Wednesday, September 11, 2013
QB Watch: Giants' Eli Manning
By Dan Graziano
A weekly analysis of the New York Giants' quarterback play.
Rewind: Eli Manning had a microcosmic season's worth of ups and downs in the Giants' season-opening loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night. He completed 27-of-42 passes for 450 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Giants from behind and into a position where they could conceivably come back and win in the fourth quarter. But he also threw three interceptions, the third of which was returned for a touchdown to extend the Cowboys' lead from six points to 12 in the final two minutes. The Giants struggled off and on with their protection, and Manning rushed a couple of screen passes.
Fast-forward: The Denver Broncos come to town Sunday, which means Manning will have to try for the third time as an NFL quarterback to beat his older brother, Peyton Manning. Of course, Peyton won't be defending Eli's passes. And it's possible that Champ Bailey, Denver's top cornerback, won't either, as he missed Denver's Week 1 game with a foot injury. The Giants' big-bodied outside receivers, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle, should match up well physically against the smaller Broncos defensive backs.
Big guy is back: Mentioned protection earlier, and the team took a step forward with that with the signing Tuesday of old friend Brandon Jacobs, who should help with blitz pickup from the running back position if the Giants deploy him in passing downs. Eli Manning knows Jacobs, of course, from the seven years Jacobs spent with the Giants prior to last season, and it should help Manning's comfort level to have a back in the huddle that knows the protection schemes as well as Jacobs does.
Prediction: I think Manning has another big statistical game, picking apart a depleted Broncos secondary and a pass rush that's missing the suspended Von Miller. Not 450 yards again, but not three interceptions, either.