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Mario Manningham Says He Hopes Julian Edelman Covers Him

One of the Patriots’ biggest concerns heading into Super Bowl 46 is their secondary. New England’s defensive backfield has been an issue all season long, but they have somehow found a way to overcome it week in and week out.  They are particularly thin at cornerback, which is why Bill Belichick has converted slot receiver Juian Edelman into a corner.  With the depth the Giants have at receiver, Belichick will need a Hall of Fame coaching performance to keep New York’s passing attack at bay.  He knows it, we know it, and Mario Manningham knows it.

“I hope (Edelman is) out there when we play them,” Manningham said according to the Boston Herald. “I don’t want to sound like that, but you know what I mean. To our advantage, I hope he’s out there.

“It’s a different stage. This ain’t regular season. That ain’t your real position, so we’re going to try to expose you. It’s all or nothing now. That ain’t your position, this is the Super Bowl and we want you to play that position.”

Kyle Arrington’s eye injury in the AFC Championship game left the Patriots dangerously thin at corner, which resulted in Edelman having to cover Anquan Boldin.  On the game’s final drive, that match-up almost cost New England a trip to the Super Bowl as Boldin caught four passes for 60 yards.  When Manningham is at his best, the Giants have the best receiving corps in the NFL.  Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Manningham will give the Patriots fits if they have to lean on Edelman.  Manningham didn’t need to point that out for Belichick to be aware of it.

Antonio Cromartie Rags on Mario Manningham for Losing Job to Victor Cruz

The Jets and Giants have been trading trash talk most of the week. It started with Rex Ryan saying he believed his team was the best in football. The Giants responded by discrediting Jets CB Darrelle Revis. Now the Jets cornerbacks have had a chance to respond, and it was Antonio Cromartie doing most of the trash talking.

“You got guys that are not even Pro Bowl material,” Cromartie said. “Who really cares what they have to say.

“If I’m (Top 5) in the burn ratio, I guess I do get beat a lot,” Cromartie said sarcastically. “We’ll have to see on Saturday… that’s even if [Mario Manningham] touches the field. He let a guy named Victor Cruz come in and take his job.”

That Victor Cruz is coming awfully close to setting the franchise record for receiving yards, so losing a job to him is not an insult. And if the Giants had gone to Cruz earlier in the year, they may have had more success. But this is typical Cromartie; he loves to talk. And he does get burnt a lot. I expect to see that happen at least once on Saturday.

Steve Smith Pectoral Injury Opens Up Opportunity for Mario Manningham

The best phonetic quarterback-wide receiver combination in the NFL may be in full effect the next few weeks for the New York Giants: Eli Manning to Mario Manningham. Wide receiver Steve Smith hurt his pectoral muscle during practice on Thursday and will miss at least the next two games. The injury to Smith means slot receiver Mario Manningham will move into the starting lineup and likely see more targets.

Manningham has always been able to get open, but his problem as far as I’ve seen it is that he has shaky hands. The third-year wide receiver from Michigan has plenty of speed which allows him to get in position to score a touchdown nearly every single week. If you decide to pick him up (he’s available in almost 40% of leagues), beware that Manningham went two games this season without a catch. Keep in mind that was when he was a situational third receiver and not a starter, as he will be now.

The Star-Ledger says Smith has a partially torn pectoral muscle which means that missing at least two games is likely. Manningham isn’t reliable in terms of his hands, but with Smith out he should produce more consistently and give you a quality fantasy option.