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Does Eli Manning Play Better on the Road? Outside the Division? Worse in December?

Before I get into the actual data I want to make it clear that I have no idea how this is going to turn out. Everyone talks about how Eli Manning has trouble throwing in windy Giants stadium, so I’m setting out to see realistically whether or not this is actually true.

Let’s take a look at the season’s numbers year by year.

I should note: that the statistics are courtesty of nfl.com via the “game logs” feature.

2004

Home 57 complietions ,108 attempts for 636 yards (5.8 yards per attempt) with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (a 66 rating)

Away39 completions in 88 attempts for 407 yards (4.6 yards per attempt), for zero Touchdowns and three interceptions (42.7 Rating).

In 2004, Eli Manning played poorly in both areas, but this is to be expected and I’m not even sure if I’ll include it in the final data because rookie seasons are not very good indicators of true success.

2005

Home 133 completions in 268 attempts (49.6 percent completion) for 1675 yards (6.25 yards per attempt) 14 TD 11 Int (69.8 QB rating)

Away 161 completions in 289 attempts (55.7 percent) for 2087 yards (7.2 yards per attempt) with 10 TD and 6 INT (81.5 QB rating).

Clearly in 2005, Eli Manning was a better QB away than he was at home. While he still had a low completion percentage in 2005 away, 7.2 yards per attempt is respectable as well as the 10 TD to 6 INT.

2006

Home 151 Completions in 259 attempts (58.3 percent) for 1583 yards (6.1 yards per pass) with 8 TD and 7 INt (75.2 rating)

Away150 completions in 263 attempts (57 percent) for 1661 yards (6.3 yards per attempt) with 16 TD and 11 INT 78.8 QB Rating.

In 2006 Eli Manning was eerily simliar in both instances 150 to 151 completions only four more passes on the road. But his Touchdown rate was much, much better on the road throwing 16 and a 11 compared to 8 and 7. He played better on the road where it mattered. His yards per attempt were better and his TD to INT ratio was better on the road.

2007

Home 145 completions in 279 attempts (52 percent) for 1622 yards (5.8 yards per attempt) with 13 TD and 11 Int (68.7 QB rating)

Away 152 completions in 250 attempts (60.8 completion %) for 1,714 yards (6.9 yards per attempt) with 10 TD and 9 INT (79.6)

No contest. Eli was much better on the road than at home in 2007 Hence all the road wins in 2007.

2008

Home 139 completions, 238 attempts for 1537 yards (6.4 yards per attempt) with 10 TD and 3 INT (85.6 rating)

Away 150 completions, 241 attempts for 1701 yards (6.8 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions (85.4 QB rating)

This past season Eli Manning may have actually been better slightly at home than he was away with just a little bit better completion percentage home than he had away and a better touchdown throwing rate home than he had away.

Overall Analysis

Compiling all the numbers you get a line that looks like this between the years of 2005 and 2008.

At Home Eli Manning threw 1054 passes while completing 568 (53.9 percent) for 6411 yards (6.01 yards per attempt) for 45 Touchdowns and 32 Interceptions.

While Away Eli Manning completed 613 passes in 1043 attempts (58.7 percent) for 7163 yards (6.87 yards per attempt) amassing 47 Touchdowns and throwing 33 interceptions.

Basically, away Eil Manning completed more passes in less attempts for more yards while throwing two more touchdowns and one more interception.

Manning’s numbers statistically on the road are solid nearly 60 percent completion rate, almost 7 yards per throw (would be higher if he reached the 60 percent completion rate) and more Touchdowns than picks, but he has thrown too many picks on the road (and at home).

The numbers prior to this year would be skewed even more because Eli threw 10 Touchdowns and only 3 INT at home this season which really helped out his overall numbers and level them off closely before this season between 2005 and 2007 Eli threw 33 TD and 28 picks (not great) at home and 36 TD and 26 picks on the road (also not great but a difference of 10 more TD as opposed to 5 more TD than picks.

What this shows is something I could have shown you before I even started, Statistically Eli Manning is NOT a great QB.

