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January 11, 2019

Nick Foles vs. Eli Manning: Which playoff hero quarterback is better?

NFL Eagles
0111_Nick_Foles_USAT Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports

Nick Foles may play his final game as an Eagle in New Orleans Sunday.

There has been ample buzz about the future of Nick Foles this week, as the soon-to-be 30-year-old quarterback once again proved to be a magician, leading the Eagles to yet another upset victory in Chicago. 

He's won his last four playoff games, is a Super Bowl MVP and no matter how you look at it, Philadelphia will have almost no chance of retaining Foles after this winter.

Carson Wentz is four years younger, cheaper, and was acquired at a premium. He also played like an MVP last year before being hurt late in the season. He's not going anywhere, and Foles will be in an odd predicament facing an option year (or franchise tag and trade).

A limited number of teams are in the market for a veteran quarterback next year, but one that has gotten a lot of attention are the Giants. Here's what former WIP host and current NJ 101.5 host Steve Trevelise said on Foles and the G-men:

What I got from Giants manager Dave Gettleman's press conference is that the Giants are willing to keep Eli Manning, but not at 23 million dollars, which is what his contract calls for. Will Manning redo his deal? Who knows, but if you're going to spend that kind of money on a quarterback, why not a younger version who can also make all the throws, won't crumble under pressure and has his own Super Bowl MVP trophy? Why not Nick Foles? 

Foles has that same quiet cool under pressure demeanor that made Manning famous. He would have no problem handing the New York media and he doesn't even have to relocate if he doesn't want to. His Philadelphia Eagle teammates love him so much they built an alter for him. Imagine Odell Beckham Jr. worshiping there? [NJ 101.5]

The buzz is the Giants may have a need and a fit for Foles, but I couldn't help hold one thought all week: is Nick Foles Philly's Eli Manning? And is Foles actually better?

Their backstories are obviously not the same — Foles' journey from near retirement to Super Bowl MVP is one of a kind — but they are really eerily similar as players.

Both seem to be average, at best, during the regular season but have led underdog teams to world titles. Both are cool as a cucumber under the brightest lights and on the biggest stage.

When you take a look at the stats, it is clear both are better in the playoffs — though Foles is ungodly good through his first five playoff appearances

Foles vs. Manning: Regular season

  Games Comp % QB rate Y / att Win/Loss
Foles 5461.6 88.5 7.1 26-18
Manning 23260.3 84.1 7.0 116-114

Foles vs. Manning: Playoffs

 Games Comp % QB rate Y / att Win/Loss 
 Foles569.8  105.2*8.0  4-1
 Manning 1260.5 87.47.0  8-4
*The highest of all time in the postseason.

Foles is three playoff wins (easier said than done) this January from having nearly as strong a Hall of Fame argument as Manning does, as the Giants' QB won Super Bowl titles in 2007 and 2011. 

As far as individual performances go, Manning's personal best in the playoffs is no where near Foles' 373 yards, three touchdown passes (and one receiving) last February. And Foles likely will never come close to the health and longevity shown by Manning's 232 games over 15 NFL seasons. That's a factor that is worth considering, as Manning has not missed a single game due to injury since his rookie year. Foles has never started more than 11 games in a season. But the duo are the only signal-callers ever to beat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl and therefore intrinsically tied forever.

This commonality would only grow stronger if Foles "replaced" Eli with the Giants next season.


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