Eli Manning Will Make Or Break The Giants Super Bowl Hopes

Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

After going 11-5, the New York Giants will be looking to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl by plowing through the NFC, but their Super Bowl aspirations are reliant on Eli Mannin’s play.

For the first time in five years, the New York Giants are heading to the playoffs. Going 11-5, the Giants punched their ticket to the postseason as the five seed, and the number one Wild Card.

Their success was generated greatly by their elite defense which featured second-year safety Landon Collins, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, longtime Giant defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, and their free agent signees: cornerback Janoris Jenkins, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and defense end Olivier Vernon. However, their success has been affected very little by their offense, more specifically the play of quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning was Great In 2014 and 2015

In years one and two (2014 and 2015) of the Giants West Coast offense under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning thrived. In 2014, he threw for 4,410 yards, with a 30:14 touchdown to interception ratio, and a quarterback rating of 92.1.

He was even better in the year that followed. In 2015, Manning threw for 4,436 yards with a 35:14 touchdown to interception ratio, and a quarterback rating of 93.6. In years one and two of the Giants new offense, Manning was great; however, his 2016 campaign wasn’t as spectacular.

Manning Wasn’t His Elite Self in 2016

In the 2016 regular season, Manning wasn’t his normal self. He threw for nearly 400 yards less than he did in 2014 and 2015, and his quarterback rating drop significantly; it fell from 93.6 to 86.0. He also threw for only 26 touchdowns and put the ball in harm’s warm way too often.

While his 16 interceptions aren’t horrific, Manning made some very risky passes that could’ve very easily been picked off. While the number of interceptions he threw isn’t horrible, three of his 16 interceptions, as well as a key fumble, were crucial, costly plays in four out of the Giants five losses.

More from Empire Writes Back

Two of those picks came against two divisional rivals – the Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins. Those two interceptions were both game ending turnovers; if the Giants could have those two picks back, they may have won both of those games. The victories would’ve won them the division and would’ve put them at 6-0 in the division. Also, while not as devastating, Manning made two key mistakes in two other losses.

In a road game against the Green Bay Packers, the Giants were driving to potentially tie the game before halftime, but Manning missed a wide open Will Tye down the field. On the ensuing play, Manning proceeded to fumble, and the Packers put up a quick three points before the half. A similar situation transpired in Week 13 on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After winning their sixth straight game, the Giants offense laid an egg in Pittsburgh. However, the Giants still had a golden opportunity to take the lead late in the first half, but Manning made a careless pass, which was picked and returned 58 yards; it led to a Steeler touchdown.

While just one play, Manning made four key mistakes in four out of the Giants five losses. When the Giants step out on Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon, he can’t be putting the ball in harm’s way because as recent history has proven, one mistake can lead to a domino effect of events that lead to a loss. If playoff Eli Manning shows up, turnovers shouldn’t be an issue.

Will Playoff Eli Manning Rise Yet Again?

In the Giants 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl runs, Eli Manning was a man on a mission. In 2007, he recorded a quarterback rating of 95.7, but he more importantly only turned the ball over twice.

By playing his way out of the Southern Tampa heat, knocking off the hated Dallas Cowboys, outlasting Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre and the Packers in the frigid cold, and beating the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42, Manning became a New York legend.

His miraculous game-winning drive, most notably his heroic effort to get the ball downfield to David Tyree only solidified that notion.

Tyree’s helmet grab and Manning’s ability to get out of the sack make it the greatest play the sport, if not the sports world, has ever seen. But, Manning and the Giants’ 2007 Super bowl run wasn’t the only memorable run by the big blue fighting crew.

In 2011, the Giants made yet another Super Bowl run with Manning and company. They dominated the Atlanta Falcons at home and then proceeded to beat the top-seeded Packers in Green Bay. In the NFC Championship game, they grudged out a physical, nasty game on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, where Lawrence Tynes kicked the Giants to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years.

On that magical NFC playoff run, Manning was superb yet again. Committing only two turnovers, and recording a 103.7 quarterback rating, he set the stage for another legendary duel versus Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The Giants would yet again came out on top of that matchup. Manning and the Giants won this one on yet another game-winning drive, but not without another heroic pass by Manning to receiver Mario Manningham.

The Giants two Super Bowl runs have been influenced greatly by the playoff performance of Eli Manning. The question will be whether this Eli Manning shows up in January and helps carry the Giants to yet another Super Bowl victory.

Next: Where Are The Giants In The NFL Playoff Power Rankings?

Eli Manning Will Make Or Break The Giants Super Bowl Hopes

While not terrible, Eli Manning wasn’t his normal self in 2016; however, his playoff resume has shown that when come playoff time, he’s a different player. If he will be able to rekindle his postseason heroics remains a mystery, but one thing is for sure – Manning will either make or break the Giants Super Bowl hopes.