He’s one of the very few people in sports where the numbers are not indicitave at all of his importance to his team, and his out right greatness. Going to the playoffs four years in a row in the best division in football with the most difficult stadiums to thrown in is impressive.

The next question I asked myself after I discovered that Eli Manning is Indeed better away than he is on the road (purely statistcally speaking) is how much does the division he play in effect his numbers?

Let’s find out.

Division

I found data on all of Eli Manning’s divisional games since he came into the league. Let’s take a look.

2008-

outside the division:

185 for 290 (64.8) for 2065 yards (7.1) with 14 TD and 4 Interceptions (95.3 QB)

Inside the division:

104 for 189 (55%) for 1175 yards (6.2) 7 TD and 6 INT (72.9).

WoW! Did you see the numbers Eli put up against opponets of other divisions this past season?

Fantastic. 7.1 yards per attempt (Peyton had 7.2 for the season) is great 14 TD to 4 INT is fantastic and a 95.3 QB rating is M.V.P caliber (Peyton had a 95.0 this season and won the M.V.P)

This could just be an aberration in the data. It’s encouraging though that Eli put up these great numbers outside the division this year playing some very good defenses. (Pitt, Baltimore, Minnesota, Carolina).

Imagine if you scratch out the Cleveland Browns game where Eli Manning 1 TD and 3 Picks. Without that game Eli Manning would have had 13 TD and 1 Interception outside the division this year. Amazing!

Unfortunately he did not put up great numbers intra-divisoinally this past season-clearly the end of the season after the Plaxico drama did not help.


2007

outside the division:

176 for 208 (57.1) for 2018 yards (6.6 yards per attempt) 14 TD 14 INt (73.2 rating)

Inside the division:

121 for 227 (55.4) for 1175 yards (6.0) 9 TD and 6 INT (74.8 Qb rating)

No suprise here. Eli Manning in 2007, was better against non-divisional opponets, which makes sense because the Cowboys were 13-3, the Redskins made the playoffs and the Eagles were one game out of the playoffs. He threw too many interceptions outside the division in 2007 again highlighted by one absymal performance (4 INT vs Minnesota).

2006

Outside the Division:

171 for 318 (53,8%) for 1715 yards (5.6 yards per attempt) 15 TD and 14 INT (67.5 rating)

Inside the Division:

130 for 204 (63.7%) for 1464 yards (7.2 yards per attempt) wiht 9 TD and 4 INT (91.4 QB rating)

Interesting in 2006. An abrerration probably-this odditiy in the data explains why the Giants had to sneak into the playoffs at 8 and 8 this year becuase Eli was very good in the division (4-2 this season which means he was 4 and 6 outside the division) which saved the Giants a playoff spot. If Eli Manning had played poorly in the division in 2006, the Giants would have easily missed the playoffs. Two or more Interceptions vs Seattle, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Carolina.

On second thought that explains it-the A.F.C. South was very good in 2006.

2005

Outside the Division-

188 for 355 (53%) for 2475 yards (7.0) 17 TD and 9 INT (80.7 QB Rating)

Inside the Division-

102 for 202 (52.5%) for 1287 yards (6.4 yards per pass) with 7 Touchdowns and 8 Interceptions (67.4 QB rating)

Again in 2005, Eli Manning played better outside the division than he did against his own division. What does this show-it shows that the N.F.C. East is a more difficult play than most other divisions in the league, which seems obvious, but it should be noted that of all four quarterbacks in the N.F.C. East really only Tony Romo has a good completion percentage in his career. (Mcnabb a career 58.3 % with only three of his 11 seasons with 60 percent or more-and none of the seasons with 60 percent completion percentage were a full 16 games). Jason Campbell (a career 59.7 completion percentage, which isn’t terrible overall, but 35 TD’s in three full seasons-which is a direct correlation to the types of short pass offenses Campbell has been running.) and Tony Romo has a 63.3 completion percentage in three seasons (but in his own division his completion percentage two years ago was 6 percent lower and three years ago 11 percent lower in the division last year it was less than 3 percent higher).

Overall analysis

I can give you the numbers in 2004 (1.5 percent higher completion percentage outside the division 3 TD in both 3 INT vs division 6 outside the division), but again the 9 games he played as a rookie and maybe even 2005 should not be indicitave of what Eli has done in his career or what to expect moving forward.

