New York Giants Eli Manning
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

If Eli Manning and the New York Giants offense can’t get on track against the woeful Atlanta Falcons defense, they will never get on track this season.

Jason Leach

When the New York Giants take the field against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it will have been 11 days since their lackluster 34-13 defeat at the hands of the reigning World Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Since the loss to the Eagles, the Giants players and the coaching staff have come under tremendous scrutiny.

But no player has come under more scrutiny or taken the brunt of the blame for the Giants’ 1-5 start than their 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning.

The numbers show that Manning is completing a career-high 68.7 percent of his passes. But the numbers also show his QBR is 42.8, and he’s tied for 26th in the league in touchdown passes with only six.

Now you have to give a portion of the blame for Manning’s woes on the offensive line as they have been putrid all year. But when you consider that Manning has a top-five wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr., and a top-five running back in Saquon Barkley, you’d expect Manning to put up better numbers and for the Giants to average more than 19 points a game.

The biggest criticism of Manning is that he’s not stepping into his throws; he’s not surveying the field, and settling for too many check downs instead of challenging defenses downfield.

Due to this and the fact that, for the second year in a row, the Giants have gotten off to a 1-5 start, many feel that it’s only a matter of time before the Giants insert rookie Kyle Lauletta into the starting lineup.

But if there was ever a week where Manning and the Giants offense can turn things around, it’s this week as the Falcons are ranked 29th in total defense and 30th against the pass.

The Falcons’ defense has been decimated by injuries as they lost two safeties for the year in Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen. The Falcons will also be without linebacker Deion Jones.

In the Falcons’ six games this season, opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 1,830 yards and 16 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

With the Giants having a week and a half to prepare for this game, and the Falcons owning a weak and depleted defense, there’s no reason why Manning shouldn’t have his best game of the season.

What also bodes in Manning’s favor on Monday night is that he’s getting one of his weapons backs as Evan Engram will make his return after missing the previous three games with a sprained MCL.

If the offense gets on track as it should, the Giants stand a good chance of getting a much-needed win and building momentum into next week’s game against the Redskins before they head into their bye week.

Manning spoke earlier this week about how getting one win can turn things around for a team.

“It’s easy to get hot in this league, it’s possible. We just got to find a way to get one. This week on the road, a tough contest against Atlanta, but I think the guys are ready and focused, and ready to go out there and ready to play better football”.

Monday night will be a good barometer to see how much Manning has left in his tank as there’s no reason he should not excel against one of the worst defenses in the league that has just 10 sacks on the season.

Should he play well and the Giants win, there’s a chance they’ll play in meaningful games in the second half of the season.

If he has another subpar performance and the Giants lose, then it will be clear that despite having one year remaining on his contract, the Giants will have to part ways with him following this season.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.