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Giants vs. Cardinals preview

In his three starts in University of Phoenix Stadium, Eli Manning has completed a combined 71 of 107 passes for 816 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws during Super Bowl

Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws during Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 in Glendale, Ariz.

FRIENDLY CONFINES

Eli Manning has won both of his career starts in Arizona against the Cardinals, but it’s the one he played there against another team that comes immediately to mind. That would be Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots, played at University of Phoenix Stadium, on Feb. 3, 2008.

“I’ve obviously had some good memories there,” Manning said of the stadium.

In his three starts in the building Manning has completed a combined 71 of 107 passes for 816 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.

Arizona was also the site of another important game in Manning’s career, one in which he did not actually play. That was where Kurt Warner last started for the Giants in 2004 before yielding to Manning the following week. Manning started 210 straight regular-season games after that visit, a streak that ended in Oakland earlier this month.

On Sunday, though, Manning said he won’t be thinking about any of that.

“You’re getting ready for the game,” he said. “I guess, maybe, (when I) walk on the field… But just try to go out there and see if we can get a little early Christmas present and get a win.”

LET’S NOT GO THERE

The Giants are on the precipice of something no team in franchise history has ever done. And it’s not good.

With two games remaining, this 2017 squad is facing the very real possibility of become the first Giants team to lose more than 12 games in a season. They’ve already tied the franchise record for most losses in a season with 12, matching the depths plumbed in 1966 (1-12-1), 1974 (2-12), 1980 (4-12), 1983 (3-12-1) and 2003 (4-12). If they cannot beat or tie both the Cardinals and Redskins in their final two games, they will become the losingest team in the 93-year history of the organization.

“It doesn’t sit well,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said of that ignominious title. “Especially with the caliber of guys we have here, to have this much potential and not take advantage of it, that’s the frustrating part. I could see if we were just a bad team or something, but that’s not the case here, so it’s even more frustrating.”

While these Giants could finish with more losses than any other, they can at least cling to the mathematical certainty of avoiding being the worst team ever. That “honor” belongs to the 1966 team, which had a winning percentage of .071. Even if the Giants lose their last two games, they’ll still have two wins and the lowest their winning percentage can reach is .125 (they are currently .143). That would be the second-worst in Giants history.

“I wasn’t even aware of it,” interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said when presented with the unlucky 13 factoid. “I’m not going to focus on that. I’m going to focus on beating Arizona. I’ll let everybody else figure that out.”

YUCK

The Giants currently have a winning percentage of .143. A look at the worst seasons in Giants history based on winning percentage:

Season Rec. Pct.

1966 1-12-1.071

2017 2-12.143

1974 2-12.143

1983 3-12-1 .188

1980 4-12 .250

2003 4-12.250

80-43-2

The Giants’ alltime record against the Cardinals. The rivalry dates back to Nov. 6, 1926, a 20-0 victory by the Chicago Cardinals at the Polo Grounds.

*

3-2: Giants’ record in games played on Christmas Eve. Their most recent game on Dec. 24 was in 2011 when they beat the Jets, 29-14, at MetLife Stadium.

*

189: Passing yards needed for Eli Manning (51,287) to pass John Elway (51,475) and move into sixth place on the NFL’s all-time career passing yardage list.

*

11: Receptions in the final two games needed by Evan Engram to tie Jeremy Shockey (74 in 2002) for most by a tight end in a single season. He is averaging 4.5 catches per game this season. Here are the Giants tight ends who have had the most receptions in a single season:

Jeremy Shockey // 74 // 2002

Mark Bavaro // 66 // 1986

Jeremy Shockey // 66 // 2006

Jeremy Shockey // 65 // 2005

Larry Donnell // 63 // 2014

Evan Engram // 63 // 2017

*

0-4: The Giants’ record in games in which they have gained more yards than their opponent in 2017. Last week’s Eagles loss was the latest in that trend.

*

5: Consecutive seasons for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with at least two interceptions. He has none so far this season.

LET’S NOT GO THERE

The Giants are on the precipice of something no team in franchise history has ever done. And it’s not good.

With two games remaining, this 2017 squad is facing the very real possibility of become the first Giants team to lose more than 12 games in a season. They’ve already tied the franchise record for most losses in a season with 12, matching the depths plumbed in 1966 (1-12-1), 1974 (2-12), 1980 (4-12), 1983 (3-12-1) and 2003 (4-12). If they cannot beat or tie both the Cardinals and Redskins in their final two games, they will become the losingest team in the 93-year history of the organization.

“It doesn’t sit well,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said of that ignominious title. “Especially with the caliber of guys we have here, to have this much potential and not take advantage of it, that’s the frustrating part. I could see if we were just a bad team or something, but that’s not the case here, so it’s even more frustrating.”

While these Giants could finish with more losses than any other, they can at least cling to the mathematical certainty of avoiding being the worst team ever. That “honor” belongs to the 1966 team, which had a winning percentage of .071. Even if the Giants lose their last two games, they’ll still have two wins and the lowest their winning percentage can reach is .125 (they are currently .143). That would be the second-worst in Giants history.

“I wasn’t even aware of it,” interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said when presented with the unlucky 13 factoid. “I’m not going to focus on that. I’m going to focus on beating Arizona. I’ll let everybody else figure that out.”

YUCK

The Giants currently have a winning percentage of .143. A look at the worst seasons in Giants history based on winning percentage:

Season Rec. Pct.

1966 1-12-1.071

2017 2-12.143

1974 2-12.143

1983 3-12-1 .188

1980 4-12 .250

2003 4-12.250

80-43-2

The Giants’ alltime record against the Cardinals. The rivalry dates back to Nov. 6, 1926, a 20-0 victory by the Chicago Cardinals at the Polo Grounds.

*

3-2: Giants’ record in games played on Christmas Eve. Their most recent game on Dec. 24 was in 2011 when they beat the Jets, 29-14, at MetLife Stadium.

*

189: Passing yards needed for Eli Manning (51,287) to pass John Elway (51,475) and move into sixth place on the NFL’s all-time career passing yardage list.

*

11: Receptions in the final two games needed by Evan Engram to tie Jeremy Shockey (74 in 2002) for most by a tight end in a single season. He is averaging 4.5 catches per game this season. Here are the Giants tight ends who have had the most receptions in a single season:

Jeremy Shockey // 74 // 2002

Mark Bavaro // 66 // 1986

Jeremy Shockey // 66 // 2006

Jeremy Shockey // 65 // 2005

Larry Donnell // 63 // 2014

Evan Engram // 63 // 2017

*

0-4: The Giants’ record in games in which they have gained more yards than their opponent in 2017. Last week’s Eagles loss was the latest in that trend.

*

5: Consecutive seasons for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with at least two interceptions. He has none so far this season.

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