this season.
It will come down to solid team play and the chemistry they exhibited last night. If Manning can continue to see the right colors and get the ball to the blue and red team, there may be nothing that keeps this team away from another Superbowl.
Maybe then people (like me) will start taking him a little more seriously.