By Zach Walker
New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers
Sunday – January 8 – 3:40 pm
Lambeau Field – Green Bay – Wisconsin
Records Before the Game
New York Giants (11-5, 4-4 Away)
Green Bay Packers (10-6, 6-2 Home)
New York Giants
Their biggest weapon: The Defense is finally firing.
The plan of the offseason was to throw all the money possible at defensive free agents and hope they mesh into a defense. First, on behalf of Cowboys’ fans, I’d love to just thank the Los Angeles Rams on letting the wrong corner walk in free agency. Now the NFC East will be graced with Janoris Jenkins for a while. He’s dynamite. Everything they hoped he’d be, and perhaps more. Olivier Vernon is a dominant force on the outside, opposite of Jason Pierre-Paul. The real step-up of late has been “Snacks” Harrison. Besides having the coolest nickname, outside of Nick Hayden, Harrison has been two handfuls of a terror in the middle, basically as a huge track switch, dictating where the running back will go opposite of him. The Giants have been winning games of late, just keeping teams down and really putting setting a premium on points.
Their most glaring flaw: The Giants’ rushing game.
The Giants offense is Eli Manning to Odell Beckham. Really, it is that simple. Maybe, some Sterling Shepard peppered in, perhaps a look towards Victor Cruz every once in a while, but it is just Manning getting the ball to Beckham. Partly because Eli is a stubborn quarterback, and partly because they can’t run the ball. The Giants are 29th in the league in rushing. I have no idea what happened to Andre Williams, as far as I know, he’s a graduate assistant coach back at Boston College. Rashad Jennings can get some loose change yardage here and there. And rookie Paul Perkins just picked up his first 100-yard game last week, but the thought of the Giants ground attack pushing anyone around, and keeping the ball away from Aaron Rodgers and his offense is pretty laughable.
The Green Bay Packers
Their biggest weapon: The Passing attack, outside of Davante Adams in the redzone.
Aaron Rodgers is on fire. Except for his extremely stupid insurance commercials, he’s been perfect over the past six weeks. Full on GameShark mode with everything that he’s doing out there. Over the past six games, he’s thrown 15 touchdown passes to a massive zero interceptions. Now, often when one installs GameShark codes, the game experiences some glitchy play. Case of Davante Adams, who I swear has dropped four passes when getting two feet cleanly patting the turf, and his two hands on the ball, after being completely thrown open by Rodgers. He’s still got some epic clutch, case of his connection to Jordy Nelson like a bomb from the moon against the Bears to set up the winning field goal. The Packers’ experiment with Ty Montgomery in the backfield has yielded a tasty payoff. He’s kind of a really unpolished LeSean McCoy, with the ball in the open field. If ole’ Lego Hands Davante Adams can accept a ball from his quarterback, this game could be a wash going the Packers’ way.
Their most glaring flaw: The Packers’ cornerbacks.
Clay Matthews can be all over for Dom Capers and his defense, but he can’t play cornerback. Quinten Rollins won’t be playing after being strapped to the backing board against the Lions, and though Damarious Randall also got hurt against the Lions. That game was a backend buzzsaw. Casey Hayward isn’t coming out of the tunnel to save the day. It’s up to Randall to heal quickly, and Micah Hyde, and LaDarius Gunter to keep the trio of Beckham, Shepard, and Cruz under wraps. Yeah, seems likely… Let’s hope that Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers can get after Eli Manning.
Packers 20 – Giants 18
It’s a battle of two hot teams. Packers are about as good as it gets right now, with Aaron Rodgers hitting his stride just as he said he would, and with everyone actually believing that the Pack can run the table. Eli Manning just does it in the playoffs. When he’s in the dance, he’s money. Both teams can win it all, and both teams have their flaws, and it’s that dynamic balance that makes this matchup must watch. I think the Giants’ defense keeps this game close, and the Packers take the game in the third quarter and force Eli into some mistakes trying to throw his team back into the game.