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49ers' Harbaugh considers Giants' Manning among game's best

Look, we agree, this whole "Eli Manning as an elite QB" debate is a little bit played out.

For a guy floating around town with an 81.6 career passer rating, it's a conversation that might be dead on arrival.

The argument for Manning, however, will pick up steam if he can propel his Giants past the streaking 7-1 Niners at Candlestick on Sunday.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was invariably asked about "Eli the Elite" this week and didn't mince words.

Is Peyton's little brother among the best?

"Yes," Harbaugh said.

The follow-up was how Harbaugh defines "elite."

"Playing their position at a very high level, at the highest level," he answered. 

Honestly, what else would he say about Manning just days before they go to war with each other? He kept the Giants' bulletin board clean.

Let's see Eli keep the Giants afloat down the stretch before we plow on with the heady banter. 

Manning's no longer the boyish interception-throwing automaton who derailed New York's offense in 2010, and he's sporting a 98.8 rating -- fifth in the NFL. That's just a hair above Alex Smith, of all people, putting us right back in disturbing territory.

What do you think? Is Eli elite?

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