The Buffalo Bills have made an early name for themselves defensively by forcing a ton of turnovers, and the club leads the NFL with a plus-11 turnover ratio after five games. On Sunday, they'll play a quarterback that has been notorious for turning the ball over in bunches during his career in the New York Giants' Eli Manning.
Manning threw a career-high 25 interceptions in 2010, and after a strong start to the 2011 season (8-2 TD-INT ratio through Week 4), but threw three more picks as the Giants fell to Seattle at home last Sunday. Which Manning should Bills fans expect on Sunday: the Manning from the start of this season, or the Manning from last week and last year?
"Eli has been terrific this season for the most part," said Ed Valentine of BigBlueView.com. "He has a 102.3 quarterback rating right now, by far the best of his career. Sunday's loss to Seattle was the first game this season in which Manning had a significant number of turnovers. He had two fumbles, which was a result of the poor offensive line play. Quarterbacks fumble when the pocket collapses almost immediately and they don't have the opportunity to secure the ball. It happens. As for the three picks, one was a bad throw, one was a tip by Victor Cruz that really isn't Manning's fault, and the final one was really a last-second 'we're losing and I'm just gonna chuck it and hope something good happens' kind of play. Meaningless, really. In five games, he has probably thrown two really bad balls. That's pretty good."
Turnovers were a huge issue for the Giants in a disappointing 2010 season, and head coach Tom Coughlin has preached ball security all summer, according to Valentine.
"Manning's judgment in terms of questionable throws has been much better this year," says Valentine. "Taking care of the football is a point Tom Coughlin has hammered and hammered and hammered on, and the offense has been making an effort there."
In one career game against Buffalo - way back in 2007, the year the Giants won the Super Bowl - Manning threw two picks, lost two fumbles (fumbling five times in total) and was sacked twice, but the Giants nonetheless beat the Bills 38-21 on a horrid day at Ralph Wilson Stadium.