When the Giants and Ravens meet this Sunday, the game will feature two quarterbacks who have made headlines in the past two seasons for calling themselves as elite.
Unfortunately for both Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, neither has played that way this year. Manning, though, has owned up to his bad performances, and as always, remained even-keeled.
“Whether you’ve played your best game or your worst game, each week you go in confident,” Manning said. “You know you have the ability and you know you can make plays. Even from last week, you can draw from the good plays, [and] you can draw on the good drives that you had. We didn’t make the big plays in the game, [but] this week, hopefully it’s different.”
The Giants (8-6) need Manning to make those plays to keep their playoff hopes alive. New York is currently in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with the Redskins and Cowboys, although Washington is technically in first place since they own the best record in the division.
Optimistic Giants fans can take solace in knowing all isn’t lost, because Big Blue is actually one game better than they were last season after 14 games.
Manning was the catalyst during that stretch, so the Giants’ faithful, and especially head coach Tom Coughlin, are hoping he gets hot again.
“Let’s wait until [the season] is over and done with and then we’ll talk about that,” Coughlin said when asked to compare last season’s final stretch to this season. “No question [that] two weeks ago we were able to accomplish [goals] as a team, [but] last week, not so well. But Eli would be the first one to comment on that and he doesn’t need me to say that. We’re hoping that everyone plays better and with more consistency, not just him. … We’re striving for that again.”
Manning has his usual air of quiet confidence this week, perhaps because he’s stepped up before while everyone was counting out the Giants.
“I think every game you go in wanting to play well. As the quarterback, you have the ball in your hands on every play, [so] you’ve got to make good decisions,” Manning said. “We need to get good production from everyone. It all comes around to everyone doing their own responsibility. … Everybody’s got to play well and do their job. And you just hope the best comes out and the team understands the circumstances.”
Big Blue notes
»Manning had a historic run last year when he shattered the team record for passing yards and threw 29 touchdowns passes. But his numbers have dipped this season. After 14 games a year ago, he had 4,362 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. This season, he has 3,590 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes and 15 picks.
» Offensive linemen David Baas (hip/shoulder) and Chris Snee (hip), defensive end Justin Tuck (shoulder), and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) all missed practice on Thursday.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.