Eli Manning: How New York Giants QB Has Become Elite in 2011

Erick Fernandez@erickgfonsportsCorrespondent IINovember 16, 2011

Eli Manning: How New York Giants QB Has Become Elite in 2011

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    Although Eli Manning might have taken a few steps back in the MVP race after the New York Giants' 27-20 Week 10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Giants fans should still be impressed with Eli Manning's performance.

    Despite no running game (once again) and some mistakes on his part, Manning still put his team in a position to at least tie the game late in the fourth quarter. With some decent play-calling and better clock management at the end of the game, the Giants could have gotten another exhilarating win.

    The reality is that the Giants didn't win and suffered a tough loss, despite making it deep into Niners territory with a minute to play. 

    Regardless of that, Manning is showing the NFL that you can't spell "Elite" without the letters E-L-I.

The Giants Are Leading Their Division

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    Yes, not every team who is currently leading their division has an elite quarterback, but there aren't many elite quarterbacks that are last in their division, either.

    This is obviously not a coincidence.

    Elite quarterbacks lead their team to victory, no matter what.

    At 6-3, the Giants could easily have a better record if it weren't for some bad losses. Then again, their record could be much worse if it were not for Manning's leadership.

    Although the G-Men only have a one-game lead in the division at this point, if it weren't for Manning, they would be in far worse position. 

Reading the Defense at the Line of Scrimmage

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    Like his brother Peyton, Eli Manning does a stellar job at adjusting the offensive scheme at the line of scrimmage.

    He is obviously a student of the game because he has an uncanny ability to read defenses, call audibles and predict blitzing packages.

    Manning does not get enough credit for his work at the line of scrimmage, but he is one of the best in the NFL in audibling or calling out blitzers for his blockers.

    Elite quarterbacks need to have the capacity to adapt and adjust, even at the line of scrimmage, and Manning sure can execute with the best of them.

Has Some of the Best Stats in the NFL

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    More often than not, the top-rated quarterbacks in the lead end up in the top five or top ten in passing statistics for the season.

    Through the first ten weeks, Eli Manning is right up there with the best of them.

    Manning is currently sixth in passing yards behind Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers and Rivers, and he is fifth in passing touchdowns with 17. 

    All while doing this with a top-ten accuracy percentage.

    Depleted offensive line or not, Manning is getting the stats he needs to help his team win.

Fourth-Quarter Comebacks

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    Not every game results in a blowout.

    For that reason, teams need quarterbacks who can orchestrate a game-winning drive in the final minutes.

    Who has proven the ability to do that more than Eli Manning?

    During the fourth quarter, it seems as if Manning turns on a switch and becomes a completely different quarterback. He gets in the zone and he can't miss his targets.

    Manning has played a vital role in the Giants' five comeback victories this year. His stats during the fourth quarter are unreal. He has a quarterback rating of 116.5 and nine touchdowns in the final quarters of games.

    His play confirms that people should think about ranking him as one of the best players at his position. Manning has surely played like it.