One, perhaps overlooked, thing to watch for in each phase of the game as the Green Bay Packers prepare to take on the New York Giants in Week 13...
- Offense: The continued maturation of Marshall Newhouse––It was at one time projected by head coach Mike McCarthy that Chad Clifton would return in time for today's Giants game. That won't happen after it was learned Clifton has a back issue in addition to a hamstring injury. But young Marshall Newhouse has done yeoman's work in place of Clifton for half the season. He hasn't been perfect, but he held his own considering the circumstances and seems to be getting better with each passing week. Jason Pierre-Paul, arguably the Giants' best defender, will replace Osi Umenyiora in the starting lineup and should lineup across from Newhouse frequently on Sunday. It will be a matchup between two emerging players whose best days are ahead of them.
- Defense: Walden vs. backup left tackle––David Diehl will start at left tackle for Will Beatty who is out with an eye injury. Diehl is a veteran who spent several seasons at left tackle, but he's on the downside of his career and would be at left guard if it wasn't for Beatty's injury. Right outside linebacker Erik Walden will start and, although he may rotate with Frank Zombo, he'll be lined up across from Diehl quite a bit this afternoon. No one on the Packers' roster could use a big game like Walden, whose arrest and jail time last week were the subject of unwanted attention.
- Special teams: Punt return unit––Giants punter Drew Weatherford was the punter for the Jets last season, and as you might remember, attempted to run for a first down against the Packers. He tried to do the same thing this past Monday night against the Saints. Although I can't see Weatherford running for a first down, the Packers' punt return unit is still worth watching. Randall Cobb, who has two fumbles on punt returns this season, can't afford any more. But if the Packers can give him a seam, he's a threat to take it to the house at any time.
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