An NFL executive once said that in order to evaluate a QB, you must look at him and ask "Can he lead the team to victory in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl?" Everyone at this point obviously knows the answer to that for Eli, and that is, obviously, yes.
Eli in the big spot is great, we all know that. In this year's Super Bowl, he became the second QB ever, after Joe Montana, to throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. That is pretty good company for Manning.
The problem for Eli and the Giants was not his play in the playoffs, but rather his play in the regular season.
The way I look at it, he played his best ball against the Patriots and the Cowboys who were each the top seed in their respective conferences. In these five games, including playoffs, Eli threw 13 touchdowns, which is more than two a game.
That pace could have resulted in around 41 or 42 touchdowns for the season, which would then put him up there with his brother Peyton and Tom Brady for what could be the tops in the NFL next year.
In six games against seven or eight-win teams last year (Lions, Vikings, Bears, Bills, Eagles (twice)), he threw five touchdowns in six games. We all know that those kinds of numbers will not help the Giants achieve greatness again.
Manning needs to show that he can avoid the pesky fumbles and interceptions which really hindered the Giants' offense at times last year. If he is able to limit his mistakes then the offense could click on all cylinders.
The run game will be able to be dominated by Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. The O-line will be able to block as a cohesive unit. Manning has a wide array of talent on offense and if he plays well consistently, the team will make the playoffs and possibly go to repeat.
What do I think Eli will do next year? He will probably pass for 3700 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT. That should be enough, coupled with the Giants' defense, for them to win 10 or 11 games even in the toughest division in football—the NFC East.