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“The more his back is against the wall, the better he performs,” the Giants co-owner said. “There is nobody I would rather have with the ball in his hands at the end of the game, with a chance to win, than Eli Manning.”

The Giants have weapons to surround Manning on both sides of the ball.

The only starters who are free agents are tackle Kareem McKenzie, linebacker Chase Blackburn, cornerback Aaron Ross and Weatherford. A number of key role players also don’t have contracts, including Manningham, who lost his starting job to Victor Cruz. Other key players who might test free agency are defensive end Dave Tollefson, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, cornerback Terrell Thomas, safety Deon Grant and backup quarterback David Carr.

“Oh, man, I really want to see them keep this team together,” said running back Brandon Jacobs.

If the Giants do, they can make another run.

“If we won one this year, there is no doubt in my mind we can (win another),” Kiwanuka said. “We just have to get in the playoffs, that’s it.”

While Manning also had his eyes on the future, he relished the team’s second championship in the last five seasons for a different reason.

“Each one is special,” said Manning, who appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Monday night. “Each one has special moments during the season and, obviously, different teammates. This year, I am just happy for a number of guys getting a championship.

“… To give them that opportunity for these next five or six months, we can say, `Hey, we are the best. We are the champs.’ That’s a pretty nice feeling.”