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Giants vs. Packers: How It Breaks Down

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Giants vs. Packers: How It Breaks Down

When The Packers Have The Ball:

In their early December meeting with the Giants, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy called a surprising number of running plays, most likely to help protect his quarterback from a potent pass rush from New York's front four, led by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Look for McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to sprinkle in a bit more West Coast-style passing game in place of those run calls this time around. Too often in the last game, the Packers were left facing 3rd and long after failing to make much headway on early downs via the running game. This time around, you can expect the Packers to take to the air early to try and stay ahead of the sticks.

The biggest matchup that bears watching is whoever is playing left tackle for the Packers against Pierre-Paul. The defensive lineman made life miserable for Marshall Newhouse and will be a handful for Chad Clifton if he doesn't improve from his 26 snap performance against the Lions in Week 17.

What is interesting to note is that in regards to the Giants' pass rush is that, after spending all week leading up to the last game talking about how his defense would hit Aaron Rodgers, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell hardly blitzed at all and actually only rushed three down lineman on a number of 3rd downs. This tactic left eight defenders in coverage and made it difficult for Rodgers to find open receivers consistently. If Fewell uses the same approach this time, expect McCarthy to flood one side of the zone or the other to try and imbalance the numbers in favor of his quarterback.

While the Giants have a formidable rush, where the Packers have the advantage is the matchup with their receivers against the Giants' secondary. Corey Webster, the Giants' number one corner, is a good player but he was added to the injury report yesterday with a tweaked hamstring. After Webster, there is a big drop off in talent, with Aaron Ross (who is recovering from a concussion but should play) and the Giants' first round pick Prince Amukamara being tasked with covering the likes of Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver and James Jones. When the Packers go to their four and five wide receiver packages, Fewell will try to counter with his big nickel, bringing safety Deon Grant on in favor of former Packer Will Blackmon at corner. Grant, along with free safety Kenny Phillips and starting strong safety Antrel Rolle will be part of a mix of coverages trying to keep McCarthy from getting favorable matchups.

When The Giants Have The Ball:

Much is being made about Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji telling reporters that the New York offensive line is not the toughest that the Packers have faced. Raji has good reason to be confident, as he had by far his best game in 2011 against the Giants last month. Of course, the Giants started their left guard at center in that game after their regular starting center David Bass was a surprise scratch due to headaches.

As well as Raji played, however, his linemates had possibly their worst game as a collective unit against the Giants' line. Ryan Pickett, Howard Green, Jarius Wynn, not to mention Mike Neal in his second game back, were all pushed around in the running game and provided absolutely nothing in terms of collapsing the pocket.

If the Packers want to improve their defensive performance against the Giants at all it must start up front. Raji and company can't allow the Giants' offensive line to play three or four yards past the line of scrimmage on running plays, which was a common occurrence back on December 4th.

One major difference on defense for the Packers will be the presence of starting middle linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk, both of whom missed the last matchup. While active and eager, both Robert Francois and D.J. Smith were exposed repeatedly both in coverage and in the run game against the Giants. While Bishop should be an upgrade, it remains to be seen if having Hawk in the lineup will make much of a difference. He has looked simply terrible since returning from the calf injury that sidelined him on Thanksgiving.

When it comes to the Giants' passing game, Eli Manning has a deep and talented receiving corps to work with against a secondary that has given up way too many big plays in 2011, with the last game between these two teams being no exception.

As I wrote earlier in the week, the Packers need to focus on their fundamentals. That, more than any possible adjustments made by defensive coordinator Dom Capers, will go a long way to improving their efforts overall at slowing down the Giants, especially on third down where they were abysmal last month.

Enough Already, Who Wins?

All week I've been telling anyone who asks that this game will either be a nail-biting victory for the Giants or a blowout win for the Packers.

In the end I think the addition of Clifton and Josh Sitton, who also missed the previous matchup, to the offensive line will be enough to fend off the Giants' formidable pass rush. With time for the quarterback, the Packers receiving corps, especially tight end Jermichael Finley, will be too deep and too much for the Giants to hold down. When you have Jordy Nelson and James Jones going up against Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara, you're going to win more battles than you lose.

Yes, the Giants will move the ball and score points. But in the end it won't be enough to keep up with Rodgers and the Packers offense.

Packers: 35

Giants: 24

Comments (55)

TundraBoy's picture

I agree. I just read my LAST article on all this. To Giant fans.

Truth is Gints played meaningful games against crap. Pack played meaningless games to them somewhat ( # 1 seed) against two enemies with great D's who wanted BADLY to knock them off, Stop looking for insight from stats. Stop trying to play the momentum angle to justify it will be different this time. If anything Pack can make THAT argument. WE had our JV O line and Aaron was very off on his throws which has not happened ALL year.
It will be different , just not what you think.

GO PACK GOOOOOOOOOO

TundraBum's picture

Son?
:-)

andrewgarda's picture

LOL

TundraBoy's picture

Perhaps But I go back to 62

mark's picture
aussiepacker's picture
aussiepacker's picture
PackersRS's picture

Great take.

