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Eli Manning Needs to End Season the Way He Started It

Manning's had two bad weeks in a row for the first time all season.



    Eli Manning Needs to End Season the Way He Started It
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    Giants have to hope bumps in the road are behind Manning.

    Eli Manning made the Pro Bowl on Tuesday night.

    It's a well deserved honor that speaks to just how good Manning has been during what might be the most prolific year for quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.

    His numbers aren't quite as amazing as those put up by Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, but there's not much chance the Giants would be playing for a division title if not for the work of Manning.

    Saying Manning is the most valuable member of the Giants is as unnecessary as saying that Michael was the most valuable member of the Jackson Five. You don't need to be told something that's so strikingly obvious. 

    You also don't need to be told that Manning's season has taken an abrupt turn in the wrong direction over the last two weeks. Against the Redskins and Jets, Manning has completed 32-of-67 passes for 482 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. 

    Take away Victor Cruz's 99-yard touchdown, a play that had more to do with Cruz and the Jets' poor tackling than Manning, and Manning's numbers are Sanchez-style horrific.

    When you're playing the man who created the adjective in the previous sentence, you can get by while being that bad but it is hard to believe Manning and the Giants can get away with that against the Cowboys.

    As happens anytime Manning gets a whiff of criticism, people will point out that it isn't all his fault. Hakeem Nicks has suddenly forgotten how to catch passes and injuries have taken away a couple of good options in Jake Ballard and Mario Manningham, but there were plenty of drops and missing players when Manning was putting up monster numbers earlier this season as well.

    The last two games have been particularly bad, but Manning's accuracy has tapered off after a blistering start to the season. He completed at least 61.3 percent of his passes in six of the first seven games, but he's topped that mark just twice in the last eight as the consistent offensive attack has given way to the big play or bust approach.

    When you make the big plays the Giants have made that's not a massive problem, but it does provide plenty of opportunities for the opposition to get on the scoreboard. If they do, and the Cowboys are not the Jets offensively, that makes for a game that can go against you thanks to one or two bounces.

    Those bounces went the Giants' way the last time they faced the Cowboys, but a return to past glory for Manning would go a long way toward making sure that luck won't be a big factor in their chances of returning to the playoffs.