Even after winning their last two games, the New York Giants are far from comfortable. At 2-6, the G-Men are just two games out of first place in the NFC East, but this was not the the first half they were banking on.
Eli Manning can be justly labelled as one of the main culprits for New York’s poor start. Yes, he’s been put into an exceedingly difficult situation with a struggling running game and an offensive line that has been pretty much non-existent (although they have been better of late). However, the ten-year veteran has been consistently making poor decisions. Manning has repeatedly tried to force the ball into tight spots and transformed himself into a turnover machine.
Through the first six games of the season, Manning threw a whopping 15 interceptions, which is as many as he threw all of last year. He even threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. While Manning has always been slightly careless with the ball, he’s made a career of fourth-quarter perfection. To see him struggling to this magnitude, especially in clutch moments, is very unsettling for Giants fans.
In the last two games, both of which were victories, Manning has been better. He’s managed to avoid throwing a single interception, a feat that could have easily been deemed impossible earlier in the year. However, on the flip side, Manning has thrown just one touchdown in those same two games. He’s been spectacularly adequate at simply managing the game, which has resulted in two very ugly wins.
The running game is going to continue to be a question mark week-to-week. Andre Brown may be able to provide a lift, but don’t count on him to take over games.
Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle must all step up as well. They can make Manning’s life much easier with more consistency. Each of them have shown big-play capability at different points this season.
It all comes back to Manning. He’s made progress by not turning the ball over, but he must be the one to win games for the Giants and not just manage them. Manning put the team on his back in 2011 and the Giants went on to win a Super Bowl. If he can find his way back into his old patterns, the Giants could go on a similar run.
The Giants are not out of the playoff hunt by any means. These last two wins kept their pulse beating even if it had been slowed down considerably from the six straight losses.