Around the NFC North - Playoff Edition

This week, we take a look at the general matchups the Packers and Lions face in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

It’s down to a pair of NFC North teams who matter. The Green Bay Packers welcome the New York Giants to Lambeau while the Detroit Lions have to find a way to beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle.

Both games are going to be tough ones for the NFC North participants, and we’re here to take a look at some of the broad points to watch during both games.

Packers-Giants

If you ask any Giants fan how they feel about their team heading to Lambeau, they’ll tell you they are confident. The last two playoff games where the Giants went to the Frozen Tundra were in the 2007 and 2011 playoffs, when the Giants won their Super Bowls.

This isn’t either of those Giants teams, though, nor is it either of those Packers teams.

We’ll break down the specific keys to this game Friday, but the biggest problem the Giants have—and advantage the Packers have—is the New York offensive line is bad. Seriously, Packers fans think they know bad offensive lines from a few years ago, but this is beyond what you’ve seen. Ereck Flowers is a train wreck at left tackle, saved only recently by the return of Justin Pugh, and the rest of the line isn’t all that much better.

That means Eli Manning has no time to throw and the backfield gets little help from run blocks, though that has improved the last stretch of games.

We have a Packers team featuring a hot-as-heck passing offense and a solid defense versus a very good Giants defense and a mediocre offense with one nigh-unstoppable player in Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham is going to be a problem, though if the secondary can get under his skin and frustrate him, you can get him off his game.

It’s the Giants’ defense which is going to be the biggest issue for the Packers, though. The Giants have an improving secondary and a tremendous defensive front. They will do their best to contain Aaron Rodgers and will hound him all game.

This is no walk in the park. While the Packers are and should be favored, the Giants will push them hard.

Lions-Seahawks

It’s really hard to see a scenario where the Lions beat this Seahawks team. Seattle is 7-1 at home and if that doesn’t make Lions fans worry, it should. Seattle is a much different team at home than on the road, and much more effective on both sides of the ball.

The Lions are a solid offensive team with moments of defensive competency, mostly via Darius Slay. Slay did a nice job on Jordy Nelson last week, but we saw what happened with everyone else. Like the Packers, the Seahawks have more than just one weapon and a mobile Russell Wilson. If Slay shuts down Doug Baldwin, Wilson will either just scramble until Baldwin gets open or find Jimmy Graham or Jermaine Kearse.

Detroit’s best hope on defense is to attack that offensive line and contain Wilson. That’s a tall order, not because the line is any good—it really isn’t—but because Wilson is elusive. More than likely the Lions will need to have someone like Glover Quin or Tahir Whitehead spy on him and try to cut him off if he runs outside the pocket.

This game is a tough one for the Lions, and they will regret falling short against the Packers in Week 17 by the time it is done.

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Comments (52)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Packer_Pete's picture

January 04, 2017 at 01:49 pm

"Slay did a nice job on Jordy Nelson last week" - I disagree. Clearly seen in most replays, it appeared that Jordy was open almost all the time. The difference was that Rodgers had his choice as to who to throw to, and other receivers were simply in more favorable match-ups or even wider open. But Jordy got the better of Slay all day long. Had Slay shown the same performance while being on the Packers, a lot of regulars here would throw out the "can't cover anybody" line...

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RocsCave's picture

January 04, 2017 at 02:02 pm

" but the biggest problem the Giants have—and advantage the Packers have—is the New York offensive line is bad. "

We've played teams with below average and ' bad ' offensive lines with the 'Colts' being in the bad and the result wasn't pretty.
This is not to imply the same outcome but our front seven needs something to get them to play with the passion and performance drive that is lacking all too often...an erectile dysfunction variant of some nature perhaps.

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chugwater's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:12 pm

While true for the Indy game, keep in mind we manhandled SEA and MIN's porous O lines. It has been done twice in the last 30 days.

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fatalflaw's picture

January 06, 2017 at 12:56 am

So our guys don't get a boner when they play? That's probably a good thing.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 04, 2017 at 02:08 pm

I will say just one thing about Giants OL. Their RT is Marshall Newhouse...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 04, 2017 at 02:59 pm

I remember that Julius Peppers knows what to do with that guy.

