Supporting Cast Pt. 1, Receiving Corps
This is something of a chicken-and-egg proposition: While we're pretty sure the Giants wouldn't go 2-14 next season if Eli decided to never come back from Disney World, based on numbers and names alone, Peyton has had the far better supporting cast, at least on the offensive side of the ball, and particularly his receiving corps (granted, Peyton contributed heavily to those numbers and clearly helped make those names).
Any discussion about Peyton's receivers starts with two names: Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. It's hard to gauge the Hall of Fame candidacies of wide receivers these days, with players toting impressive resumes like Cris Carter and Tim Brown getting shut out, but it seems like Harrison is a lock for Canton. He made three first team All-Pro teams, is second in league history in receptions, and twice averaged more than 100 yards a game for a season. Wayne has made one first team All-Pro squad, led the league in receiving yards in 2007, and has three seasons of 100 or more catches. Of course Wayne's drop-off this season, his worst statistically since 2003, makes a great argument for how valuable Peyton is.
Eli has played with a series of good, not great receivers since he became the Giants starter during the 2004 season: Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, and Victor Cruz have combined for six 1,000 yard receiving seasons with Eli (two fewer than Harrison had alone); only Cruz has made an All-NFL team (he was second team this year). Could Eli and Cruz combine for a Peyton-Harrison-esque run during the next half decade (except with more salsa and less shooting)? Giants fans sure hope so, but until then, it's clear the Peyton has been working with the better supporting cast.