New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is in a slump. He may not want to call it that, Tom Coughlin may not want to call it that, and his teammates may not want to call it that, but when it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and throws like a duck … it's a slump. Still, Big Blue's fearless leader claims he's not worried about his struggles or the teams' struggles in recent weeks … even after a 31-13 beatdown at the hands of the lowly Cincinnati Bengals.
"I’m not worried. Every year we have gone through stretches where we didn’t play our best football and we were still able to bounce back. That’s what is going on right now," Manning said. "I have to start playing better personally and we need to as a group as well. We still have good players and a good scheme. We just have to put it together better."
Statistically, this is one of the worst stretches of Manning's career. In fact, there are any number of statistics that can be pointed out that not only back up that statement, but back up the Giants' overall futility in recent weeks. Moreover, it's doing little to shed the stigma of them being a very bad team in both November and the second half of the NFL season under head coach Tom Coughlin.
It was speculated early last week that perhaps one factor in Manning's recent struggles is that he's suffering from a tied arm. It would make sense considering the team has played in 14 straight weeks dating back to the preseason, but a notion he quickly dismissed on Sunday night.
"If my arm were tired I would tell the coaches and we would adjust. I don’t feel like we are overthrowing by any means, and the ball is still coming out fine, so I don’t see anything into it," he said.
Whatever the case may be, the Giants no longer have the luxury of time to help figure it out. They've gone from 6-2 to 6-4 and had their NFC East lead shrunken to 1.5 games. When they return from the bye week, there's a very realistic chance that lead will be down to a single game. From there, they enter what will be the most difficult six-game stretch of any team in the NFL this season.
There will be no backing into the playoffs this year. If the Giants are going to make it, they're going to have to do it the hard way.
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