Moeller: Manning Should Take It To The Air Against Cardinals

Eli Manning should take to the air again.

Manning surprised everyone last week when he came out throwing in a quick huddle, up tempo style during the team’s first nine plays from scrimmage against Philadelphia.

The approach certainly kept Philadelphia off balance for most of the first half and it looked like the Giants were cruising toward a victory.

Take away the typical breakdowns – offensive line and special teams – and Manning had his best day this season and one of the best ever in a 37-for-57, 434 yards, three touchdown performance.

Like Philadelphia last week, Arizona’s pass rush led by Chandler Jones – league-leading 15 sacks – will be the offensive line’s main priority.

Manning’s quick hits over the middle and sideline slants kept the Eagles’ pass rush at bay. He kept finding people open all over the field. Do the same this week. Let Manning air it out in game the Giants have a legitimate shot to win.

Arizona is very stingy against the run as they have allowed just over 90 yards per game. Over the past six weeks, the Cardinals’ defense has elevated it status from 24th  to 7th in the league.

So much for an already inept Giants’ running game. Yet, a 10-carry infusion of Wayne Gallman can help keep the defense honest.

On paper, it appears Manning won’t have it as easy as he did against a poorly performing Philadelphia defense that faltered for the second consecutive week. Since Week 10, the Cardinals are first in yards allowed and passing yards allowed per game.

Still, the Giants’ budding receiving corps of Evan Engram, Tavares King, and Roger Lewis have complemented Sterling Shepard well. King will miss the game with a concussion.

Their passing game likely will be their lone option this Sunday afternoon in the desert.

If the Giants can keep the pressure off Manning and avoid the untimely turnover, they will have a good shot against the underachieving Cardinals.

Arizona will turn the controls back over to Drew Stanton at quarterback after fellow journeyman Blaine Gabbert was a miserable 16-for-41, 189 yards in a loss to Washington last week. Gabbert also was sacked five times.

It could be a good recipe toward a defensive feast for the Giants who will be missing linebacker B.J. Goodson in the middle, but will be relatively healthy. Safety Landon Collins, who left the Eagles’ game with an ankle injury, is expected to play. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon need bounce-back games to accomplish their mission.

In all likelihood, this is a tight game down to the wire and decided by the foot of either the Giants’ Aldrick Rosas or the Cardinals’ Phil Dawson.

Overall, though, Manning take it to the air. Allow him to enjoy the moment. This could be his final full-fledged showing as Davis Webb could make an appearance in the season finale next week at home against Washington.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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