Earlier this season, Eli Manning’s name was included in the bunch, and usually Drew Brees’ name is scattered in there, but only after the others.
But Brees’ name should always be included in the list of elite quarterbacks and probably higher on the list. It’s not his fault that the Saints have had a bad defense in almost every year of his tenure.
In head-to-head matchups, Brees has defeated Manning in all four games. In those games, Brees’ teams have won by at least 21 points each time.
In 2005, Brees led the San Diego Chargers to a 45-23 victory over the Giants. He completed 19-of-22 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Manning actually outplayed Brees in that game, throwing for 352 yards on 24-of-41 passing and two touchdowns, but that’s mainly because the Giants were playing catch-up.
Brees and the Saints defeated the Giants 30-7 in 2006. Brees threw for 132 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-32 passing, while Manning was only 9-of-25 for 74 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Brees again defeated Manning in 2009, 48-27. Brees had a field day against the Giants, throwing for 369 yards and four touchdowns on 23-of-30 passing. Manning only managed 14-of-31 through the air with a touchdown and an interception.
Last season, Brees again lit up the Giants’ defense for 369 yards on 24-of-38 passing and four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in a 49-24 Siants’ win – an eerily similar performance to 2009. Manning also played well, throwing for 406 yards on 33-of-47 passing with two touchdowns and an interception, but again the Giants played catch-up.
In these four games, Brees has zero interceptions. Some guys just historically play well against another team, and for Brees, it’s the Giants, as well as probably a few other teams.
The Giants last defeated the Saints, 27-10, early in the 2005 season, but Aaron Brooks, not Brees, was New Orleans' quarterback. Brooks threw for 375 yards and a touchdown but also threw three interceptions.
Both these teams need this game: the Saints to stay alive in the wild card race and the Giants to stay ahead in the NFC East. Expect both quarterbacks to be on their game this Sunday.
It may be an offensive slugfest, but Brees certainly has the advantage based on track record. Manning will look to get his first career win against Brees, but he’ll need his defense to step up.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.