If there’s one team and one quarterback that the New England Patriots might worry about, it’s Eli Manning.
On Thursday night, the two-time Super Bowl MVP — bringing down the Patriots both times — will be in Gillette Stadium with the New York Giants. He’ll also be on the sideline.
The Giants are sixth overall draft pick Daniel Jones’ team now. The rookie has played pretty well, winning his first two starts after New York lost its first two games with Manning behind center. The future appears pretty clear for Manning, the team’s starter since midway in the 2004 season.
Tom Brady, who at 42 appears to have many more years at New England’s QB in store, was asked about Manning’s current situation.
“How I want it to end? Oh man. I think I’ve had a great career,” Brady said. “I mean, it’s an Eli question, so Eli’s been a great player and great for that organization. We’ve had great battles against their team, certainly in big moments. They’ve got us in the big moments, unfortunately, but they deserved it.
“Eli’s played great. He’s been a great player for that organization, for the team. I think his teammates — he’s got the respect of all those guys, and that’s what you play for. You play for the respect of your teammates and your coaches. They know what you put into it. They know what it means to you. They can feel it. I mean, he’s had an incredible career.”
One last go at the Patriots might’ve been intriguing, but barring an injury to Jones, it won’t happen Thursday. The top-ranked Patriots in AP Pro32 are 15½-point favorites over the Eli-less Giants. BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 37-13
KNOCKOUT POOL: Singing “Fly Eagles Fly” kept us going for another week, now we’ll drive down I-95 a bit and visit BALTIMORE.
Falcons (minus 2 ½) at Cardinals: Right now, Pro Picks sees no reason to go with fading Falcons. UPSET SPECIAL: CARDINALS, 22-18
Eagles (plus 3) at Vikings: Was tempted to make Eagles our Upset Special. Vikings haven’t beaten a good team. EAGLES, 23-19
Texans (plus 5) at Chiefs: What a shootout this is likely to be — if Patrick Mahomes is healthy. CHIEFS, 33-30
Lions (plus 4 ½) at Packers, Monday night: With Bears faltering, this is suddenly a key NFC North matchup. PACKERS, 26-24
Panthers (minus 2) vs. Buccaneers at London: Early wake-up call for this NFC South match across the pond. PANTHERS, 27-24
Redskins (minus 3 ½) at Dolphins: The loser becomes odds-on favorite for the top overall draft pick in April. REDSKINS, 17-10
Cowboys (minus 7) at Jets: Sam Darnold is back for Jets, but Cowboys are in nasty mood. COWBOYS, 30-16
Bengals (plus 10 ½) at Ravens: Bengals might be watching games in Miami and New Jersey in draft choice race. RAVENS, 30-15
Seahawks (minus 1 ½) at Browns: A trap game for Seahawks with Ravens up next? Who knows given Browns’ inconsistencies? SEAHAWKS 28-20
Saints (minus 1) at Jaguars: Drew Who? Well, not really in Nawlins, but Teddy has looked terrific. SAINTS, 20-17
49ers: (plus 5) at Rams: Still no respect from oddsmakers for 4-0 Niners, only unbeaten team in NFC. RAMS, 23-21
Titans (plus 2 ½) at Broncos: Broncos haven’t won at home. What’s up with that in Mile High City? BRONCOS, 16-13
Steelers (plus 7) at Chargers: Two disappointing clubs beaten up and down by injuries. CHARGERS, 21-13