One thing that Hawk will bring is playcall adjustement. Particularly in that last drive, Eli Manning kept making corrections at the LOS that were the difference. Eli kept calling for delayed routes from the TEs and RBs, which were used to great success.

I believe he won't have such an easy time this time around with Hawk wearing the headset.

packeraaron's picture

Agreed. Think that last drive was a combination of Hawk being out and Woodson being lost earlier in the game.

PackersRS's picture

Forgot about Woodson!

Thinking about it, it makes you question Hawk's real importance on that aspect. The last time Woodson was lost was on SB XLV, and there was a gaudy difference between the defense of the first and second half, most noticeably on 3rd down play. Hawk played both halfs though.

packeraaron's picture

Yes, I would contend that is more of the Jarrett Bush Factor at work...

Bob's picture

The Pack has to have a better DB coming off the bench next year for those nickel packages. Thank God Rothlisberger had a brain fart in the Super Bowl. Bush's man (the tightend he left to jump the route) was wide open running dowm the sideline with his hand in the air, sure touchdown.

packeraaron's picture

That was actually Woodson's man. Bush played that play perfectly.

Bob's picture

Woodson is expected to do more than I thought. He's good but covering two receiver going different directions is tough. I rewatched that game this morning to get the karma for the Pack going. Looks to me like Bush had the tightend and Woodson spotted him running free, then tried to play catch up by leaving the slot receiver he was on. Could be wrong, maybe Bush & Woodson were in a zone. That would seem unusual but to have 2 DB playing zone and 1 playing man. Shields had tight man coverage on the outside receiver on a crossing route(route intercepted). Either way the routes were disigned to clear out the defenders and didn't, Rothlisberger should have seen this in his read.

packeraaron's picture

Ben def should have seen it. But Darren Perry and Joe Whitt Jr. both said after the Super Bowl that was Woodson's screw up.

As for DBs playing zone and man, that actually happens a bit more than most think.

Bob's picture

Can't argue with that, but watch the play if you have it. Woodson was by their explanation responsible for the tightend but also responsible for bump and run coverage on the slot receiver.Sounds like a screw up in the scheme for the secondary. Kind of hard to cover to 5 receivers on the line of scrimmage with 4 DB and a safety 15 yards off the line of scrimmage. I will say this after looking even closer at the play. Bush took 2 slide steps with the tightend, which may have fooled Rothlisberger into thinking the area was going to be clear. The whole alignment of the defense was strange. 3 downlineman, 1 linebacker at the line. Shields, Woodson, Collins at the line in bump coverage, Williams 10 yards off the line on his man, Peprah as the lone man back and Hawk in the Mike. Bush is dancing around opposite side of the line from the tightend until just before the snap of the ball. He moves behind Hawk and then towards the tightend, takes 2 slidesteps with him. Then cuts back to jump the crossing route. What happened will remain a mystery, but Woodson responsible for 2 receivers, somethings not right.

Scott W's picture

The Packer-Giant game will be in my opinion the real Super Bowl.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

and then after that the saints at lambeau will be the REALLY real super bowl.

and then after that the actual superbowl will be the ... ACTUAL super bowl.

cow42's picture

The Packer offense will have to be perfect. 3 or more non-scoring drives will mean a loss.

mark's picture
packsmack25's picture

LOL the Giants only scored 30 or more points thrice this year, and never broke 40. You're wrong, but what's new?

cow42's picture

they didn't play against the Packer d every week.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Thrice. Nice.

Mojo's picture

Funny stuff Mark.

Ardog's Mustache's picture

Interested to see why you think the Pack would loose a Nail biter.

andrewgarda's picture

I think Aaron is just saying that the only way the Giants win is if they can keep it close. So if the Giants win, it will be close.

packeraaron's picture

Bingo.

Arodg's Mustache's picture

Thanks for the clarification. I think your right. Either a close game that could go either way or a Packer style blowout. I think there will not be much of a chance for the giants to hold the pack under 35 points. I hope the crowd is a huge factor in this game creating flase starts and allowing CMIII to get a nice jump off he line. Clay has been a step away from a sack all season long. This is the game he gets that step back!! go pack!! How great would it be to see some pass rush from the side opposite clay? OMG I would wet myself.

Bearmeat's picture

Correction: AJ Hawk has been terrible all year. He can't cover, he can't rush. He doesn't have a killer LB mentality.

The only thing he does well is know the defensive calls and adjustments. He diagnoses plays in time, but he's so slow that he doesn't get the the ball carrier until 5 yards downfield anyway.

In summation: AJ Hawk is a below average football player for the Green Bay Packers. But at least he's getting paid like a probowler... so there's that.. :(

Bob's picture

I don't think Hawk's a bad player, more someone who doesn't fit the systems he has played for the Packers. Coming out of colledge he was thought to be a 4-3 mike linebacker. He was used by GB on the outside, then comes the 3-4, he plays middle but it's different. It just doesn't fit his skill set.

dennis eckersly's picture

It's not like we invested a top 10 pick on him or anything so we should really just be content with his play.

Bob's picture

No, we should combine him with another player and trade them to a team that he will fit for a top 10 pick. Miami

Bob's picture

I'm looking for the defense to step up their game. Expecting at least three Eli passes to be intercepted, if they hold onto the football. 3 turnovers should mean something other than a close game.