The point is playing in the N.F.C East is not easy, it’s been the best division in football consistently since 2005 with the only other division that is in the competition is the A.F.C South which has had strong teams in Indy, Tennessee, and until last year Jacksonville. Houston has been below average to average in that time span, but they are getting there.

Eli has thrown too many INT outside the division (and inside as well), but he’s completed a higher precentage of passes for more yards per catch (which is an indicator that in other divisions the receivers are either more open further down the field or that they have more running space after the catch is made) while racking up a very high amount of wins so his numbers may be skewed a bit playing against this very tough division.

The more he understand the better he seems to play. His numbers against non-divisional opponets this year were outstanding: 14 TD 4 INT (so say 25 TD 6 INT if you added 6 more games; 6 being the number of games he plays against his division) and a 95.3 QB rating would have made Eli Manning the M.V.P of the league this past year.

The defesnes in the N.F.C East are very good though, which hurts Eli’s overall numbers. Philly’s defense is great, Dallas is very talented and the Redskins, while they don’t create a lot of turnovers are still a very good defense in termrs of yardage allowed and points.

To illustrate my point I want to take a look at the numbers Big Ben put up this year when he had to play against the N.F.C East.
Vs the Eagles: 13 for 25 (52 percent) 131 yards (5.2 yards per pass), 0 TD 1 INT 8 sacks a 50.3 QB rating.

and a 15-6 loss.

Vs the Giants 13 for 29 (44.8 percent) for 189 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) 1 TD 4 INT 5 sacks a 38.5 QB rating and a 21-14 loss.

Vs the Redskins 5 for 17 (29.4 yards per pass), 50 yards (2.9 yards per attempt) 0 TD and 1 INT sacked 3 times a 15.3 QB rating

And a Win BUT By Byron Leftwich who came in and saved the game.

Vs the Cowboys 17 for 33 (51.5%) 204 yards (6.2 YPA) 1 TD 5 sacks and a 80.9 QB rating.

Compiling Big Ben’s numbers this past season you get

48 completions in 104 attempts (46.1 %) for 574 yards (5.5 YPA) and sacked 21 times winning 2 games and losing 2 others. (Big Ben was sacked 46 times the whole season-or about half the time playing the N.F.C East 4 times as he did playing all the other teams on the schedule a combined 12 times)

People should factor this in one when comparing players like Eli Manning to Big Ben or Philip Rivers. The competition level definitely matters.

The last thing I was interested in is Eli Manning playing games in December (and December at home) let’s look at those numbers.

December at home

2008

Vs. Phi 13 of 27, vs Carolina 17 of 27=30 of 54=54.5% completion percenetage for 314 yards 2 TD and Zero Intercepetions.

2007

18 of 52 (34%) vs Was 22 of 32 (68.8%) 44.6 % overall with 5 TD and 1 INT at home in December in 2007.

2006

24 of 36 vs Dallas, 28 of 40 vs Phil, 9 of 24 vs NO=61% overall with 3 TD and 3 INT in the month. 626 yards for the month at home.

2005

12 of 31 v 152 yards 2 TD, 1 INT Vs Dallas/ 17 of 32 1 TD, 1 INT vs Kansas City. 29 of 63=46% with 3 TD and 2 INT in this month.

2004

34 of 50 for the month at home with 5 TD and 2 INT.

December Overall

2008

59 of 108 (54.6%) for 614 yards fo5 5.7 Y.P.A. (lowest during season) for 2 TD and 2 INt for a 69.8 QB rating (lowest during any month during this season)

2007

80 of 158 (50.6%-lowest during any month during this season) for 960 yards (6.1 Y.P.A) for 7 TD and 5 INT 71.2 QB rating.

2006

90 of 160 (56.2%) for 899 yards (5.6 yards per attempt) 7 TD and 3 INT and a 79.1 QB rating.

