Giants-Eagles Preview: Can Eli Manning Save the Day?

Bob Folger

Although it will be interesting to see Eli Manning back behind center again, that ship has sailed and it’s not coming back. With Daniel Jones’ ankle in a boot and unable to play this Monday night, this game probably isn't worth watching. becomes a totally meaningless watch.

With four games left in this lost season, the only reason to have kept watching was to track the rookie quarterback's development.

There was also the "hope" that the team will “run the table” to 2-14 and, in the process, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, but as we have said before, we can't fathom rooting for more misfortune in what's already been close to a decade of misfortune for this franchise. .

Then again, a run to 2-14 would likely seal head coach Pat Shurmur's fate. He's been overmatched, hampered at times due to the poor coaching talent around him, the inability to get the most out of his players and of course some of his own doing resulting from his stubbornness that has left his seat broiling, and the narrative around the organization depressing. 

Predictable is what this team has devolved into for the third straight year. They’ve become a very comfortable opponent, rarely putting up any fight. We’ve been waiting for this team to draw some kind of line in the sand. They have not, and if we have learned anything from watching this hapless group, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Even the return of 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning isn’t bringing any sense of anticipation to Monday night’s game. If anything, the more logical emotion is dread.

Giants fans are tired of seeing their Super Bowl hero being dragged down by the incompetence surrounding him. Now that he is nearing the end, he doesn’t need any more dirt thrown on his grave.

Our hope for Monday night is that Manning’s experience will help the running game by identifying favorable alignment matchups and making the right calls to give Saquon Barkley a fighting chance.

We think Barkley is finally over that early-season ankle injury and is ready to break out. Perhaps Manning’s experienced eye will help find him the space that the rookie quarterback could not.

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There’s also hope that the potential return of Evan Engram and Golden Tate will give Manning a full complement of receiving options that Daniel Jones has yet to have.

Manning will also be going against the weakest secondary this team has faced in quite some time, putting this Giants offense in a position to where it might actually score some points this week.

However, going up against the Eagles’ aggressive upfield front, we doubt that the Giants' underperforming offensive line will give Manning enough time to exploit that secondary, which will leave it to the offensive “brain trust” to devise a game plan to beat Philly to the punch.

This, remember, is a staff that hasn’t been able to out-think its opposite all year, so good luck with that.

On the other side of the ball, look for the Giants’ own cure-all secondary to help the struggling Eagles offense get better.

That very young secondary will once again be hindered by the “leadership” of veterans like Antoine Bethea, Alec Ogletree, and Janoris Jenkins.

The Eagles are 5-7 for a reason. Something’s missing. They have talent, and they compile stats, but they are constantly doing the things that lose you ball games.

They’ve beaten Green Bay, Chicago, and Buffalo, and hung tough against New England and Seattle. Those are five quality performances and show that they can play with anyone.

They’ve also lost to Detroit, Atlanta, and Miami (last week). That most recent loss should have the Eagles particularly frustrated and anxious to show a national tv audience that they’re better than that.

They will also be motivated by Dallas’ loss on Thursday night that opens the door for the Eagles to join Dallas at the top of the NFC East.

That’s right, at 5-7 the Eagles are practically in the driver’s seat with games against the Giants, Washington, the likely division decider against Dallas in two weeks, and the Giants again in Week 17.

We wish we could see a positive result Monday night for the Giants, but we don’t see it.

We’d love to see Manning run off at least one more NFL field as the winner that he most certainly is. That he’s playing for a misguided, ill-equipped franchise can't be pleasant,  not that Manning would ever let his frustrations show.

The organization that he led to two hugely historic Super Bowl upset wins has let him down by constantly surrounding him with subpar surrounding casts. 

Despite it all, Manning remains endeared to the majority of the Giants fan base, and sending him off with a win at home--which would have to wait until a week from Sunday and which he'll only get a chance at if Jones is still unable to play--would be a nice early Christmas present for his legion of fans.

The more likely expectation for the fans who have suffered through yet another horrid defensive performance and watching the quarterback, no matter who it is under center is constant siege in front of a national television audience

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