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New York Giants Will Go as Far as Eli Manning Takes Them in 2012

December 18th, 2012 at 5:30 PM
By Paul Tierney

'Eli Manning' photo (c) 2012, Mike Morbeck - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ The New York Giants never had a chance to make a comeback against the Atlanta Falcons on the road last Sunday. The simple, and usually comforting reality surrounding this team is that it will live and die by the right arm of quarterback Eli Manning. When Manning is on, there are very few teams around the league that can beat the Giants. However, when Eli plays like he did last Sunday, the Giants are incapable of overcoming Eli's blunders.

Unfortunately, this season has proven that the two-time Super Bowl MVP is far from the invincible gunslinger that many have made him out to be.

Eli Manning has flaws in his game. His decision making can be questionable, as he frequently attempts to squeeze throws through mind-numbingly tight windows. Sometimes he completes them and he looks like the second-coming of Joe Montana, while other times he appears to be dumfounded at his inability to complete passes. Manning is an incredible talent with the ability to put the team on his shoulders and win football games, but he hasn't done that as of late.

Part of the issue is that teams have figured out how to defend the Giants franchise player. Manning performs at an incredibly high level while throwing over the middle of the field, and struggles while throwing to the sidelines. In fact, Manning has thrown 9 of his 15 interceptions this season while throwing to the sidelines, while completing just 54 percent of those passes. In particular, Manning has a quarterback rating of 28.2 while throwing to the left sideline.

If the play is not open over the middle of the field, there's a good chance Eli Manning is not going to make anything productive occur.

It would be understandable if Manning was struggling behind an inconsistent offensive line , or without a consistent  rushing attack. However, both of those aspects of Big Blue's offense have improved this season.

Manning has been pressured on just 28.6 percent of his dropbacks, which is down from 39.1 percent last season.The Giants offensive line has given up the least amount of sacks in the NFL this season. The rushing attack has gone from producing just 89 yards per game in 2011 to 115 yards this season.

The Giants offense is more dynamic, yet Manning's play has dropped off significantly. Although he was touted as one of the NFL's top-five quarterbacks this offseason, Manning is currently ranked 9th in quarterback ratings. The Giants need him to be elite in order for the team to have a chance to make the postseason.

“I’ve got to play at a high level,” Manning said. “I’ve got to make the plays that are there.”

The Giants have their backs against the wall this weekend. They still control their playoff destiny. All they have to do is win two football games against some struggling football teams. We can talk all we want about the defense, or about the rushing attack, but the Giants season will rest on the play of Eli Manning. Manning is the unquestionable leader of this football team, and his ability to orchestrate big plays down the field will inevitably determine the Giants' fate in 2012. 

This is usually when Eli steps up and plays his best. When people are writing articles detailing his shortcomings, he comes out the next few games and puts on championsip-caliber performances. It remains to be seen if this season will fall in line with the recent history behind this franchise.  The play of Eli Manning will be the most impactful factor in determining if the Giants can salvage their 2012 campaign and return to Super Bowl glory.

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Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Falcons, Eli Manning, Football, Joe Montana, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Super Bowl

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32 Responses to “New York Giants Will Go as Far as Eli Manning Takes Them in 2012”

  1.  kujo says:

    Sorry, but the whole premise of this article is trite. In the quarterback driven league that is the 2012 NFL, every single team is singularly and totally dependent upon the quality of play they receive from their signal caller. Period. This is not a Giants-specific phenomena. There will be upsets and reverses in fortune, but by and large, teams with better QB play win out in the long run.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      The Jets made the AFC Championship game twice with Mark Sanchez as their quarterback. The Broncos won a playoff game last season with Tebow. 49ers went to the NFC Championship (and almost the Super Bowl) last season with Alex Smith. Yeah, obviously teams with better quarterbacks have a better chance of winning, but the Giants are dead in the water if Eli keeps playing the way he has in recent weeks.

      •  kujo says:

        The Sanchez-led Jets lost the AFC Championship to Peyton in 2009 and then to Roethlisberger in 2010.

        The Tebow-led Broncos got clobbered by Tom Brady.

        The Alex Smith-led 49ers were beating by Eli.

        In every single instance you brought up, the team with better QB play won out.

        •  Paul Tierney says:

          Sanchez beat Rivers and Brady to get to those AFC Championship games.

          The 49ers beat Drew Brees and the Saints to get to the NFC Championship game.

          Tebow beat Roethisberger to get to the Patriots.

          Not saying teams with better quarterbacks don’t stand a significantly better chance of winning. However, teams with bad quarterbacks beat teams with good quarterbacks all the time. The Giants are not constructed to win despite their quarterback play and will only go as far as Eli takes them.

          •  kujo says:

            As I said above, there will be upsets and the like, but overall, statistically speaking, teams with better QBs do better than those that don’t. Really don’t understand why this is so unclear or controversial.

        •  Levito says:

          For the most part, you can only get as far as your QB will take you. But it’s possible to get past that if the rest of the team is good enough. Case in point: Trent Dilfer.

  2.  Dirt says:

    Hahaa ask and you shall receive kujo!

  3.  Begiant says:

    The only downgrade Eli has faced this year has been an injured Nicks and lack of a consistent 3rd receiver. However I will also say that I have noticed Cruz play way less agressive this year. My only hypothesis is that he is protecting himself for a contract. I have repeatedly seen him fall down before getting tackled and usually I am fine with that…however in recent weeks (notably Washington) We missed too many 3rd and mediums and I can only imagine they would have been easier if Cruz had tried to get a few more yards. For me, this culminated when Cruz ducked away from that brutal hit last week. I understand that was a big hit and it did hurt him however he was going to get hit either way, so he might as well try to make the catch…I have seen him go for plays like that before.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      I had never been more disappointed in a Giants’ player than I was when Cruz didn’t take that hit and go catch the ball. He gets paid to do that. It’s his job. He drew the penalty, but to me that was embarrassing. I can handle players making mistakes through the course of play, or blowing an assignment now and then. However, fear has no place in the heart of an NFL wide receiver.

