For the first time since 2007, the New York Giants have started the season 0-2. In the past two games, the Giants have looked as bad as they did at the end of last year, in which they lost three of their last six games. Keep in mind that those three losses ended their chances of making the playoffs.
However, there is no need to panic because the Giants have a quarterback that has proven to be elite when his team needs him the most.
Despite the fact that Eli Manning has started the season with too many interceptions and finished the Manning Bowl with a 53 quarterback rating, there are a few positives to take from the games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.
First, the partnership between Manning and Victor Cruz could not have started off better. In two games, Cruz has caught 13 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers put Cruz in the top five for receiving yards in the NFL, it also puts Manning in a ranking of his own. After two games, Manning is ranked second in passing yards with 812, which is one place above his brother Peyton Manning.
Of course, he leads the league in interceptions, but this is nothing new. Eli Manning has been in the top-five in interceptions since he entered the league. In 2007, the year that the Giants went on that magical Super Bowl run, Manning led the league in interceptions with 20. He ranks third in interceptions thrown by active quarterbacks with 151, two spots below his brother, who has 209.
Throughout the game against the Cowboys, he proved that he can keep his team in games after they have hurt themselves with silly mistakes. For instance, while he threw an interception on the first play of the season, he later led his team downfield to tie the game. The Giants started the fourth quarter losing 30-17, but the first Giants possession of the quarter led to a touchdown pass to Cruz.
Even after Manning threw the late interception, it took him nine plays to come back down field and throw a touchdown to Brandon Myers that gave them a fighting chance. The bottom line is that the game against the Cowboys exemplified that Manning still has the ability to keep his team in games even when they don’t deserve to be.
Finally, none of these points should negate the truth about the Giants. They are in trouble in a number of ways, including their lack of a running game and a pass rush that is below par. Furthermore, Manning has thrown seven interceptions in two games, and they have been off target to the extent that the receivers have just stopped to watch the ball fly over their heads.
Yet, we have seen this from Manning and the Giants before.
After the Giants went 0-2 in 2007, they won six straight games, made the playoffs as a Wild Card team and won the Super Bowl. Even though Manning led the league in interceptions, he became the Super Bowl MVP. In other words, no one can ever count out Eli Manning, and that’s the reason he is the best chance for the Giants to get back to the playoffs.