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Mathias Kiwanuka: New York Giants' D must step up

Despite turnover machine Eli Manning, the New York Giants' three-game winning streak has vaulted them back into the race for the putrid NFC East division title, at 3-6.

While Manning was the key cog behind the team's two Super Bowl runs, this season's defense has picked up its quarterback, defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said.

"You can't just look at him and say, 'Oh, he's the reason (for the team's struggles this season),'" Kiwanuka said Tuesday on his weekly radio spot, per The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.). "I have no doubt in my mind he's going to get it turned around and start putting up the numbers that we're used to seeing."

Manning has 16 interceptions on the season, including four games of three or more. He threw his third pick six of the season last week as the Giants eked out a 24-20 win over the 3-6 Oakland Raiders.

"But until (Manning's turnaround) happens, we have to be able to take it upon ourselves as a defense and say, 'You know what, he's carried our butts when we weren't getting it done for a number of games, a number of seasons even, so we have to make sure we can do the same for him while he's going through it,'" Kiwanuka said.

The Giants' defense has been a bear against the run all season and the secondary is starting to mesh. Shockingly, if Manning can turn his wayward season around, the team that never dies still can make a run for the playoffs.

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