Around the NFL  

 

Eli Manning downplays his slump: 'I know I can get hot'

Print

The New York Giants have the fruitcake of NFL offenses -- it's far from great, only a select few enjoy it, but it somehow gets the job done.

Eli Manning's play has been particularly abhorrent of late. Manning has thrown for 194 yards, 195 yards and 193 yards in his last three games, respectively.

The former Super Bowl MVP is not fretting about his recent streak of poor play.

"I know I can make plays," Manning said, via The Associated Press. "I know I can get hot. I have to keep working. I'm confident that I can go out there and have a big game."

The Giants have leaned on a surging defense to place them in prime position for a playoff berth with three games to play. While the defense shuts teams down, the offense sputters, praying Odell Beckham will bail them out. Outside of OBJ's otherworldly plays, New York's offense often consists of running backs looking like folding chairs, collapsing for 2-yard gains, off-target Manning wobbles and blown blocking assignments.

The Giants have scored fewer than 15 points in consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 1-2 of 2014. New York has gone three straight with fewer than 300 total yards. Big Blue has generated just 59 "big plays" (rushes of 10-plus yards, passes of 20-plus yards), the second fewest in the NFL, only behind the Vikings' feeble attack.

Manning's offense is one of five that has yet to score 30 points in a contest this season. The other four: Texans, Bears, 49ers and Browns.

"I have to play better," Manning said. "I know that. I have to find completions and protect the ball better. I have to find completions, score points and hopefully win. I know we have to clean some things up."

Added Manning: "We've just had some unfortunate plays of late. I know I've missed Odell a play here and there. But these problems are easily fixable. We can have a great game plan and then make the plays that are there."

Manning's inordinate amount of errant, duck-like passes has led to speculation his arm might be ailing. The 35-year-old quarterback struggles with anticipation for stretches and isn't driving the ball into tight windows. Slants to Beckham have become the only reliable play in the Giants' playbook.

"I feel good," he said. "I am healthy. I know that people are going to criticize me, but I'm my own worst critic. I just have to do my job and prepare each week."

On Sunday, Manning faces a Detroit Lions defense that is allowing opponents to complete 72.9 percent of passes this year (worst in NFL) but has stiffened of late, allowing 16.4 points per game in the last seven contests.

With double-digit wins in sight before Christmas, Manning coming out of his funk just before a playoff run sounds compatible with his history. Right, Patriots fans? 

Print