2005

92 of 172 (53.5%) for 1098 yards (6.4 Yards per attempt-lowest this season) 4 TD 7 INT and a 64.1 rating

2004

51 of 103 yards (49.5) for 523 yards (lowest for any month during this short season) 2 TD and 4 INT (54.8 QB rating)

Win Loss Record

If you look at the numbers it’s clear to see that December has not been kind to Eli Manning in his career, but what seperates Eli
Manning from Tony Romo, we’ll simply it’s that Eli Manning has come up big in December at least SOME of the time. The game against the Pats in 2007 he was huge, the game vs Carolina this season he was huge, the playoff run in 2007 he was huge.

In december at home for his career Eli Manning in 3 and 6 for December on the road Eli Manning is 8 and 3 (neither W-L records takes 2004 into consideration when they were awful and Manning was in is infancy)

this gives Eli Manning a overall December record (minus 2004) of 11 wins and 9 losses with a great Win Loss Record on the road and a bad one at home.

What does this mean?

Well Eli Manning, by the numbers and by the Win Loss Record has played poorly at home in December, if Manning didn’t have the Patriots game in 2007 his December home individual statistics would be really pretty bad.

Eli Manning between 2005 and 2008 would be 160 of 301 (51.1%) with 10 TD and 7 INT.

(Suprisingly in2004 his numbers were good in December at home-I didn’t include them becuase I wanted to try and be mostly consistent but he was 5 TD and 2 INT and both games over 65% completion percentage)

What’s all this mean?

It means Eli Manning and the Giants have to adjust the offense at home in December to include more short passes and a better running game when the wind in howling.

What I would like someone to do (who is paid and has more time than myself) is to complie the numbers of everyone who plays in Giants stadirums (either for Jets games or Giants games) when the wind is more than 10 MPH to see how the numbers stack up to their usual numbers, I think then we’d have a good gauge to see just how much the wind effects numbers, at a shallow glance of Eli Manning’s numbers it matters, and this is confirmed by what I see when I turn on my television in December when the wind is blowing and passes aren’t going anywhere.

If Eli Played in a different division in a different stadium he would have the potential to put up some eye-popping numbers. Look how his numbers suffer consistently year in and year out playing in the N.F.C. East and in Giants Stadium in December (I didn’t even count windy games at Giants stadium that may have happened in earlier months) so next time someone spouts off about Eli’s numbers calmly explain to them that Eli is a player that plays better than the numbers and then point them out to the discrpency of numbers that Eli has at home in Giants stadium.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.

Leave your thoughts and I’ll get back at you.


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12 Responses to “Does Eli Manning Play Better on the Road? Outside the Division? Worse in December?”

  1. JD says:

    Do you use any real statistics, or do you just pull the result out of you dark spot?

    For 2007 you say:
    No contest. Eli was much better on the road than at home in 2007 Hence all the road wins in 2007.

    Without knowing precisely, I’m not sure there is a significant difference between the numbers. And even so, “no contest” is big when Manning does throw more TDs at home (a thing you mention other places, but not here when it goes against your conclusion).

  2. The Numbers are from the game logs at N.F.L. .com

    and it’s no contest because Eli in 2007 on the road had a completion percentage 8 percent higher than he did at home, while completing a full yard more per every attempt.

    That’s a HUGE discrepency.

    The TD/INT ratio is pretty similiar for 2007 10 and 9 to 13 and 11 3 more TD and 2 MORE Interceptions at home.

    You are correct in 2007 Eli Manning did throw 3 MORE TD’s at home than he did on the road, but the 2 INT make them pretty similar so it’s not out of the dark spot, but I didn’t think for 2007 specifically that the TD factor (because of the INT) outweighed the other statistics

  3. kevin says:

    This is a very obvious fact that even without stats can be seen. If you notice as a trend the reason eli’s numbers don’t look great against his division is because they stop the run well. The other reason is the giants off. line struggles against dallas’ front. Almost half of the sacks eli took was against dallas 12. The eagles blitz package gives the giants fits and almost as a rule eli doesn’t put up multiple td games against washington. As for the wind games all you have to do is look at the numbers of the opposing qb in those games to see how affected the qb’s are. That game in ’06 when eli was 9-25 , drew brees was 13-31. The playoff game eli was 15-29 2ints. McNabb was 22-40 2ints. The giants biggest problem in windy games is that they continue to play as if it’s not windy. They throw outside the numbers, they throw fades. They need to throw more slants, seams, crossing patterns and to the backs. If you look back at those wind games you’ll notice that’s not the norm for them and eli’s number suffer for it.

