Eli Manning’s body language a clear tell to the Giants’ fortunes

The Lions — along with everyone else at MetLife Stadium on Monday night for the Giants home opener — will be looking for the look early in the game.

The look in Eli Manning’s eyes and in his body language will tell everyone — first and foremost the Detroit defense — a lot about how the game is going to go.

A week ago against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, it didn’t go so well, and the look in Manning’s eyes and in his body language told the story from the first offensive series on. The Cowboys defense saw the look, and their players relentlessly fed off it, never letting up.

They saw Manning frustrated. They saw Manning throw the ball into the turf to avoid getting hit. They saw Manning look like he was hesitant to throw the ball down the field. They saw Manning uncharacteristically inaccurate.

And it all played into the Cowboys’ hands until the distasteful 19-3 result was complete.

This is everything the Giants must avoid Monday night against the 1-0 Lions.

When Manning doesn’t trust his protection in the pocket, it shows up like one of those neon marquees in Times Square. That is when the aforementioned issues show up — all of which almost always lead to the Giants losing.

It is complicated criticizing Manning for being too cautious — which it appeared he was for a lot of the loss to the Cowboys, never trying to stretch their defense with a big play — because he has started 200 consecutive regular-season games for the Giants and another 12 in the postseason.

The Giants have no chance to succeed in the long term without Manning playing, so him being available every week is something that does not come with a price tag.

So Manning straddles a fine line between staying healthy and maintaining his impressive iron-man streak, which has him third all time among NFL quarterbacks behind just Brett Favre and his brother Peyton, and standing in a chaotic pocket a little longer trying to force a play when the team desperately needs…

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