Manning Bowl III is here.
Eli Manning is looking for his first victory over older brother Peyton Manning after dropping their first two encounters, in 2006 and 2010. But really, the New York Giants need a win Sunday against the visiting Denver Broncos or they will fall to 0-2 and dig themselves an early hole.
Here are five things to watch for:
Wilson time: After being benched following two fumbles in Week 1, running back David Wilson became the hot topic in New York this week. It is imperative that Wilson bounces back. With his speed, Wilson can add a different dimension to the Giants' offense. But the second-year player won't be on the field if he can't hang onto the ball. Another disastrous outing for Wilson could severely affect the Giants' fortunes for the rest of the season.
Wilson has to earn back the trust of head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, and it starts against the Broncos. It also remains to be seen how the Giants will use Brandon Jacobs in his second tour with the team. Jacobs or Da'Rel Scott could se action on passing downs and in the red zone. Running the ball will not only help the Giants keep the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands but also help boost Wilson's confidence. Coughlin said there's a possibility Wilson could return kickoffs, too -- something Wilson enjoyed a great deal last season.
Keep pace with Peyton: On opening weekend, Eli Manning threw for 450 yards in a losing effort at Dallas. Only one other quarterback threw for more yards -- Peyton Manning, with 462 in Denver’s victory over Baltimore. The Manning brothers combined for 11 touchdowns in Week 1.
The Giants obviously cannot let Peyton throw for another seven touchdowns. But just as important is whether Eli Manning can match his brother offensively -- and take care of the ball. Eli threw three interceptions against Dallas, and Peyton will make the Giants pay dearly for any turnovers.
Fewell-injected defense: The last time Perry Fewell tried to slow down Peyton Manning, during a Giants-Colts meeting in 2010, the Giants defensive coordinator watched Eli's big brother carve up his defense. Peyton Manning completed 20-of-26 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns in an Indianapolis victory. But Peyton Manning was masterful in orchestrating the Colts offense. Fewell dared the Colts to run, and Manning obliged, checking into several running plays as the Colts rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown.
"We went in with the smaller lineup," Fewell said. "And tried to say we were going to get pressure on you and do some things because you won’t run the football, and he took advantage of that. So definitely the mindset then was to stop the pass and not the run. That’s not my mindset this time."
Triple threat: The Giants receivers will get a chance to show who might have the best receiving trio in the league -- meaning Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle must come up big again. In Week 1, they became the first trio in Giants history to each have more than 100 yards receiving in the same game.
Secondary is primary: The Giants secondary will be put the test. Last week, the unit tried taking away Dez Bryant by shading a safety over the top and gave up short and intermediate passes to Miles Austin and Jason Witten.
It will be interesting to see how the Giants will defend Denver's passing attack. Cornerback Terrell Thomas could take on Welker in the slot. Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Aaron Ross, Antrel Rolle, Ryan Mundy and Terrell Thomas will all have to step up against Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Decker and tight end Julius Thomas. Jacquian Williams also could find himself covering Julius Thomas.