A win is a win, I get that. That is especially true at this time of year when the team is getting itself in position to make the playoffs and even trying to get the best seeding that it can in the tournament. Certainly, even in terms of harbingers and predictors of future performance, there were enough good things to take out of last night's game. The defense was overpowering against a very good OL. The DBs were outstanding in coverage and the LBs played one of their better games. The running game was excellent, although not as consistent as you would like to see it (more about that in a later post). So in the big picture, a good running game and a strong defense are the exact components you want to be successful in the playoffs, especially in the northeast and in cold weather. The last three games the Giants have are all cold weather venues: at home against the Eagles next week and the last two against Green Bay and Washington, both outdoor, cold weather stadiums. But we analyze these games not just to be happy about the wins and to take pleasure in the good points, but also to criticize the worrisome aspects of the game. And I'll return to the question that is the title of this post, "What the heck is wrong with Eli?"
Let's pull out the excuses: Eli plays in bad weather, the wind and the cold play tricks with the ball and Detroit was freezing cold yesterday. Oh wait.... game was played in a dome. It's hard to hear on the road in a dome and the team is likely to miss a line call, adjustment or play change because of the noise leading to a miscommunication between QB and WR causing the INT. Oh wait.... the game was played in a neutral site and it was so quiet, it could have been a stanza in 'Twas the night before Christmas. Not a creature was stirring, not even a drunk, misguided Lions fan. Eli's WRs are injured, he's playing with subs and they don't know the offense well, so it's likely that the QB and WR won't be on the same page leading to an INT. Oh wait, Nicks was back and both the INT's were passes intended for him on perfect routes that he ran. You get the idea. Add to that the fact that Giants had 200+ yards rushing, that Eli has now been sacked only once in 6 games and has largely had a clean pocket to throw out of and there's only one conclusion to draw. But there's one other thing to lean on that adds to my argument, that upsets me even more. Eli missed a TD pass to Nicks when he had the DB beat and the ball was overthrown. I can almost live with the INT's if there is plenty of productivity to compensate for it. My assertion is not that Eli is a bad QB; in fact I still think he is a great QB, but he is sure not having a good year. He's got to get his game back together if the Giants are going to have any kind of success in the playoffs this year.