Eli Manning gets head-start on Giants' next opponent

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- How did Eli Manning spend a rare Sunday off during football season?

Watching football, of course.

Manning said he did some channel-surfing during the afternoon, but while the division rival Dallas Cowboys were beating up on the New Orleans Saints in the evening, Manning's attention was focused elsewhere.

"I knew we had practice today -- I wanted to start watching a little Atlanta film, and get a little idea of what they’re doing," Manning said Monday.

The Atlanta Falcons are the New York Giants' next opponent, and Manning said he has now watched all of their games on film. He probably liked what he saw, considering Atlanta's defense is ranked third-to-last in passing yards allowed per game (276.3), and fifth-to-last in rushing yards allowed per game (153.5).

The Falcons fell to 2-2 after a surprising 41-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday -- a game in which Minnesota was without star running back Adrian Peterson yet still accumulated a whopping 558 total yards.

The Giants are also 2-2, but are coming off back-to-back wins, with the offense looking better and better as the season progresses. Manning threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in Thursday's 45-14 win over the Washington Redskins, but says there's still plenty of room for improvement.

"We missed a third down early on to Victor [Cruz], it was just a bad throw," Manning said. "I had a couple other throws we could have made in the green zone. There’s still some mishaps, and that’s football -- those are gonna happen every game, you’re never gonna have a perfect game, but you can strive for it."

Manning may have a new weapon at his disposal Sunday, rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who continued to make progress Monday and could make his debut against the Falcons. Regardless, it sounds like Manning is feeling more and more comfortable in Ben McAdoo's new offense.

"It’s just good to see the rhythm of this offense," Manning said. "I think the no-huddle has been effective, we’re pushing the tempo, we’re getting positive plays, guys are playing fast, we’re not having the mental errors."

Manning did flip on the Cowboys-Saints game in the second half, in time to see Dallas improve its record to 3-1 on the season.

"They’ve played well the last couple of weeks, a couple big wins," Manning said. "Obviously we know they’re 3-1, the Eagles are 3-1, so we gotta do some catching up."

Despite all the talk about the NFC East being weak this year, it's one of only two divisions that currently boasts two teams with three wins, along with the AFC North (Bengals, Ravens).

And the Giants, at 2-2, look like a playoff contender as well -- at this moment, anyway.

"It’s always strong," Manning said, of the NFC East. "That’s football -- you never know who’s gonna be the hot team, the hot division. It's all competitive, and you just gotta keep finding ways to win games."