5 Reasons Eli Manning Will Be Better Than Brother Peyton Manning in 2012
It's hard not to compare him to his older brother, Peyton Manning, but people still do.
Peyton was on the high-powered Indianapolis Colts offense that always made the playoffs.
Eli was just trying to get his feet wet and establish himself playing for the Giants.
Fast forward eight years later and a lot has changed.
Eli on the other hand, has won two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVP awards with the Giants and has become one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
Some even think that little brother might be surpassing big brother at the current stage of their careers, which is possible.
Right now, given that Peyton did not take a single snap in 2011, Eli's career is in better shape.
Here are five reasons why I feel Eli will have a better 2012 campaign than his big brother Peyton.
Eli's Receivers Are That Much Better Than Peyton's
A great quarterback has to have weapons and good receivers to throw to downfield.
Eli has a pair of great receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who have formed one of the most dangerous 1-2 receiver tandems in the NFL.
New York did lose Mario Manningham to the San Francisco 49ers, but they drafted Rueben Randle out of LSU in the second round of the 2012 and have high expectations going into the upcoming season.
The Broncos' receivers are decent, but not on the same level as the Giants' wideouts.
Their best option is Demaryius Thomas, who had 551 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. There's also Eric Decker, who had 644 yards and eight touchdowns, and Andre Caldwell, who had 317 yards and three touchdowns.
Not the most impressive of numbers, but Denver was running the offense under Tim Tebow. Expect a major facelift with Peyton Manning under center.
Based on talent, the Giants win the battle of receivers.
Peyton's Neck Injury
As I said before, Peyton Manning did not take a single snap for the Colts in 2011 due to a neck injury which required several surgeries to fix.
Doctors have cleared Peyton to play in 2012, but don't think for one second that he doesn't have a bulls-eye on that neck. His ability to shred a team's defense will make him the biggest target on the field.
Plus, how healthy is his neck going to be trying to endure a 16-game NFL regular season, not to mention the playoffs?
Nobody knows, not even Peyton, and he might have that in the back of his mind in 2012.
Eli on the other hand, has yet to suffer any significant injuries as a professional (knock on wood.) Psychologically, that gives him the edge during the season.
Knowing Your Surroundings Well
The stadiums and the elements will be a factor in this.
For the longest time, Peyton Manning played indoors inside the cozy confines of first the RCA Dome and then Lucas Oil Stadium.
Peyton will now play his home games at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, an outdoor stadium in Denver, something he will have to get used to.
Denver can get very cold during the winter, and the thin air can cause athletes to lose their breathe much easier. It also snows, alot.
Again, all things Peyton never dealt with while playing indoors at Indy.
Eli on the other hand, has gotten used to playing outside at East Rutherford, New Jersey and at MetLife Stadium.
He's played in the cold, the rain, the wind and the snow at home. And he's done just fine.
Eli is comfortable playing in his own building if the conditions aren't the best.
How will Peyton handle it? He never really played well at Foxborough against the Patriots in January.
Knowing the Offensive Line
It all starts at the offensive line.
Sure, both Eli and Peyton Manning are elite players. But if they didn't have good lineman protecting them in every game, they wouldn't be where they are now.
Now for Eli, his offensive line has gone through a few transitions over the last couple of years.
David Diehl and Chris Snee are still around from the first and second Super Bowls, but Rich Seubert was replaced by Kevin Boothe, Shaun O'Hara was replaced by David Baas and Kareem McKenzie could be replaced by Sean Locklear.
The newer version of the Giants' offensive line gelled together on the fly and had to improve as the season progressed.
Still, Eli is familiar with most of these guys and is comfortable taking snaps behind them during games.
Peyton, on the other hand, has a brand new line to get to know.
No more Jeff Saturday, Jake Scott or Ryan Diem protecting Peyton.
Instead, Peyton's new offensive line will feature the likes of Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D Walton, Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin.
Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton hit the turf 42 times behind this line; Eli went down 28 times in 2011.
Can the Denver offensive line keep Peyton upright and protected enough so he doesn't take a beating? It remains to be seen.
Eli Manning Is in His Prime, Is Peyton?
Let's look at both players right at the current stage of their careers.
He's 31 years old and just won his second Super Bowl for the Giants. He also came off a season where he threw for the most passing yards (4,933) of his career and cut down his interception totals by almost 10 from a year ago.
Eli is finally finding his groove as a premier NFL quarterback and I think we can safely say he's in the prime of his career for the Giants.
And now, Peyton.
He's going on 36 years old and will begin a new journey playing for a new team after spending 14 years with the only team he's ever known as home.
He's also coming off of a major neck injury that forced him out of the entire 2011 NFL season and hasn't taken a live snap since the 2010 AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs against the Jets.
For most quarterbacks, the age of 35 and over is generally where they are past their prime and begin the twilight years of their careers.
But Peyton is not like most quarterbacks. He's a legend and a future Hall of Famer. And he has a lot to prove in 2012, which might fuel a successful season for the Broncos.
He's also a major health risk playing in Denver, given all that he's gone through over the last 12 months.
Eli, however, could be in line to get the Giants to a few more Super Bowls.
At this point in their careers, you would have to take Eli over Peyton at quarterback.