Try as we might with this New York Giants team we can't seem to avoid it. No matter what, we always seem to come back to discussing the play of Eli Manning and the fate of Tom Coughlin.
Sunday's meltdown against Minnesota has, of course, fanned those flames anew.
In a very blunt assessment of Eli, Deadspin wonders if Manning really has improved or if that is just hopeful talk.
"For all the talk of Manning's supposed "turnaround" season, his numbers are actually quite atrocious. He's 24th out of 25 quarterbacks in efficiency rating, he's first in interceptions and his overall stats are actually worse than they've been the last couple of years."
If Eli doesn't rebound from Sunday's four-interception disaster that will make Coughlin's job that much more difficult.
The New York Times is already wondering if Coughlin might bump The Knicks' Isiah Thomas as the New York coach on the hottest seat.
It appears to be that time of year again, when the Meadowlands wind starts whipping and the leaves are almost done falling, and Tom Coughlin's jaw starts dropping as he watches Eli Manning throw incomprehensible pass after pass and wonders, Is this all there is? ... If Thomas somehow survives, Coughlin could soon be back where he was last winter, on the hottest seat in town, even as he sits snugly in excellent wild-card position. When all is said and done, his fate will ultimately be tied to whether Manning can rebut the belief that he plays smaller as the games get bigger.
All of this gnashing of teeth is typical of the past couple of seasons. Despite the 7-4 record and the lead in the wild-card race the signs are ominous.
GM Jerry Reese, though, did his best to put a positive face on where the Giants stand at this point.
"It's not like we're 4-7," he said. "We're 7-4 and we're in good position. I think we should be playing better, and I'm not sure why we aren't, because we should be ascending at this point. Maybe something will happen and we'll get on another winning streak and get some momentum. We won six games in a row and I don't think you can be an awful team and win six games in a row. It's men against men. It's the NFL. So I don't think we're an awful team by any stretch. We played an awful game."
Amazing what one bad loss can cause in what otherwise has been a very enjoyable season thus far.