It hasn’t been much of a slump, but two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Eli Manning’s numbers ever since leading the Giants to their dominating 26 –3 win over San Francisco way back on October 14, have not reflected his best work.
Since that impressive performance the Giants are 2-2 and Manning has struggled finding the end zone to the tune of just one total touchdown during that four-game span. Even worse his quarterback rating is a paltry 60.5 since that time after posting a 94.9 the first six games.
A number of theories of what’s wrong are out there but Manning shot down one of them Wednesday after the team’s week off—arm fatigue.
“I didn’t think there was anything to it. In practices, I thought I was throwing the ball well. I felt no fatigue,” said Manning, according to a report on the Giants’ website. “Obviously, sometimes during the course of the season you may not realize it. But today the arm felt good. I threw some deep ones and didn’t have to struggle to get it out there.”
But Manning, who seems to need a challenge to play his best, has a nice hurdle in front of him this week—the vaunted Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay may not be 15-1 like they were when the two teams lined up last January, when Manning and the Giants shocked them at Lambeau, but at 7-3 and riding a five-game win streak their presence should get the Giants’ juices flowing.
“We know what our challenge is and what type of team we’re going against,” said Manning, never one to give the opponent any locker room fodder. “We know we have to play very good football and that’s what we expect.”
This is the type of game Manning typically lives for though—as the underdog, as strange as that sounds for the defending Super Bowl champs.
But the Giants, with Manning and Coughlin, have never had the dominating regular seasons that you’d expect from a franchise that’s taken home two of the last five Lombardi Trophies. The team has made the playoffs three times during that span averaging just under 10 wins in the regular season. Last year they were even outscored by their opponents during the regular season.
We know what our challenge is and what type of team we’re going against.—Eli Manning.
Yet they’ve thrived under pressure, especially in the fourth quarters of big games—much of that due to Manning’s clutch prowess. But that situation hasn’t materialized lately with Tom Coughlin’s crew having a comfortable lead and playing in games they were clearly favored in.
Sunday will be different with reigning-MVP Aaron Rodgers in town.“Towards the end of the year, you get in these types of games and you’re searching. This is an important one and playing against good teams, we hopefully can rise to that occasion. I think we’ve done that pretty well in the past.”
The past might also play in Green Bay’s favor as the Packers surely remember how their dream season ended last January, and who ended it. But that’s when Eli’s at his best. Giants will win in another classic nail-biter.