Today: May 22, 2024

Sports Commentary: Manning will have to play at high level to lead Giants to playoffs

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

 The New York Giants had a lot on their minds this Thanksgiving after trying to find a way to contain what could happen yet again—a second half struggle. 

As the Giants have not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XLII four years ago, the fans know how this team operates in a second half. 

This is the time for quarterback Eli Manning to keep up his stellar season and lead the Giants into the playoffs. 

This is not the Eli Manning people are used to seeing, and the Giants better take full advantage of that. 

There is something in Manning’s eyes that has turned into a pure fire. His awareness is much better when he is making head-on passes. He has also earned a little more respect this year with his determination when his number was called to put this team in a winning position in each game. 

Manning has led the team single-handedly and it looks like he will have to continue doing that, at least on offense. 

The run game is virtually another blocking position right now, but needs to get more involved even without a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw. Brandon Jacobs wanted more carries, and he is now in the driver’s seat for the position. Unfortunately, he has not plowed over defenses like many would expect him to do. 

Manning is making good players out of his receivers including Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The Giants need just one more piece to put them over the top—confidence. 

After a comfortable hold on top of the NFC East, the Giants are fighting with the surging Dallas Cowboys for the division and a playoff spot. It is true the NFC has some depth and potential contenders this year. This makes it a little more difficult to get in, or even prepare for these teams that all have championship potential. 

The speed bump here was a 17-10 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The game was just plain-old nasty. It was a night where the Eagles came out fighting for their season and threw in an added bonus to stir up trouble on three different occasions, waiting for the Giants to react. The Giants kept their composure during plays that needed to be addressed on the field. 

If anyone is going to save head coach Tom Coughlin’s job this time it will be his leader. The fact is the Giants are not out of anything, but they are going on a trip where there could be no way out. There is a lot of football to play and Manning has put them in a prime spot. The Giants will meet Dallas twice (Week 14, Week 17), which will determine the division. It looks like the magic number to get in is nine wins, which means breaking even in the final six games. This time around, the younger Manning will have to keep his dramatics alive. 

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