Is it downhill from here?

Are Eli Manning's best days behind him?

  •  
    37%
  •  
    63%

(Total votes: 3,901)

YES
NO

OUT OF TIME

Mazzeo By Mike Mazzeo
ESPN.com
Archive

Eli Manning is always capable of doing something you don't expect.

So, it would be foolish to suggest that he can't put together another stunning Super Bowl run, since he's already done it twice.

Manning has already cemented his legacy as the best New York quarterback of all time, if the metric that defines the best New York quarterback of all time is number of Super Bowls won.

But perhaps the 32-year-old's best days are behind him, and that's OK.

The Giants' brass failed to reload talent-wise and paid for it with another playoff-less season -- the franchise's second in a row and fourth in the past five years.

This is not solely on Manning, who leads the NFL in interceptions with 20. Not by a long shot. Though he's certainly a part of it.

The Giants have holes everywhere, especially along the offensive line, which needs to be revamped. The defense and rushing attack could use a revamping, too. And what happens to Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck and Antrel Rolle?

Changes are coming. How quickly can this team be fixed?

Manning's best days may be behind him, if only because the Giants may never be able to put together rosters as talented as the ones that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2008 and 2012.

Those teams were so complete. All they had to do was get in, and let the defense and Manning do the rest.

It's just hard to put it all together like that.

He's also never been injured before, starting every game for the Giants since 2005.

Given all that, it wouldn't be surprising if Manning's best days are behind him.

It just wouldn't be a good idea to bet against him.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

GIVE HIM A SUPPORTING CAST

Darcy By Kieran Darcy
ESPN.com
Archive

Eli Manning will turn 33 on Jan. 3 - five days after the Giants complete their season with a meaningless game against the Redskins.

It won't be a happy birthday, but there's no reason to think Manning's washed up.

He's still relatively young, and has been extraordinarily healthy -- Manning has started 159 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.

That streak has continued despite Manning being under much more duress this year. Last season he was sacked a league-low 20 times. This year he's already been sacked 33 times in just 13 games.

The offensive line should get some of the blame for Manning's subpar 2013. Jerry Reese will be looking to upgrade that unit next season.

That won't be the only area Reese tinkers with. Victor Cruz has had a good season, but fellow wideout Hakeem Nicks has been disappointing, and new tight end Brandon Myers has been worse than that.

Manning hasn't had the kind of receiving corps he's been used to in recent years - nor has he had much of a running game to keep opposing defenses guessing. There'll be changes at the skill positions next year, as well, no doubt.

Yes, some of the blame must fall on the quarterback - he's tied for the league lead in interceptions after all, with 20.

But did you know Manning also threw 20 interceptions back in 2007, when the Giants won the Super Bowl?

The truth is, Eli Manning's statistics have never been gaudy - not nearly as good as his older brother's.

But Eli rises to the occasion in the fourth quarter and the postseason, and there's no reason to believe he won't do that again -- with an improved team around him.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer at ESPNNewYork.com.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.