- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the New York Giants' quarterback play:
Rewind: Sunday's 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers was an especially painful one for Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was sacked seven times in the game. Six of those sacks came in the first 17 minutes, completely preventing Manning and the offense from establishing any kind of rhythm while the game was still in doubt. Manning finished the game 12-for-23 for 119 yards and an interception that raised his league-leading total to eight in three games. The 119 yards represented Manning's lowest single-game total since Dec. 28, 2008, when he threw for 119 in the first half against the Vikings and didn't play in the second half. The highlight of his day was a 14-yard run in the first quarter.
Fast-forward: Manning and the Giants face another fearsome defensive front Sunday in Kansas City, where the Chiefs are 3-0 and leading the league with 15 sacks. As has been the case the past couple of weeks, Manning's receivers should be able to win their one-on-one matchups in the secondary, but it's not going to matter if the offensive line and/or the running game can't work to keep Manning upright long enough to throw the ball.
Seeking harmony: Manning isn't angry with Hakeem Nicks for the wide receiver's "I can't throw it to myself" comment, and he shouldn't be, because Nicks didn't say it in an angry way. But Manning is a smart quarterback who knows the value of happy wide receivers. Expect Nicks to be targeted a lot in this one.
Prediction: I think Manning has a down statistical day because of the tough, physical nature of the Chiefs' front seven. And I think he takes a few more sacks. But I don't think another game goes by without a touchdown pass, and I think when this one's over you're going to hear a lot of talk about Manning's toughness and leadership, even if his fantasy owners still aren't thrilled.