Eli Manning; Photo: Chang W. Lee/NY Times

It didn't take long for Eli Manning to earn a starting nod in the preseason, but a start in first game of the regular season is far from assured. After completing 7 of 13 for 91 yards in his debut, Manning will start his first professional game when the Giants face the Panthers tonight in Charlotte. It will be an interesting chance to see how Manning looks against a strong first-team defense, but two-time N.F.L. MVP Kurt Warner is still the likely starter when the Giants open the regular season Sept. 12 in Philadelphia.

"The decision coming in was that they were going to compete for the job," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Therefore, we were going to give both of them the opportunity to start, and this week is Eli's opportunity. Last week was Kurt's. This week is Eli's. It's a rotation I planned to do all along."

[Entry by Fred B.]