Can Eli Manning, who has struggled of late, get the Giants back on track?
In recent weeks, it seems as though Eli Manning and the New York Giants have come unhinged. They haven't won since beating Dallas 29-24 on October 28 and Eli Manning has not thrown a touchdown pass since a win against the Redskins on October 21.
In that same span, the Giants have gone 2-2 (losing their last two games) and Manning has thrown six interceptions and lost a fumble. He has also failed to top 215 yards in four of his last five games while also completing 53.6 percent of his passes or less in three games during that stretch.
These are not numbers we are accustomed to seeing from the Super Bowl defending champion Giants nor from their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback. Facing a surging Packers team who have won their last five games, can Manning turn the Giants around?
Eli and the Giants looked run down in the weeks before their bye.
The Giants were coming undone. They needed a break from the media, from the contact of football and from the pressure of defending a Super Bowl title. This goes for every player and coach, from the reserves to the starters.
Quarterback Eli Manning especially needed the bye, failing to throw a touchdown in three consecutive games and 18 consecutive quarters. After losing two in a row, the Giants can be confident coming off the bye. In seven games during the Eli Manning era, the Giants are 5-2 following the bye week.
In those games, Eli has thrown 13 touchdowns to only four interceptions and hasn't lost since 2008. The rest, both mental and physical, has proven to help Manning in the past and will help him even more as he has to carry more of the Giants' offensive load than he ever has before in his career.
Tramon Williams and the Packers' secondary have been gashed by opponents this season.
If there were a 7-3 team that the Giants wanted to see this weekend, it would be Green Bay. The Giants thrive when their pass offense is clicking behind Eli Manning. The Packers struggle defending the pass, ranking 21st in the NFL in total pass defense.
They've allowed almost 250 yards per game through the air and have intercepted only six passes while yielding 28 touchdowns. If ever there were a time for Eli Manning to end his touchdown-less streak, it would be against the porous Packers secondary.
Sure, the absence of veteran safety/cornerback Charles Woodson has hurt Green Bay, but their lack of depth beyond Woodson and veteran cornerback Tramon Williams has been the biggest pain for the Packers. Their two starting safeties are 24 and 23 years old while their No. 2 starting cornerback has recorded three career interceptions.
The Giants and Eli Manning can definitely take advantage of a weak secondary behind a stronger front seven against Green Bay.
This isn't quite the Super Bowl, but Eli has proven that he can win a big game on more than one occasion.
The Giants are 6-4 and if they lose this week, will only sit one game ahead of the second-place Washington Redskins led by rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. The Redskins will have extra rest and be fresh off of a 38-31 beat-down of the Cowboys that wasn't really as close as the score suggests.
The last thing the Giants need is a three-game losing streak and the hottest young quarterback in the NFL threatening to take over the top of the NFC East. Somehow and someway, this always seems to be where the Giants rise to the occasion.
For a team that has lost a lot of winnable games over the past few seasons and have barely squeaked into the playoffs when they should be at the top of their division, everyone on the Giants seems to rise up when they can sense that they are playing a big game.
This charge has always been led by Eli Manning, who delivered clutch performance after clutch performance last season, throwing an NFL record 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes.
Losing this game before a showdown with RGIII could be detrimental to the Giants, but luckily they have a quarterback who will be prepared and step up his recently poor play to secure a win for the G-Men.