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Packer_Pete's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:32 pm

Peppers unfortunately did not practice today...

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Bearmeat's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:38 pm

Peppers almost never practices on Wednesday. That's MM's typical "veteran" rest day. Wood had it for a couple years near the end. So did BF. So did Pick if I remember.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

January 04, 2017 at 08:35 pm

Wood, BF, Pick...cue the banjo
Music

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Handsback's picture

January 04, 2017 at 03:42 pm

Their defense is what scares me. Hard to run on that nose tackle and they have some healthy CBs which would be nice to have for the Packers.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 04, 2017 at 03:58 pm

First off, Eli is a little sissy bitch. The Manning family can eat my ass. All of them, including Archie.

Secondly, I guarantee the Lions beat Seattle. The Turds are a hot mess right now and the whole 12th man mystique is fading fast. This will be the game where the Seaturds run comes to a depressing end for some and the rest of the nation, including this Cheesehead in exile, will tip back a six pack and watch the dumpster fire burn.

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dobber's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:09 pm

I actually agree with you on Detroit: if they can get consistent pressure on Wilson and if they don't turn the ball over, they're going to upset Seattle. That's a tough sell for one of the poorer pass-rush teams in the league, but they did pretty well against the Packers on Sunday.

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chugwater's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:14 pm

I'm sure Ziggy Ansah is licking his chops right now.

I agree. Seattle is very beatable.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:16 pm

Who's the coward that down-voted this?

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:48 pm

You mean COWard?

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:48 pm

Just teasing you.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 04, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Have you watched all 16 Seaturd games, Cow? Sadly, I have. Not only are they a bunch of individual assholes, but also a bunch of jackasses who are playing sub-par football. And they may have the worst O-line in football. With Thomas gone (also a jerk-off), they can't play with one deep safety anymore forcing Captain Huge Mouth (Cam Chancellor) to do what he sucks at, covering people. And then the consistent chirping about how the players are out of control, defying the cocaine gum chomper and the locker room is mess. Makes my heart smile.

Last six games:

TB: Lost and TB was/is still garbage
Panthers: Smoked em (who cares, Carolina had already given up)
GB: Got killed, didn't come to play.
Rams at home: Won, but looked like shit against the worst team in the league (who they lost to earlier in the year)
Cardinals at home: Lost and was the first team in 2016 who couldn't stop Carson Palmer
49'ers at home: Won and looked like complete utter garbage.

if the Turds somehow pull out a win, the will get destroyed by either Atlanta or Dallas.

Lions by a TD.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 04, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Man Point, I'm liking this today. I've had to watch the Seachix all year and don't think they worth a darn. Hate their coach and a fish rots from the head. Bunch of whiney dirty bitches. Hope the Lions win by 30.

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GVPacker's picture

January 05, 2017 at 05:55 am

I share your disdain for the Sea Turds and their fan base, and feel the same way about the Queens and the 49er's. Hopefully the Sea Turds lose to the Lions and soon become basement dwellers like that train wreck 49'ers squad!

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chugwater's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:10 pm

A couple thoughts:

Although it wasn't a playoff game, the 2010 meeting in Week 16 at Lambeau between NY and GB was an elimination game. Loser was disqualified from the postseason. GB won decisively.

If...IF...GB goes on to win the Super Bowl this will be one of the best coaching seasons in the history of the league by McCarthy and his staff. A WR playing RB. Another playing CB?! Safety playing inside linebacker for a stretch. Rookie WR coming along at the end of the year.

