Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Giants' Eli Manning
By Dan Graziano
A weekly analysis of the New York Giants' quarterback play.
Rewind: After throwing three interceptions in the season-opening loss to the Cowboys, Eli Manning topped that with four in the Week 2 defeat by the Broncos. So while he's second in the league by a single yard to Aaron Rodgers with 812 passing yards, he's the league leader by three in interceptions. Sunday got out of hand in the second half when the Giants fell way behind, but Manning looked out of sorts and made some poor decisions when the game was still within reach.
Fast-forward: This week's opponent, Carolina, ranks 22nd in the league with 587 passing yards allowed through two weeks, with only one interception and three sacks. The Panthers allowed Seattle's Russell Wilson and Buffalo's EJ Manuel to post a combined 101.4 passer rating against them in their first two games. And they have injuries in the secondary. Manning was 27-for-35 for 288 yards against Carolina last season in a Week 3 victory dominated by Andre Brown and the Giants' run game.
Target practice: This post from ESPN Stats & Information says that only one of Manning's seven interceptions has come on a pass targeted for Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks or tight end Brandon Myers, and that four have come on passes intended for Rueben Randle. Manning needs to develop a greater comfort level overall, and specifically with the pass-catchers with whom he has the least experience.
Prediction: Carolina lost one of its starting safeties to a season-ending injury in Week 2 and could be without two other starters in the secondary Sunday. New York's starting offensive line will be together for the second week in a row and can only improve in the run game, which would ease the pressure on Manning. I think he picks apart the Panthers and has a big statistical day, well over 300 yards with only one interception.