After a 38-13 one and done playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants may never win a playoff game again as long as Eli Manning is their quarterback. Giant fans may think I am crazy for saying this, but here’s my reasoning why:
The NFC East isn’t going to get any easier. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot have lived up to the hype and then some. After leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 season and putting up a heck of a fight against the NFL’s hottest team, the Green Bay Packers; Dak, Zeke, and the Cowboys look poised to be Super Bowl contenders for years to come. Maybe one of the most disappointing teams this season was the Washington Redskins. All the Redskins had to do was beat the Giants in the last game of the season at home. No Odell in the second half and a conservative Giants offense proved to be too much for the apathetic Redskins team. However, a new defensive coordinator may be just what the doctor ordered for the Skins’ going into next season. Washington’s defense struggled at times throughout the year, even with recent free agent superstar signing of Josh Norman. The Philadelphia Eagles should be excited about the future with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz under center for years to come. Although the Eagles finished 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs, Wentz was limited with offensive weapons. Below average wide receivers and no run game to speak of made it difficult for the rookie quarterback to keep pace with teams putting up an abundance of points against the Eagles defense. I expect the Eagles to make offseason moves to provide Wentz with more offensive pieces.
Eli Manning isin’t getting any younger. The 36 year old led the Giants to an 11-5 regular season record, but by no means had a terrific year. Manning only threw 26 touchdowns with a whopping 16 interceptions to give him a 86.0 quarterback rating; his lowest since 2013. If it wasn’t for the Giants and their NYPD (New York Pass Defense) defense, the Giants probably would not have even made the playoffs. “Playoff Eli” also did not show up against the Green Bay Packers in which Manning completed just 52% of his passes, and turned the ball over twice resulting in a quick exit from this years playoffs. Victor Cruz very well may have played his last game as a Giant and with below average tight ends and running backs, Manning will struggle to find production on offense with players other than the last name Beckham.
So, where do the Giants go from here? They will likely be very active this offseason as they have over $30 million in salary-cap space. What will they do with that money? Last offseason they focused on defense, signing Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, and Olivier Vernon. This season they should be focused on surrounding Eli Manning with more offensive weapons. Teams have started to figure out how to better cover Odell and have been able to get into his head during games. The Giants should look to draft or sign an athletic tight end to improve the passing game and a running back to complement Paul Perkins. Even if the Giants make such signings, Eli has to prove that he is capable of playing well and limiting turnovers. His lack of athleticism and age are catching up to him and he is starting to look like Peyton did in his last NFL season. Maybe he will prove me wrong and bounce back next season, but as of now Manning and the Giants look like the odd team out in a division that will be one of the league’s best for years to come.