With constant playoff appearances and Super Bowl victories in the past six years, a great head coach in Tom Coughlin and a great quarterback in Eli Manning, no one in their right mind predicted the New York Giants would have started off the season in the fashion that they have. At 0-5, the Giants are off to their worst start since the 1987. With another loss, the Giants would be inching their way to equating their worst start in franchise history when the team went 0-9 to open up the season in 1976.
The Giants have been one of the most surprisingly bad teams in the National Football League this season. The offensive line cannot seem to give Eli Manning any time to throw the ball. The defense is struggling to get to the opposing quarterback. And the running game is currently ranked dead last in the league, averaging a gruesome 56.8 yards per game.
Would it be a smart move for the Giants to just tank the season and play for a high draft pick? One could argue that that would put the Giants in a great position to fix the offensive line. The 2014 NFL Draft has one of the deepest offensive linemen classes in quite some time. With players such as Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio and Antonio Richardson, the Giants will definitely be major players when it comes to drafting one of these players.
But tanking the season to get a good draft pick? I myself am not a fan of tanking. You know who else probably isn’t a huge fan of this cowardly move, Eli Manning. With two Super Bowl championships and two Super Bowl MVP’s and a deep rooted family history of football, Eli Manning is as fierce as competitor this game has ever seen.
So if the Giants leader is such a fierce competitor, then why are the other players lacking this same fire? As a leader of this team, Eli Manning has to motivate his teammates; he clearly isn’t doing a very good job at it. It is time for Eli to gather his men before tonight’s game against the Chicago Bears and get them motivated to play football, as a team, not as individuals.
Surprisingly, this team is far from being out of the playoff race. Even at 0-5 the Giants find themselves just two games out of first place. How is that possibly? Well, they’re playing in not only one of the worst divisions in football, but one of the worst division’s in the history of the National Football League. Every single team in the NFC East; the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins and obviously the Giants are below .500 through the first five weeks of the season. The last time that has happened was 1970.
It is time for Eli Manning to be Eli Manning. He is a champion. He is a leader. He is a great football player. However, this season Eli has been anything but his normal self. The Giants desperately need the old Eli back. With his team playing as poor as they have been, Eli is trying way too hard to salvage the season. It is time for Eli Manning to step up and drag the Giants out of the abyss that they have been in all season.
Tonight is an excellent time for the team to start. One of the biggest problems the Giants have faced all season has been their offensive line. So far, Manning has been sacked 15 times this season (3 times per game). The line has created major problems for Eli Manning. However, despite their struggles, the Giants are still ranked 10th in the league in passing.
Facing the Bears tonight might seem a bit intimidating at first. However, if you look at what the Bears have done defensively so far, you will see that they have had their fair share of struggles. Currently, the Bears ranked towards the bottom of the list in not only sacks, but also pass defense. Throughout the first five games of the season, the Bears have only been able to produce seven sacks, while giving up just over 278 yards in the air per game, putting them at 24th in the league.
The Giants have an excellent opportunity offensively to get back into a rhythm. The offensive line is facing the worst pass rush they have seen all season. If they can win the battle in the trenches against the Bears, think of the confidence they can carry into next week when the face Minnesota; a defense who are also at the bottom of the list when it comes to getting to the quarterback. If the line can gain confidence, Manning will have much more time to throw the football which in turn can awaken wide receiver Hakeem Nicks who has had his own problems this season.
So are the Giants really in as bad of a position as many think? No, they’re not. Due to the fact that they play in the worst division in football, they are still much alive in the playoff hunt. Crazy things have happened with “Big Blue” before. If they want to turn things around they have to start tonight.
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