Keep your fingers crossed.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

January 04, 2017 at 05:51 pm

COW, I like these situations. I've made a Damn Good living off of situations like this.. I like the fact that there's a question mark on GB. You & most don't understand this, but the more money the other way the better it is for GB. Whether you believe it or not, MM is a GREAT COACH. He knows what's going on. Something you haven't learned yet. I hope the news out of GB this week is all bad. As I posted yesterday, a NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field is possible. Not likely, but possible. Don't write GB off yet. Nothing is guaranteed, but they are heading into these playoff's the way I like things. If by chance, Detroit can pull one out this weekend, Look Out. We may see them again!!
LVT

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

January 04, 2017 at 09:07 pm

COW, You said the same thing before the GB - Seattle game, or have you forgotten. I'm not picking Detroit. I'm saying anything is possible. You didn't give GB a chance against Seattle either, & I walked away with a boat load of cash. Do your talking after the games, not before. You'll be right more than wrong. Yeah, I watch a little football.
LVT

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Since'61's picture

January 04, 2017 at 11:08 pm

COW - over the last 6 games the Packers defense has allowed an average of 17 points per game and is plus 14 in turnovers. I'm not crazy about our secondary but the Packers defense is playing well enough to win and has been finding ways to win. In the end this is all that matters. Also, this isa good time to remind you that you've been saying since last season that Rodgers was done and no longer a top tier QB. You even posted a list of QBs you said were better than Rodgers. That list included Bradford, Cutler, Wilson, Palmer and a number of other no name QBs. It doesn't matter, none of them on your list have had a season anywhere close to Rodgers season (40 TDs, 7 Ints). You were hopelessly wrong as usual, because you don't have any clue about what you are talking about. Who cares if the defense allows someone to have their best day if the Packers win the game.
You are focused on all the wrong things. As a result you don't have any credibility. Enjoy the offseason, your Bears have a lot of work to do. Thanks, Since '61

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marpag1's picture

January 05, 2017 at 05:43 am

But of course you are missing - no, not missing, but intentionally avoiding - the obvious point. Even if your list was an accurate assessment of how QBs were playing "at the time," you were clearly suggesting that Rodgers was "done" and that the Packers needed to move on and make big changes. And those comments are now seen to be horribly and somewhat laughably wrong. ARod is most certainly not "done" as you so confidently asserted.

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marpag1's picture

January 05, 2017 at 09:22 am

Allow me to refresh your weak memory. Does this sound familiar or do you need more examples?

Grimbo says:
September 20, 2016 at 09:21 am

I say bench Rodgers and put in Hundley. This offense would be electric with him running it. Like it used to be...

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COW says:
September 20, 2016 at 09:36 am

I am 100% in favor of this.
We've all seen what Rodgers has become.
He's done as an NFL starting level quarterback.
Time to move forward.

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http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/corys-corner-perfection-is-faulting-aaron-r...

Oh, and if you'd like, I can also post where you said that Peppers and CM3 would be suspended for PEDs, or where you said that Montgomery would never play another snap, or where you said that Jordy Nelson would never be a decent player after the knee injury, or where you said....

Nothing hides on the internet, Beef-Man.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 05, 2017 at 09:50 am

This made my day.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2017 at 09:03 am

LMAO

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fatalflaw's picture

January 06, 2017 at 01:02 am

Capers is almost as underrated as McCarthy by the fair weather part time fantasy world fans.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:20 pm

Seeing the stat about the Giants offense running the ball for an average of 130 yards over the last several weeks is the only thing I've read this week that really got me worried, so far.

Those WRs are a good group, especially against our bandaged and banged-up band of guys, but I at least was hoping we might have been able to hang our hats on focusing on the pass. I hadn't realized they had so much success on the ground.

It's the thing that's got me taking NYG +4.5 and hoping like hell that I lose that money.

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chugwater's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:34 pm

That kinda puzzles me too. Last week their running game got 100+ yds and their great receivers played the entire game to my knowledge.

And yet their offense could only score 13 points before the defense got a cheap TD on the last play of the game. Something's not adding up.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:53 pm

Maybe teams are focusing on the pass, and have been willing to give up a few run yards. The results the last five games speak for themselves. Point production for the Giants has been very anemic.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 04, 2017 at 07:33 pm

It's the OL and Eli. Both have been not very good all year. The WRs are great - IF Eli gets them the ball. He hasn't on a regular basis other than ODB.

I would think we should have safety help over the top on ODB, but IMO by FAR the biggest issue on defense will be stopping the run and harassing Eli in the pocket. Rodgers won't score less than 20, so if we do those two things, we win.

