Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:48

Will New Orleans Saints, NY Giants Game Be Manning Homecoming?

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Giants-gameThe Giants are coming off two straight losses and are about to move in to the double jeopardy round of their schedule beginning on Monday night against the Saints. After the Saints, the Giants (6-4), are hoping to avoid another second-half season slump, must face Green Bay,  Dallas (twice), Washington and the Jets.

And the Giants are struggling with troublesome issues. Their running game has gone (injuries) and a porous offensive line means trouble for Eli Manning.

 The Giants fell to the Eagles (4-6) on Sunday 17-10 after Manning stepped out of the pocket and was hit from behind, fumbled, and the Eagles recovered and went on an 80-yard march that sent the Giants to their second straight loss.

There are a few things working in the Giants' favor as they head down the stretch. They still have a share of the lead in the NFC East. Yes, the Cowboys are surging and have a softer schedule down the stretch than the Giants and they still have two games left with Dallas.

Earlier this season, the Giants were 6-2 and riding high after beating the Patriots in dramatic fashion.

"This is the same team (Giants) that went up to New England and beat the Patriots, who hadn't lost there in 20 games," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

"It's time for us to put up or shut up," Giants safety Antrel Rolle told the media after the loss to the Eagles. "I'm not trying to be sitting at home the first week of in January watching these other teams that I know aren't better than us.

"We know we're a great team.  We have to go out there and prove it. We have to go out there are show them our toughness. Show them how mentally strong we are as a team."

Manning said the Giants have six games left and it all starts with the Saints, a team he grew up watching.

"At this point, you are aware of where everybody sits and you are aware of what all the records are," said Manning. "Every game is big now and we have to have a little rally here and start playing better football," said Manning.

Does Manning believe there is urgency in playing the Saints? "Every game is an urgency to win," answered the quarterback. "We are playing a good team (Saints) and we know we're going to be in a tough atmosphere. It's just a matter of us having great preparation and going out there and playing better than we did against the Lions. We have to start playing better football."

Manning said he looks forward to playing the Saints in the Superdome. "It is always fun to go to your hometown and play a game, especially since I was a Saints fan growing up. I've seen many games in the Superdome, so I'm excited about the opportunity to go in there and play again.

"My dad (Archie) played most of his games there and he's got his name and number up on the ceiling there."

Eli never played in the Superdome as a quarterback at Newman.

"Both of my brothers (Cooper and Peyton) played there, but when I was at Newman we never reached a state championship game, and then at Ole Miss we never made it to the Sugar Bowl."

What's it like being a quarterback of the Giants in New York?

"If you're winning games, whatever you do is right," said Manning. "If you're not winning, whatever you do is wrong. That's just the way it is in New York.

"I’ve grown as a quarterback over the years. Every year you improve, you learn something new, you become better adjusted to the NFL."

Manning will turn 30 in January and two years ago he signed a six-year, $97.5 million contract extension that netted him the richest annual salary in NFL history.

After struggling last Sunday against the Eagles, look for Eli to come back in what should be a high-scoring game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday Night Football

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports Talk for your Saints, LSU jerseys)

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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