    • Kevin, I absolutly agree one of the big problems the Giants have is that when it’s windy they don’t as if it’s not windy.

      That’s a big problem, but hopefully that will change with Nicks and Steve Smith being two of the main WR because they’re strengths are not deep passes, I hope Nicks makes a big difference for Eli.

      Thank you fo the numbers for the opposing QB I imagine compiling a complete numbers list of QB’s numbers when the wind was more than 10 or 15 MPH would show everyone how difficult throwing in Giants stadium can be, sometimes I believe it’s get dismissed much easier than it should.

      Thanks for the reply.

  4. Jason C. says:

    People may call me crazy, but I still believe the completion percentage is one of the most overrated statistics nowadays. I’m not saying it’s not an important statistic by any means, but it’s almost like that’s the only thing people talk about when speaking of a quarterbacks abilities. Eli will never have a high percentage, as the Giants offense takes a lot of shots down the field, and also calls for him to throw away balls instead of taking a sack, which he’s done great over the past couple years. Guys like Chad Pennington, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, and Jake Delhomme are going to have high percentages every year, as they throw at least 200 passes a year inside of 5 yards, Eli throws maybe 5 a game. So eventhough I’d like to see that percentage approach 60, I don’t expect him to ever climb into the 65-70 range.

    • Jason C. I also agree that completion percentage is over-rated there are things that effect completion percentage greatly.

      One of those is that QB’s play in different offenses Kurt Warner with his great WR’s also gets advantage of completing passes.

      The stat I like most out of the main stream stats is Yards Per attempt which gives a pretty good indication of how effective the QB is doing.

      Another important stat, I think is sacks allowed (Eli is very good at this) and TD to INT ratio is also importatn.

      Eli’s completion percentage has been hurt by slow possession WR who drop the ball a lot at times, but I think you’ll see that improve this year.

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  7. jay says:

    How about you re do this and compare Eli’s performances with the other QBs performances during those games.

    Oh sorry don’t mean to get in the way of your bashing…carry on

    • How about you re do this and compare Eli’s performances with the other QBs performances during those games.

      Oh sorry don’t mean to get in the way of your bashing…carry on

      Jay, you have misread what I’m doing here, if you read the site regularly you will realize that I am the ultimate Eli Manning apologist.

      I’m not bashing Eli Manning.

      In fact it’s the opposite:

      I said this in the post:

      If Eli Played in a different division in a different stadium he would have the potential to put up some eye-popping numbers. Look how his numbers suffer consistently year in and year out playing in the N.F.C. East and in Giants Stadium in December (I didn’t even count windy games at Giants stadium that may have happened in earlier months)

      I also said,

      What I would like someone to do (who is paid and has more time than myself) is to complie the numbers of everyone who plays in Giants stadirums (either for Jets games or Giants games) when the wind is more than 10 MPH to see how the numbers stack up to their usual numbers, I think then we’d have a good gauge to see just how much the wind effects numbers,

      And I also said about Eli Manning,

      What this shows is something I could have shown you before I even started, Statistically Eli Manning is NOT a great QB.

      He’s one of the very few people in sports where the numbers are not indicitave at all of his importance to his team, and his out right greatness. Going to the playoffs four years in a row in the best division in football with the most difficult stadiums to thrown in is impressive.

      So What I said about Eli Manning was that his numbers are effected because he plays in a tough division in a stadium that is not conducive to the types of offense that the Giants run, but that Eli Manning is a great QB who has led his team to to the playoffs four years in a row in the toughest division in football.

      Eli Manning is not a great Statistics QB, but jay you and I both already knew this, he is however a Franchise QB and I”m happy to have him on the Giants.

      Trust me, Jay, I’m not bashing Eli Manning, I love Eli Manning and I like him MORE than Big Ben. (But not as much as Brady or the other Manning)

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