By Lawrence Edwards
Eli Manning is probably the most disrespected and disliked super bowl winning QB in the league. Now I will admit he has had his down times, but for all of that, Eli has shined in many moments. He is a two time super bowl MVP and he has never missed a game in his entire career. Now when people read this or when they see the title of this article they might, at first thought, turn their nose up at the notion of Eli Manning being named league MVP. Some might laugh and call me delusional. But if you are a real football fan then let me tell you why this might not be as crazy as it seems;
1. The last two years under Ben McAdoo has been Eli Manning best seasons statistically by far
2. He has thrown for 30 TD’s in back to back seasons for the first time in his career.
3. He will now have more than just the Odell Beckham show at his disposal.
4. The last two years he’s had his lowest interception percentage since 2008.
5. With pretty much the same team from 2014 to 2015 he increased his TD’s by 5
With that being said there is no reason to think Eli can’t greatly approve on those numbers and actually be in the running for league MVP this coming season. The Giants run game has been non-existent the last two seasons, despite the improved offense. Eli has had to pretty much carry the offense on his back with the aide of OBJ, who has accounted for 25 of Manning’s 65 TDs passes the last two seasons. The defense was abysmal, and couldn’t get off the field at all to give the offense more time to work. I don’t care what anyone says, a QB can pad his stats all he wants, but without an at least respectable run game and decent pass rush and a defense that can get off on third downs, there will be a cap on what the man under center can actually do. But even with a horrid defense and laughable run game (if you can call it that) Eli was still at times brilliant in the pocket. His footwork has greatly improved and he has never been afraid to step up in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield. The G-Men has had no run game. Everyone knew that outside of Odell there was no one to actually fear on the offense. With teams knowing who the ball was going to, if he was slightly open, they still couldn’t stop Eli from hooking up with his prize receiver for 1,450 yards and 13 TDs 2015. Now with Jerry going out of his way to beef up the defense and bring in some major reinforcements in the receiving game, Eli should have all he needs to work with and take the league by storm.
The addition of Sterling Shepard and the major possibility that Cruz will be back in the fold, whether he’s rusty or not, to go along with OBJ will offer Manning the prime opportunity to build on his success in McAdoo’s QB friendly offense. The defense should be vastly improved. Enough to get off the field more and give Eli and company more time to inflict damage with what should be a top 10 offense again, maybe could even crack top 5. Teams will be forced to play less double teams on Beckham with Shepard and Cruz being on the field at the same time. Eli should have plenty of open guys running up the field to choose from which could increase his completion percentage as well his total yardage. With his new stable of weapons at his disposal there is no reason to believe Manning can’t crack 5,000 passing yards and 40 TD’s for the first time in his career and stay in the single digit range in interceptions this season. In 2015 he marched onto the field with pretty much the same team he had his first year in McAdoo’s offense and increased his TD’s from 30 to 35. So it is definitely not impossible that Manning could put up MVP numbers this season with the upgrades to the offense around him. This could shape up to be Eli’s best statistical season ever. You laugh now but in the back of your mind you know I’m right.