I'm saying this as a big fan of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin.
So much of this team's success is predicated on Eli being great every week. And usually, that's enough. His record speaks for itself.....the dude is clutch. But, he's human, too.
Our run game is complimentary....it's used primarily to set up the pass. The running back position is now essentially a blocker that might sometimes run. The most important attribute of the running back is how well he can pass protect, not his ability to run with the ball.
3rd and short is now a passing down. On 4th and short inside the opponent's 40, we punt because we can't pick up short yardage.
Our defense is built to pressure the passer, assuming a shootout with Eli.....the multi-purpose strengths of linebackers have been de-emphasized in favor of pass rushers who can harass the opposing QB.
Basically, this entire team revolves around Eli Manning. And when he is on, the offense is basically unstoppable.
But when he is off, or even average, the Giants struggle. They no longer have a running game that can choke out an opponent. A good example was the Steeler game. A 10 point 4th quarter lead turned to vapor because on offense, they couldn't control time of possession with their running game, and the defense was soft.
And when he has a bad game, it's pretty much lights out. This team no longer has a defense that can overcome Eli's turnovers......last week was a great example. A solid defense would hold Cincy to FG's, not touchdowns.
I don't want to turn this into another 50 page Simms v. Eli thread, but one of the biggest differences between the 2 QB's is the amount of pressure Eli has to be great every game. And a huge part of that is due to the fact that Simms had a running game and a defense that bailed him out on a regular basis.
That's what is holding this team back from being a "dynasty".....when I look at dynasty QBs - Brady, Aikman, Montana, Bradshaw - they all had a defense and a running game.
The Giants don't......and that's why they will always be a 9-7 to 10-6 team that will need to hope they get hot at the right moment to win it.