NoWayJose's picture

If you're killing time this weekend before the game, I just want to recommend giving the 2007NFCCG a rewatch - NFLN has been showing it this week.

That was a very different Packers team. Some stuff that jumped out at me, good and bad about that team:

*Koren Robinson returning kicks AND playing at WR. Makes it seem like ancient history.

*Vernand Morency got carries. Vernand Morency.

*KGB's jump off the snap was unreal. Freakish.

*Donald Driver put it in 5th gear and outran the entire D for a 90 yard TD. Sad to say those days are gone.

*Brady Poppinga, for all the griping about him, could play the run. I'm not sure his 2007 version wouldnt start for this team.

* Favre was spraying it all over the place. It'll be a whole new day on Sunday. Go Pack Go.

dennis eckersly's picture

Why the *&%$ would I ever want to watch that game again. What the *%&^ is wrong with you?

NoWayJose's picture

I felt that way too a little. If we hadn't won the SB last year, I probably couldnt have done it. The sting was soothed a little knowing the future.

It's an interesting watch. It also made me feel a little better about the upcoming game. This team is better than that team.

FITZCORE1252's picture

I saw it. Figured I should watch it one more time, then never think about it again. Like you said, watching the thing it's just so blatent that that team and this team are not alot alike, in many, many ways. Sure some similarities are still there, but I'm glad I watched it and came away feeling even better going into Sunday.

GBP 4 LIFE

TundraBoy's picture

Yes and I saw how awful Brett was at disguising the run, No wonder we lost. He was so going through the motions. He was just way too predictable. Drop back like the super passer god his head got so big for him to see. Or "look at me I know how to hand off too". We all know why no players said a word when he was gone about missing him.

TundraMan's picture

Another Idiot that don't know Football

TundraBoy's picture

Truth hurts

PackersRS's picture

Ok, now I understand.

Hey, there's this Tebow guy now that you may like. Check him out. All heart, he motivates and wills his team to win. It sure seems like he's having fun out there every time he takes the field.

Honest John's picture

I remember just before the the start of the 2007 champianship game, the tv camara caught Favre in the tunnel waiting to run out. I remember the look in his eyes. I thought it was fear - fear of the cold (it was damn cold!) and the knowledge the years were catching up to him. I think he just ran out of gas in OT.

PackersRS's picture

Before that. I've re-watched the game with in-game commentary, and even before that Favre started making some unbelievably stupid decisions.

Remember that int that one of our guys was able to force a fumble out of and we ended up recovering? As soon as Favre started scrambling MM screams "what the hell is he doing?".

I believe that in that moment MM made his mind about Favre.

TundraMan's picture

You don't know what your talking about

PackersRS's picture

Only the last part is speculative. All the rest are facts.

I don't remember if I saw it on the Giants' America's Game, or if I saw it in NFL's Greatest Games.

But it's there.

TundraBoy's picture

I saw it just like the look of utter frustration on everyones faces on the last play

TundraBoy's picture

I saw the same. Farve did not look up for it. Not dumping on him but it was not a good sight to see him dressed like an Eskimo and Eli not. It was a title game at Lambeau and he was their leader for so long. Maybe I am bitter for all the snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for so long.

TundraMan's picture

Whats up that ppl keep blaming Favre for that 08 loss the the giants......what about Al Harris giving up a 190 yds to Burris and those 2 critcal penalties. What about Grant rushing for under 30 yds. What about thhose 5 fumbles in that game and the Pack got one of them.....That game never should have went to OT....Grant couldn't run so he had to win it him self.....If Al Harris did half his job thatgame never would have went OT!.....Quit slamming favre when he was surrounded by a bunch of loafers

PackersRS's picture

Where did anyone blame Favre for the loss?

Ruppert's picture

I agree 100% that the game never should have gone to overtime. There's a lot of blame to go around. I still want to slap Brandon Jackson for running straight into a defender and sticking like Velcro on a screen pass that certainly would have been a TD if he runs anywhere but where he did.

But the signature stupid moment was the Favre INT. There is no excuse whatsoever for attempting that asinine throw IN THAT SITUATION. None.

Honest John's picture

The inability to cover Burris was big. No doubt about it.

Mojo's picture

Focus on this game GB fans.

EBL's picture

http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/01/giants-packers-predictor.html

The Giants need to accept they will lose. They will never touch the Lombardi trophy again due to their blasphemy.

But because they are not as pathetic as the Eagles or the Cowboys, and they gave us Lombardi, we can let them lose with the understanding that they lost to the best (no shame in that).

http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/01/blasphemy-curse-of-trooper-y...

TundraBoy's picture

Time for the Game soon! But before then I just had to post this again

Please read the idiot named Santiago’s comment to this news. Unbelievable there are people like this in this world.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/.....21861.html

EBL's picture

http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/01/wisconsin-wins.html

Miss Wisconsin beat Miss New York. So the Packers will beat the Giants.

Good job preventing a TD by the Giants.
http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/01/tale-of-two-sports-fan-sites...

Giants fans are very sensitive.

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