It seems like we say the same thing just about every week (with the exception of last week): New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has a great chance to break out of his slump against a struggling pass defense.
This week is no different. The Giants are on the road taking on the Detroit Lions. The Lions have the 23rd ranked pass defense in the NFL. Manning and the Big Blue offense would be licking their chops in years past, but the script has had a different plot this season, as Manning has struggled drastically and the Giants are already out of playoff contention.
Manning is smack dab in the midst of the worst season of his entire 10-year career. Besides his rookie season, which included only nine games, Manning’s 2013 passer rating of 69.7 and QBR of 36.0 are easily the lowest of his career.
Sure, several factors out of Manning’s control, like the offensive line and inconsistent play from his wide receivers, have contributed to his poor play, but Manning himself seems to be in a lingering funk. At different times he’s too passive or too aggressive and this has led to a league-leading 25 interceptions, which also ties a career-high for the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
Although the matchup with the Lions looks favorable on paper, Manning and the offense is in for an uphill battle. Victor Cruz underwent knee surgery on Thursday and he is likely done for the season. Cruz has been far and away New York’s most consistent receiver this season. Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan can all increase their stock for next season with productive games in these last two weeks. Manning will definitely need someone to step up if he’s going to pull himself out of his slump.