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Week 12 Critical Match-Up: Good Eli vs. Bad Eli

If the Giants want to win their game against the Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning is going to have to defeat his mortal enemy: Bad Eli

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The saying around the NFL is that if you have two starting quarterbacks, you have no starting quarterback. For most of the 2014 season, that hasn't been an issue for the New York Giants. Eli Manning has been playing some of the most efficient football of his career, throwing 17 touchdowns to just six interceptions through the first nine games of the season.

(It could even be argued that Eli should be credited with 18 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, but the referees disagree on that)

Then, the Giants other starting quarterback, Bad Eli, reared his ugly head against the San Francisco 49ers.

There were times when Eli Manning was brilliant against the 49ers, such as when he marched the team down the field to score on its first possession, worked the pocket to throw a frozen rope where only Larry Donnell could get it, or escaped a sack by Aaron Lynch to get the ball to Odell Beckham to keep the chains moving.

Then there were times when Bad Eli tagged in and threw the ball to the guys in the gold helmets instead of the blue ones. Pressure hemorrhaging through (most of) the offensive line contributed. But there were times when Bad Eli locked in on receivers, and defenders were able to jump the route. Or, he simply threw the ball directly to opposing defenders.

That's Bad Eli.

During his career, when Manning has thrown at least one interception, the Giants win 72 percent of their games (39-15 overall). When he does throw an interception, they lose 54 percent of their games (49-58 overall).

With the offensive line in flux, and the running game most easily described as "Anemic At Best", if the Giants want to points, they are going to have to come from Eli's right arm.

Odell Beckham Jr is a burgeoning star at wide receiver, and his own match-up against the Dallas secondary could be a critical one. If he can score points and command the attention of the defense, it would open things up for Rueben Randle, Preston Parker, Larry Donnell, and the Giants' running game.

However, Beckham can't do anything on his own. He needs Manning to be Good Eli and get him the ball to be able to use his talents.

For the Giants to win on Sunday, Good Eli will have to win his match-up against himself and subdue Bad Eli, hopefully for good.