I have to give credit to Eli Manning and his great play in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals on Sunday. I have been extremely critical of Eli since he came into the league in 2004. Last Sunday, (in the same arena where Eli won a Super bowl) a certain magic reinserted into the signal caller for the New York Giants. Eli Manning threw for 321 yards without throwing a single interception.
The Arizona Cardinals defense seemed unable to create any pressure on Manning. That inability to create pressure conversed into big plays on the outside by the underrated Giants receiving core. New York’s receivers have really stepped up this last couple of weeks, and there is a special hidden continuity amongst the group.
The magic almost did not occur due to surprisingly productive wide out Victor Cruz losing the ball during a crucial part of the game in the fourth quarter. The referees declared that Cruz gave himself up, and no fumble occurred. The New York Giants drive continued, climaxing in a touchdown pass to underrated wide out Hakeem Nicks.
The New York Giants have proven to me that they are the best team right now in the NFC East, and that they are mentality tough. Osi Umenyiora is back on the defensive line, and he looked very active and intense on the field in Glendale. The Cowboys and Eagles both are on a tremendous free fall, and I really can’t see them winning this division.
The New York Giants were picked to finish 3rd in the NFC East by the majority of sports media during the offseason. The Giants seems to play better when no one believes in them.
The team has rallied around each other to become a balanced football team. My only concern on this team is the running game. Tailbacks Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have both failed to run for over 100 yards in a game this season.
Last Sunday, Manning threw the ball forty times due to the fact that the running game was unproductive against a mediocre at best Cardinals defense. If Jacobs and Bradshaw can’t dominate an inferior Arizona defense, I hate to see what they will do against dominant and rejuvenated NFC defenses such as the Lions and Redskins.
If Manning is forced to throw the ball more than forty times, bad things will arise for Big Blue. Manning is third in the NFL with an impressive quarterback rating of 105. 6. If Manning is to keep a top notch QB rating, the team will need more out of the rushing attack.
The defense is only ranked 18th in the NFL in total defense, although I think they have played better than statistics will display. You have to keep in mind that the defense is playing without their best cover corner in Terrell Thomas, who suffered a season ending injury during a preseason game. During the entire season, the Big Blue defense has made key stops during crucial points of games. Giants fans have to be pleased with the defense because they are playing with a great deal of swagger and continuity.