Is Saquon Barkley This Season's Only Positive for the Giants? Rookie Explodes Against Eagles on TNF

Eli Manning is a shadow of his former self and the New York Giants are bad. Spectacularly bad, in fact. However, in Saquon Barkley, they have a major shining light.

On Thursday night, the G-Men were steamrolled 34-13 by the Philadelphia Eagles at home and slumped to 1-5 for the season, making the prospect of missing out the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons real.

Manning threw for 281 yards, completing 24 of his 43 attempts for no touchdowns and one interception. The 37-year-old's decline has been beyond drastic—he is 43-58 in the regular season since winning a second Super Bowl in 2011—and his performance on against Philly again led pundits to question why the Giants opted against replacing him in the summer.

Last summer, in a draft loaded with quarterback talent, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman chose Barkley with the number two overall pick, passing on the chance to draft one between Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold—who ended up on the other side of the divide in New York.

While sticking with Manning has almost certainly sealed the team's fate this season, at least Giants fans can take solace in the knowledge Barkley is rapidly developing into one of the most exciting running backs in the league.

Against the Eagles, the former Penn State student had 13 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown, which came on the back of a mesmerizing 50-yard run. The rookie has now topped 100 scrimmage yards in his first six games in the NFL and has Kareem Hunt's record of seven straight games firmly in his sight.

While the Giants continued to struggle through the game, Barkley also added nine receptions for 99 yards, which included a 55-yard catch-and-run that saw him run for 34 yards after contact in the second quarter.

Barkley received a short screen past to the right, started upfield and then cut outside. As he moved across the field, defenders kept missing him as he broke tackle after tackle, showing why he was widely singled out as the best athlete in the NFL draft.

The New York native's performance had Twitter gushing and he made history as his 229 yards from scrimmage on Thursday night was the most by a rookie in a game in Giants history.

Barkley has been the only shining light of the G-Men's season so far and that is unlikely to change between now and December. The flipside of the coin is the Giants look destined to secure a high pick in the draft again and next summer they must surely add a quarterback to replace Manning—they could also trade for one, but that would require a high degree of creativity.

The 2019 draft is not as packed with talent at quarterback as this year's but April is still six months away and that is a long time in college football. Even with less options available the Giants should still have a high enough pick to allow them to select one of the top signal callers, should they finally wish to do so.

Have the Giants bit the bullet, sacrificing this season in order to secure both Barkley in the summer and a quarterback in next year's draft? Time will tell but if they find a replacement for Manning in April, they might look like they knew what they were doing all along.