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Will Eli Manning shine again in the playoffs?

Eli Manning hands off to back Rashad Jennings

Eli Manning hands off to back Rashad Jennings during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. Jennings said Manning's looking to prove a lot in the playoffs. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Eli Manning already has a reputation for playing well in the postseason and taking his game to another level in the playoffs. Twice he has turned pedestrian regular seasons into Super Bowl runs.

To do it a third time, though, would certainly be different. After a year in which his offense has struggled to score points, in which his age has become a point of discussion, and in which some have speculated that his best days are behind him, Manning now gets a chance to turn around that narrative.

And while he isn’t letting on to that sentiment, there are those in the Giants locker room who believe it will drive Manning and the Giants for the next month or so.

“I honestly feel that he wants to prove a lot coming up here,” running back Rashad Jennings said.

Manning has thrown 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions so far this season. They are similar to the stats he put up before his previous title charges (29 and 16 in 2011, 23 and 20 in 2007).

“He’s the most consistent player I’ve ever been around,” Jennings said of Manning. “We know what kind of player he is, we know his skill set, and a lot of his best ball has come this time of year.”

The Giants are counting on that happening one more time.

Players going to play

Justin Pugh missed five games with a knee sprain and said he could certainly use a week off to further rest the injury, but the left guard wants to play against Washington even though it will have no impact on the Giants’ postseason placement.

“I’d rather have that jell and that camaraderie keep building than get a week off and lose that,” Pugh said.

Pugh noted that unlike preseason games with deep rosters, the Giants don’t have numbers to rest everyone. He said he plans on playing the entire game in Washington on Sunday even as the debate goes on about who should and shouldn’t risk injury.

“If you start playing not to get hurt,” Pugh said, “that’s when you do get hurt.”

Giant steps

Odell Beckham Jr. leads the Giants with 60 points scored and will likely become the first non-kicker to lead the team in scoring for a season since Rodney Hampton in 1992. The last Giants receiver to lead the team in scoring was Homer Jones in 1967 . . . RB Russell Hansbrough (Bucs) and S Christian Bryant (Cardinals) were signed off the Giants’ practice squad. The Giants added QB Keith Wenning, RB Jacob Huesman, and S Ryan Murphy to their practice squad to help replace them.

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