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ironman3169's picture

January 05, 2017 at 05:49 am

Certainly hope you're correct. I recall a very high powered offense on 2011 that sputtered and failed. This year's team has a better running game though, and that greatly improves their ability to produce points.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:10 am

Name the players from Giants who played that game in 2011 and also will play Sunday on the same lavel! Please...

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GVPacker's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:10 am

Add to that bad Giants O line Eli has the mobility of a Cigar Store Indian. I would expect Matthews, Peppers and Nick Perry getting some good shots at Mr Manning!

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dobber's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:14 am

The Giants offense relies on the defense to keep games close and waits for OBJ to break a big play. That's about it. They've run the ball well down the stretch against three very pedestrian run defenses: Philly has been average at best since mid-season, Detroit is gave up 140+ per game over their last 3, and Washington is just bad. The bottom line is that the Packers need to be just good enough against the run on Sunday that the Giants will be doing the Packers a favor by not putting the ball in the air.

Eli is inconsistent (and, frankly, inaccurate), they don't convert third downs (#28 in the league), almost 30% of their possessions result in 3-and-outs (#29), and they're 29th in TOP. By comparison, the Packers are 2nd in third down conversions, 9th best in 3-and-outs, and 4th in TOP. If those stats hold true (and the Packers don't turn the ball over 5 times), the Packers should win.

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MarkinMadison's picture

January 04, 2017 at 04:55 pm

There is nothing about the Giants offense that says they can put up big points. I'm thinking this is probably a low scoring game - like the winner will be the team that gets to 24. It's an interesting match-up.

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EdsLaces's picture

January 04, 2017 at 05:03 pm

Interesting match up? Perfect match up imo. Amazing D vs pretty amazing O. I agree on your prediction I see a score of 24 21 or 24 17.......PACK!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 05, 2017 at 09:52 am

How did that work against Detroit? I'd take Detroit's offense ANY day - Stafford broken finger and all - against the NYG O.

17 points until garbage time. That's how it worked. Who cares about yards.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 04, 2017 at 06:31 pm

Anyone else expecting a big game from Cook?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 05, 2017 at 12:07 am

I am. I am thinking 60 yards (a nice game for a TE) to 80+ yards from Cook. I do seem to like Cook more than most commenters, though.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 05, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Nice. Thanks for that link.

I agree with just about everything written in that piece. Either Collins plays off and tries to help with the WRs (especially Nelson + Adams) that have been on fire as of late, or play aggressive and leave the CBs with out help.

I'm interested in seeing if the Giants decide to blitz Rodgers much this game.

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Lphill's picture

January 04, 2017 at 06:54 pm

Hey Cow i think the Vikings defense is better and faster than the Giants defense and Rodgers got the best of them on a bad leg or did you forget? You can't tell me the Giants D is superior to the Vikings D .

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GBPack's picture

January 04, 2017 at 07:23 pm

Very comparable. Vikings LB group is better. When JPP is healthy I'd take the Giants DL over the Vikings, and I think the NY secondary is better. Jenkins, Apple and DRC are probably the best 3 corners on one team and Landon Collins is playing out of his mind. They're legit.

Still, if the their offense continues the trend of putting up less than 20 per game I'm not too worried.

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keeley2's picture

January 04, 2017 at 09:02 pm

My, my, my. Throw it out there and hope it sticks. Can you name the players you are elevating or trashing? No research? I'm not surprised. Trolls gotta hate I guess.

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dobber's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:15 am

keeley2, meet Cow.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2017 at 04:34 pm

Lol

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keeley2's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:07 pm

More importantly, do you know the corners you are comparing them to? I didn't think so.

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andrewgarda's picture

January 05, 2017 at 08:53 pm

The Giants defense right now is better. Not on paper but on the field. The Vikings D played terribly much of the last month and was inconsistent much of the year.

So year, NYG D is legit.

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fatalflaw's picture

January 06, 2017 at 01:11 am

I think McCarthy has been playing cat and mouse with the rest of the league, saving the creative plays for the playoffs so there's no film to study in preparation. Also brings Peppers out full force. If we weren't in such sad shape in the secondary this would be our year. GO PACK! !

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