  4.  Begiant says:

    For me these next two weeks will prove Eli’s legacy up to this point. If we steps up and elevates the team to make the playoffs I will feel he validated what he has accomplished so far…This type of season will just be Eli’s style. However if he flames out and we miss the playoff then I will go back to say he is top 10 but no longer top 5. He will be way too inconsistent.

    •  Levito says:

      Really? The previous SB runs haven’t done enough to build his legacy? I think if Eli takes this team deep into the playoffs or pulls off another crazy SB win, it would certainly add to his legacy. But at this point in his career, I don’t think he needs to validate anything.

    •  Valid says:

      Sorry, but that’s stupid. Eli has nothing left to prove. His legacy has already been cemented.

  5.  kujo says:

    Why Eli has to continue to justify himself to fans and sports commentators is beyond me. Giants fans–particularly the ones who stalk these halls– should know better.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      He doesn’t have to justify himself to anyone. He’s won two Super Bowls. He could stop playing right now and be the best quarterback ever to wear a Giants uniform. However, the fact of the matter is that he has not played to his potential as of late. I’m not making it up, look at the numbers. He has to play better for us to be watching Giants football late into Janurary. That’s all I’m saying.

    •  Begiant says:

      Can you be more clear when you say justify? justify what exactly…I have said since 2007 that Eli was without a doubt a top 10 QB…as the players other fans and analysts put in front of him faded out, new ones would come in only to fade away again. Eli is extremely consistent. However when it comes to being Elite he is on and off. Is Eli elite when the game is on the line, Yes. However the truly elite quarterbacks make the playoffs year in and year out..They always have there teams winning a lot of games and they always make those around them better. Has Eli done all of these things yes..maybe I am just harder on him than most but I expect more from him and this team. I expect the playoffs every year.

      •  Syed Sohail Shah says:

        It’s a fact that Eli has been off this year, but we are comparing it to last year in which he was brilliant. Compared to his other seasons he’s at about average performance. The thing about this team is because we lack a dynamic running game and our vaunted d line hasn’t even showed up this year we are relying on Eli more. At the end of the day however, it’s a team game and right now they need to all setup up.

        •  Paul Tierney says:

          I don’t think we should be comparing his numbers from this season to 2 and 3 years back and say Eli’s doing alright. You expect quarterbacks to improve, especially those with Eli’s talent. Given that the offensive line has played better and the rushing attack has improved this season, Eli should be making more plays than he has.

          •  Syed Sohail Shah says:

            I agree, I Beleive one of the largest factors is the fact that Nicks has been hurt. The two interceptions were thrown towards him and doesn’t have his full speed or health. In addition we don’t have manningham. He was a luxury having 3 dynamic wide receivers was so helpful to our offense because he was such a vertical threat. All those people that bashed him on this board, probably realize his importance now.

            •  Krow says:

              Preach !!!

            •  Paul Tierney says:

              The first interception last week was a bad read by Manning and a heck of a play by Asante Samuel. The second was not as egregious, but Eli had no business trying to fit the ball into a window that tight.

        •  Begiant says:

          I would say since 2009 he has put up Elite numbers…the only thing that hurts him is that 25 pick season (which he is not completely to blame for). In addition in 2008 he was a very efficient game manager. If he completely dominates these next two weeks he will have 4000 yards and hopefully around 25 TDs.

  6.  James Stoll says:

    Looking at Eli’s overall stats disguises how often he has played poorly this season. Opening day against Dallas he was terrible. Washington 1 he was bad but for the last game winning bomb. Dallas 2 he was terrible. Pittsburgh bad, Cincy horrendous. Washington 2 bad. Philly 1 bad. Atlanta beyond bad.
    In the games where he’s been good he’s been really good. GB, Tampa after early problems. Cleveland. New Orleans. But his bad play has overwhelmed his good and hence the giants find themselves about to be booted from the conversation.
    Easily Eli’s worst season since 2006.

  7.  G-MenFan says:

    He pisses me off sometimes, but I believe in Eli.

    I believe he’ll get it done.

    Giants to the Super Bowl. Ya gotta believe!

  8.  wrdag says:

    Despite the stats given in the article I think that pass protection for Eli has been wildly inconsistent. When it was good, so was our passing attack. Of late its been poor on every game we lost which in many ways relates to Deihl being put on the field. The bottomline is that QB’s to be elite need elite protection, not just Eli but every QB in the league. You want to beat Brady in the Super Bowl spend the day in his face. Want to beat Rodgers several weeks ago in NY get in his face like we did. By the third quarter Rodgers was not taking anything but a 3 step drop. If you want to see the issues with Brees this year in certain games its pressure given up by an o-line missing their all-pro players.
    Give Eli a clean pocket, let him step up and work double move patterns and you will see this offense put up 30 plus. On the other hand allow some no -name def. end from Atlanta to abuse Deihl for an afternoon then kiss the play-offs goodbye.

  9.  GmenMania says:

    What happened to “Poor Eli”? Haven’t seen that piece for a couple of months.

  10.  GmenMania says:

    Capers got re-signed after Terrence Frederick was waived.

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