Spotlight on ... Eli Manning, post-bye week

Ronald Martinez

Eli Manning was struggling before the bye week. His post-bye week history, however, is spectacular.

Before the bye week, New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning said he would not throw a football during his week off. If this is something he's done in the past and whatever else he usually does, history shows it seems to pay off.

As I sat around this morning looking around the web, I came across this article by Mark Cannizzaro in the New York Post. The stats brought to attention are certainly eye-opening:

"Dating back to 2008, in the first games after the bye week, Manning has led the Giants to a 4-0 record, thrown for 1,290 yards (an average of 322.5 per game) and has 10 touchdowns to only one interception.

What is it about Manning and his post-bye-week dominance?

Manning was asked about these stats and responded with a, "No idea." It's not something he thinks about and wonders. According to Manning, there isn't anything really special he does during his bye week. It's a week of just getting your head cleared and focusing on something else for a few days.

"I think you just try and get rest and come back fresh. Obviously I think having a week off just to get your mind off football for a little bit, then you come back and you're just excited, re-energized, and have a great week of preparation," said Manning. "Hopefully, we'll come out there and play great football."

Whatever it is Manning actually does during his bye week, no one really knows. All we know is he spent the week in Mississippi with his family. Everyone can come up with their own guess as to why Manning is so successful after a bye week. Coach Tom Coughlin believes it's just the excitement of getting back onto the field after a week of rest.

"He's excited, I can tel you that. He's excited about playing," said Coughlin. "He's looking at this as if it's a start to a new season. That, perhaps, is the way he's approached all games after the bye."

The Giants returned to practice earlier in the week and are preparing for their Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers. This game was already extremely important, but with the Dallas Cowboys losing to the Washington Redskins Thursday, the importance became greater. Manning is keeping his normal focus on just this game, and nothing else.

"All we can worry about is Green Bay right now. This is the game that's most important and we just have to treat it one game at a time," said Manning. "We know these last six games are important. They're going to dictate what our future is and whether our season ends up in the playoffs or not. You can't start looking to a game down the road when we have a big one right in front of us."

The Giants faced the Packers twice last year, once where they lost to Green Bay in the regular season, and once where they knocked them out of the playoffs to get to the NFC Championship game. If Manning's post-bye week numbers are what they really are, I think we'll be seeing the Manning Giants' fans love back on the field.

Follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell

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