If you’re hoping to see Eli Manning throw it around like brother Peyton, or succeed in a run-and-gun offense like Drew Brees, you’re going to be disappointed.
Over the past month we’ve seen the Giants take a more balanced and conservative approach in managing Eli and the offense.
In Sunday’s win over the Raiders, the Giants utilized the return of Andre Brown to not only gain over 100 yards on the ground, but control the clock, and gain key first downs. According to ESPN, Brown was 5 of 6 in converting first downs when the Giants needed 3 yards or less. New York was 19th in the NFL converting such rushes entering the week, so Manning didn’t have to shoulder the load.
Manning has also cut down on his over the top chances, thus subtracting his turnovers. Eli has only one interception over his last three games, and his lack of downfield passes may be the reason. Manning has cut more than three yards off his average pass distance the last two weeks, allowing Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks to make the plays with their legs instead of his arm.
The Giants have always prided themselves on running the football throughout the Tom Coughlin era, and without a ground game, the offense lost its identity. With Peyton Hillis and Andre Brown lending ground support, Eli can focus on putting together drives, rather than going for it all on one play every time he takes the ball.
It’s a team sport for a reason, no one man can do it alone, even a two-time Super Bowl MVP will struggle.
If Manning can keep the turnovers down, and control the clock with a balanced approach, the NFC East title will quickly go from dream to reality for this once lost team of giants.
Kyle McMorrow | Featured Columnist