Elite Eli: Manning and Giants Look to Continue Winning Ways Vs. Browns

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Elite Eli:  Manning and Giants Look to Continue Winning Ways Vs. Browns
Eli Manning is an elite quarterback.  If you aren't a Giants fan (and maybe even if you are one) that sentence probably doesn’t sound right to you.  Try saying it a couple of times to yourself aloud.  Still doesn’t sound right?  Sorry, but in all likelihood you will be hearing it a lot from here on in. 

In his still short career, Manning has made some significant accomplishments. Since his first full season starting in 2005 he has led the Giants to three straight playoff appearances and last year he won the Superbowl MVP award. 

Manning had been a good quarterback, but ever since last year’s postseason he has joined the elite.  Manning has looked significantly more comfortable in the pocket and as a result has cut down on his mistakes. 

From last year’s Wildcard until now, a span of eight games, Manning has thrown only two interceptions.  Manning is off to a torrid start to the 2008 season.  The Giants are sixth in the league in passing yards per game, while Manning is fifth in the league in passer rating.  Most importantly he is at the helm of an undefeated team atop the harrowing NFC East Division. 

Do not expect the Browns to stop Eli Manning this week either. In their four games, the Browns have faced only two good passing teams: Tony Romo’s Cowboys and Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers.  Romo picked apart the Browns secondary to the tune of 320 passing yards.  Roethlisberger managed a 113 passer rating despite his separated throwing shoulder along with sixty mile per hour winds.  

The Browns other two opponents were the Carson Palmer-less Bengals and the offense-less Ravens.  Quick side note:  how wretched has the Ravens franchise been at the quarterback position?  When your best signal caller was Trent Dilfer, a man whose best attribute was an ability to not make too many mistakes, it speaks volumes. 

Anyway, the Browns have recorded a respectable six interceptions so far, but two of those came against the Ravens rookie Joe Flacco and three from the immortal Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Browns pair of twenty-three year old inexperienced corners Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald pose little threat to the Giants depth at Receiver. 

The Enigma formerly known as Plaxico Burress returns to the lineup with emerging speedster Domenik Hixon, endlessly reliable Amani Toomer, third-down-go-to-guy Steve Smith, always impressive when he’s healthy Sinorice Moss, and rookie Mario Manningham (haven’t seen enough of him to come up with a moniker for him).        

The only possible threat to a great statistical game for Eli is the Giants rushing attack.  The Giants have excelled at running the ball this year.  They average 181 yards on the ground per game (tops in the league). 

The Giants could be content with merely running all day.  Do not expect the Browns rush defense to put a stop to that either.  They are an abysmal 22nd in rush defense. 

Manning’s greatest challenge could entail who he should hand off to more out of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw.  Either through the air, on the ground, or a healthy helping of both, the Giants offense will have little to no problem with the Browns.

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