Packers XLV

Packers Face Huge Test Against Rested, Angry Champs

Posted November 23rd, 2012 @ 08:11pm

Eli's back and he's ready to make his post-bye run, following two losses heading into the Giants' bye week. In come the Packers for a prime time matchup that will supremely test the backups that the Pack are counting on.

The Giants are either in the middle of, or coming out of their annual November swoon. When we last saw them, they were getting demolished by the perennially mediocre Bengals. The week before they lost at home to the Steelers. Manning has been pedestrian in recent weeks, but typically has strong Decembers. I checked the calendar: this game is being played in November. Score one for the green and gold.

Eli and the Giants have won their last four games following a week off and returned from the bye with a players-only meeting. They hope to figure out what has happened to their pass rush, which has disappeared in the last month. Their line features 7 or 8 guys they rotate, but is led by Jason Pierre-Paul, who will spend most of the night matched up with Marshall Newhouse.  Because their line gets good pressure, they can play their safeties back and make Rodgers try to beat them underneath.

It appears that their best secondary player, Kenny Phillips, will return after missing six weeks with an MCL injury. He removes a weak link in the defense and will make things tougher for the Packers' offense. Their defense ranks 25th in yards allowed through the air--Phillips' return will help tremendously. It will be incumbent on the Pack to get the ground game going early, to force them to move their safeties up to respect the running game.

We'll be watching the offensive line very closely to see the kind of job they're doing giving Rodgers time to operate. Evan Dietrich-Smith was just so-so in his first start against the Lions and he'll face an even stiffer test against the Giants' front four. TJ Lang at right tackle is a work in progress. He'll hav ehis hands full with Justin Tuck.

The Packers have listed Greg Jennings as questionable for this game, but I'd be very surprised if he's active. Mike McCarthy will sit down with his doctor on Saturday morning to discuss his progress. I'd say there's a much better chance he's on the field next Sunday against the Vikings.

Defensively, the Packers will once again be without Clay Matthews, who will miss his second game with a hamstring injury. Dezman Moses had a very strong game against the Lions and will need to be just as good against Eli. He'll have chances against the aging David Diehl, who appears to be on his last legs and has caused Manning to rush some throws and altogether feel a little uncomfortable in the pocket.

With Sam Shields and Charles Woodson still at least a couple weeks away, the young secondary players will need to sustain the level of play we've seen in recent weeks. Casey Hayward has been a revelation and Davon House seems to get better each week. They'll have their hands full with Victor Cruz in the slot, while Tramon Williams shadows Hakeem Nicks on the outside.

We all know that if this game comes down to a field goal battle, the Packers are sunk. Mason Crosby is fighting through the worst slump of his career, while Lawrence Tynes has been as steady and reliable as anyone in the league.

Interestingly, the Packers have won the last three regular season matchups in this series, all on the road. We know the last two post-season games have gone the Giants' way.

The Pack, along with the Broncos, are the league's hottest teams, riding five game winning streaks and Mike McCarthy is terrific on Sunday nights, winning six of his last seven games (the only loss coming in New England with Matt Flynn in 2010). And oddly enough, the Giants, who typically play up to or down to their opponent, have been a better road team than a home team of late.

But when you add everything up: no Claymaker, Giants coming off two straight losses and the bye, shuffled Packers offensive line, return of Kenny Phillips, it seems to me the Giants have the intangibles in their favor. Rodgers is great enough to engineer a mild upset, but I gotta believe the Giants play a strong, focused, error-free game.

Giants 30 Packers 28

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Comments (6):

Hope you're wrong, Dave. And I'm predicting you will be. This, IMHO, sets up well for the Pack. It's also a statement game, in as much as it will show if the Packers are true contenders, even with as many second and third string guys as they have right now. We'll see what they have going against a quality club like the Giants. Pack 31, Giants 21.

on November 24th, 2012 at 02:42pm

It won't surprise me either way how this game comes out. Given what's happened between the Packers and Giants since 2007 this is becoming a Rivalry Game. The Giants are in a slump now, typical for them both at this time of year and in the season following a Super Bowl win. The Packers are usually going into high gear at this point; but do have injury issues with which to contend. Key is going to be how well the Packers' o-line can hold up against formidable Giants rush personnel. They can't abandon rushing attempts and receivers can't be dropping balls, like they did 9 times in playoff loss last January. And no turnovers. Green Bay had 4 last time these teams met in playoff football. The defense can't give up too many big plays. No safety whiffing an open field tackle on Hakeem Nicks and letting it become a 66 yd. td play or leaking a 37 yd Hail Mary td pass at the end of the half, like in January. Both teams have room to handle a loss Sunday without serious damage to their playoff prospects. But this one is about pride. The Packers remember well this is the club that spoiled their historic season and denied them a repeat Super Bowl Championship ten months ago.

on November 24th, 2012 at 07:59am

Yep, Larry. I can only aspire to understand football like you. Looks like the four Green Bay Press Gazette writers are as clueless as I am. They all picked the Giants to win. Hope we're wrong. Let us know if we are, will ya?

on November 24th, 2012 at 08:54pm

Davey, u are surprising me. I thought u knew these packers? I have been wrong once this year so far, I called win at indy but said it will be tough with the emotion of losing coach and we lost, seattle I am not counting, I said we would win that win 20-16. stupid ref. we did win it, but that is over. called Houston win, and niners loss. not bad for a salesman from sconnie. not bragging just calling what I have posted so far.I said last year we would lose to the giants and we did. but I have a feeling we beat them this week. Packerlifer, your right on with o-line, we cannot have any more injuries there. we will miss 52, but moses is doing fine, and Eli hates push up the middle and neal and picket have been doing well doing that along with the stunts there running with lb's. up the middle. starks needs 85 yards rushing, run 4 screens, to control there pass rush and finley will be open a lot and have a good game again.. giants score late to make score closer but, we win 31-27, go packers!!

on November 24th, 2012 at 11:47am

I like your prediction, larry, Packers come out on top & Crosby makes a field goal! This game could go either way depending on turnovers. I'm hopeful the Pack can pull it out but wouldn't be surprised if the Giants beat them. Uh Davey, the 2010 matchup against the Giants was at Lambeau, not on the road. The other 2 games were @ NY (New Jersey) though.

on November 24th, 2012 at 12:25pm

settle down Davey, u know i'm a predicatholic, and the guys on here before said i need to let them know what i wrote because they don't read every post. the difference is, when i'm wrong i let everyone know also. i thought that what this blog was for. to have fun and make predictions, isn't that what u do? and a lot of others on here? we all like to be right once in a while. you have said many times on the radio and this blog when u predict something right and let us know. were just having fun here. I hope that's ok. go pack

on November 25th, 2012 at 10:28am

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