Eli Manning touts ball security against Osi

The former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora will be back in the Meadowlands for Sunday’s matchup of 2-2 squad and quarterback Eli Manning understands he will need to protect the football with extra caution.

The Giants’ offense is on a roll right now. There’s no other way to put it, as the team has scored 75 points over the past two games and the league is buzzing about quarterback Eli Manning for the first time in a long time. However, as fans begin to make playoffs plans and fantasy players scramble to pick up Larry Donnell, the veteran quarterback is taking things one game at a time like he always does.

“This is obviously a big one,” said Manning about Sunday’s game against Atlanta. “At 2-2 you want to keep things going, hopefully get into the winning record territory and keep on pace and try to catch up with Dallas and Philly.”

With the Falcons in town, that means former Giant sack specialist Osi Umenyiora will be facing his old team. The old fan favorite doesn’t play as prominent a role for Atlanta as he used to with New York, but Umenyiora is still a threat with his speed rush on third down.

“It’s one of those deals where maybe he would have not gotten a sack, but if you get that ball out or have it away from your body, he’s going to have that hand swiping in there to cause a fumble,” said Manning, “He’s really good at that, know it first-hand, have seen it first-hand, so I’ve got to do a good job securing the ball and having it close to the body.”

One of the reasons that the Giants have won the last two games in that they have avoided the turnovers that plagued the team during its first two contests. If Manning and company are going to have success against an explosive Atlanta offense, protecting the ball will be key once again. Producing on first and second down will make it easier for the Giants to stay out of pressure situations.

“If you can be effective on first and second down, not have a whole lot of third and long situations,” said Manning. “Not have it where you’ve got to hold the ball for long periods of time, that’s always going to help out the offense.”

Although the Giants have made things look easy the last two weeks, Manning knows that there are plenty of challenges ahead, even if the team continues its efficient play.

“We’ve got to keep growing within the offense. Not every game’s going to be the same, not every game… last week was great and fun and the defense is getting interceptions, turnovers and we’re moving the ball and scoring. Not every game is going to be like that.”

“We’ve got to find ways just to play smart, protect the football and score touchdowns when we get opportunities.”

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