Eli Manning
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Here are the top five games New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has played against NFC East opponents late in the season.

Through the December/January portion of the regular season, Eli Manning has faced NFC East opponents 34 times in his career. In those 34, he’s just over .500, with a record of 18-16.

Although those are the toughest games on the schedule each year, Eli has come to play in each one. And some of the performances were crucial during playoff runs for the New York Giants.

That being said, here are the five best performances Eli has had against division opponents late in the season.

5. 2011 Week 14 Win on the Road vs. Dallas

The 6-6 Giants came into AT&T Stadium to face the 7-5 Cowboys in a prime time Sunday Night Football matchup. Big Blue had just been coming off a four-game losing streak and needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Eli Manning, therefore, did just what he needed to do.

Completing 27-47 through the air for 400 yards and two touchdowns, the Giants came back late to defeat the Cowboys 37-34. Both touchdown passes came in the second half as well. The first was a 47-yard score to former Giants receiver Mario Manningham in the third quarter. The second was a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown to former Giants tight end Jake Ballard from eight yards out.

Although throwing an interception, Eli, for the most part, was precise through the air and was a huge factor in the win. The Giants moved up to 7-6 on the year, and eventually went on to win Super Bowl 46.

4. 2017 Week 15 Loss at Home vs. Philadelphia

It was late in the dreadful year that was the 2017 season for the Giants. With a 2-11 record, this game against the 11-2 Eagles wasn’t going to mean much other than Big Blue’s draft pick the following offseason. However, it was still an important game to the organization and happened to be one of Eli Manning’s best games of the season.

The long-time Giants quarterback was 37-57 through the air, racking up 434 yards and three touchdowns. With Odell Beckham Jr. out for the season at that point, other receivers had to step up and did they ever.

Former Giant Tavarres King had two scores, one from 13 yards out and one from 57 yards out. Receiver Sterling Shepard also had one score in the second quarter from 67 yards out.

Facing the Eagles twice a year, Manning is obviously very used to how they play and knows what to look for in their secondary. However, in the end, the Eagles were still the Eagles and the Giants were still the Giants. Philadelphia pulled away in the end with a 34-29 win, as the Giants fell to 2-12 on the year.

3. 2012 Week 17 Win at Home vs. Philadelphia

It was the last game of the regular season, and the Giants’ playoff hopes were erased at this point. They were 8-7 hosting the 4-11 Eagles at MetLife Stadium, and although it wouldn’t mean much, Big Blue hoped to come away with the victory.

In that game, Eli Manning was near-perfect. He completed 13 of his 21 passes and managed to rack up 208 yards through the air and a miraculous five touchdowns. Three of those scores were in the first quarter as well, as former receiver Rueben Randle had two, and former running back David Wilson had one from 15 yards out.

It, of course, didn’t end there, as former receiver Victor Cruz caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. And then, in the fourth quarter to top it off, former fullback Henry Hynoski had a touchdown reception from one yard out.

With five touchdowns, it was a new career-high for Manning at the time. The Giants eventually pulled away with the victory over Mike Vick and the Eagles, 42-7.

2. 2009 Week 14 Loss at Home vs. Philadelphia

The 7-5 Giants hosted the 8-4 Eagles in The Meadowlands in a prime time Sunday Night Football matchup. A game that had huge playoff implications, and a must-win for Big Blue.

Eli Manning was hot for the entire game, just as the Giants needed him to be. 27-38, 391 yards, and three touchdowns for Eli, as they were able to put up 38 points on the Philadelphia defense. All touchdowns were to former Giants, with a 68-yard score to receiver Hakeem Nicks, a 61-yard score to receiver Domenik Hixon and a four-yard score to tight end Kevin Boss.

It was a great game for Eli and the Giants offense, however not for the Giants defense. The Eagles eventually came away with a 45-38 victory. It was a shootout, and it put a big damper on the Giants’ playoff hopes that season.

1. 2011 Week 17 Win at Home vs. Dallas

The 8-7 Giants hosted the 8-7 Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in the final game of the 2011 regular season. It was another prime time Sunday Night Football matchup, and essentially the NFC East championship. Whoever won would get into the NFL playoffs, with the loser missing out.

Just like how he was that entire season, Eli Manning was red hot. He completed 24 of his 33 throws for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Manning also didn’t throw an interception throughout the entire contest.

With a big first half, Eli threw a 74-yard touchdown to former receiver Victor Cruz in the first quarter. In the second, Manning continued his great performance with a 10-yard touchdown pass to former running back Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants eventually went into halftime with a 21-0 lead, and it didn’t stop there.

Late in the fourth quarter, Manning threw a four-yard touchdown pass to former receiver Hakeem Nicks in the back corner of the end zone. It gave Eli the record for most fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a season with 15.

The Giants thus won the game 31-14 and were on to the playoffs. They eventually, of course, won Super Bowl XLVI that year against the New England Patriots.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.