Giants vs. Packers: Saturday Rants & Raves

First things's first: we do NOT want to see this story's image on Sunday night! 

With the Green Bay Packers coming off of a bye week, they will be getting some players back healthy and another week closer to getting a few more back from suspensions (Mike Pennel and Demetri Goodson).  The Packers were able to take care of the Detroit Lions without the services of four of their top defensive starters and of those, it appears as though only cornerback Sam Shields is likely to miss Sunday night's game against the New York football Giants.  

Here's a look at some of the things I'm looking forward to and dreading about this upcoming game.

Rants

The Secondary

With no Shields (likely) and Damarious Randall nursing a thumb and groin injury, the Packers will have their hands full with the Giants receivers.  Victor Cruz spent nearly two years out of football due to injuries but can still find his way around the back end of one of the youngest defensive secondary units in the league.  Sterling Shepard will test the coverage skills of nickel corner Quinten Rollins as well as the inside linebackers Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan.  

But let's be honest.  We all want to know who's covering Odell Beckham, Jr. and what we can expect.  Randall has been limited in practice and his status for Sunday isn't officially known but signs point to his being active.  Even when fully healthy, a receiver like OBJ tends to give Randall troubles.  And OBJ is looking for redemption.  He said earlier this week that he wasn't having fun playing foosball anymore after he was shut down against the Minnesota Vikings last Monday night.  Beckham wears his heart on his sleeve, as we've seen, but he also has an ego to cater to.  I look for him to come out ready to prove that he's still one of the best in the game on national television.  Beckham's ego may be bruised but his legs aren't and that's where I expect him to cause problems with double moves and quick feet.  Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is still familiar with some of the Packers secondary so look for him to scheme up ways to get OBJ loose and down field where quarterback Eli Manning has killed the Packers in the past.

One break the Packers may get here is with Giants tight end Larry Donnell.  He has not practiced this week due to a concussion and seems not-so-likely to play.  That would be a big loss for New York.  Regardless of that, if there's one area where I expect the Packers might struggle, it's here against the Giants pass.

Packers Ground Game

James Starks!  Paging a James. . Starks?  Eddie Lacy has looked fine through three games, when he's been used.  It's still a mystery as to how and why the Packers use the big guy as sparingly and in certain spots so Starks has to step up and carry a role in this offense, pronto.  Through the first three games Starks has done absolutely nothing on the ground.  He can still add value as a receiver and even if his presence on the field signals a screen or a pass route, let Starks take a defender away from the other wide out's.  The Packers are clearly sticking with the veteran Starks over other options (C.J. Spiller signed with the Seattle Seahawks last wee) so he needs to start earning his roster spot.  Without the "two" of the one-two punch that teams now need, the Packers run game is going to suffer.

Pass protection

The Giants are far from the NASCAR package they used to sport but it always seems like they have a good plan to get to Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.  Jason Pierre-Paul is still a decent presence up front despite his reconstructed hand and the Packers offensive line will be tested plenty.  On the other side of the Giants front, Olivier Vernon had some success against Minnesota's patchwork offensive line and he is very active.  They've held up pretty well so far minus a few stretches against the Vikings so there's no reason to think they won't be up to the task, so this topic is purely based on history.  But these are Ben McAdoo's Giants, not Tom Coughlin's so let's hope that counts for something.

Special Teams

This is one area that can tilt the results in a direction they should not go.  Giants returner Dwayne Harris has speed and has some long returns this season.  The strategy should always be to bury he kickoff deep in the end zone but we don't live in a perfect world so the Packers have to stay disciplined if Harris gets a chance to run one out.  Packers punter Jake Schum has been so-so and with the weather now starting to turn a bit, he has to be a bigger factor in maintaining or flipping field position.  Another awful kick?  No, shanks! 

Raves

Packers Pass Rush

Clay Matthews should be active for this game along with Datone Jones.  Add that to the recent tear that Nick Perry has been on and the Packers should have better luck getting to Manning.  Former Packer Marshall Newhouse is listed as the Giants' starting right tackle but he has been banged up and may not play.  That fact alone should encourage Packers fans that the typical fortress that seems to surround Eli from Packers defenders may not be there this time around.  Creating pressure and creating even a perceived sense of urgency by Manning can lead to one of his famous "what was he thinking?" interceptions.  Dial it up!

Aaron Rodgers/Mike McCarthy Off Bye Week

Until last season, this combo had never lost coming off the bye with Rodgers as a starter.  Rodgers looked more Rodgers-esque against the Lions and looked to be on the mend after a slow start.  The Giants are more formidable than Detroit was or can be, but it's a home game and the Giants have also been dealing with a bevy of injuries to their secondary.  Corners Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie both missed the Vikings game and have been limited in practiced this week.  Even if they can line up, they won't likely be 100%.  Safeties Nat Behre and Darian Thompson have not practiced all week.  The Giants may have to tap into their third unit and beyond against the Packers passing attack that somewhat found its footing last game.  

It would seem that if Rodgers has time and room to move the pocket, he could be primed for another big output.  On national TV would seem to do more to quiet the doubters about Green Bay's offensive woes and, specifically, Rodgers'.

McCarthy vs. McAdoo

McAdoo and McCarthy are familiar with each other and it's pupil vs. teacher with McAdoo having served under McCarthy as tight ends and quarterbacks coach.  I'm sure Mike won't miss seeing Coughlin across the sideline this time around.  McCarthy has taken some heat for his play calling and ability to keep a steady relationship with Rodgers.  Another strong offensive output would help calm those waters a bit, especially if the Packers can get the run game going.  McCarthy talks about how he wants balance in his offensive game plan.  He's been calling it that way and it's time for the run game's output to show for it.  With Jared Cook out, the Packers won't be running any two-tight end sets this week so it's back to the drawing board to find ways to get something out of Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo.  

The Packers owe Manning one.  The Giants have won the last three games against the Packers, including the playoff game following the 2011 season.  It's the old adage: cut off the head of the snake, the body. . . well you know the rest.  With the Packers stopping the run as well as they have and if they can get to Manning often, McAdoo's return to Green Bay will be one he may want to forget.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (14)

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 08, 2016 at 04:32 pm

Eff it! I'm going against the grain. Our DBs will have their best performance of the (early) season against the Giants. The CBs have been quiet since Week 1 and the Safeties been fairly quiet all season (vs the pass).

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Bearmeat's picture

October 08, 2016 at 05:49 pm

That's the thing I just don't get. They HAVE the talent and the history to do really well. If there was one area of the team we were sure was going to be good this year, it was the secondary. And that's been the weakest part.

You've just got to think they figure things out.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 08, 2016 at 06:27 pm

You're right. I know I damn sure thought that coming into this season.

I think they turn that switch off and on at different points of the season. It's not a good mentality to have in pro sports, but I believe that's what the secondary has been doing as of late. What else could it be? It's not a lack of leadership, talent or chemistry. I know they will turn things around sooner than later. I just hate to see so much inconsistency. Especially from a group that many felt is/was the strongest (talent wise) of the Defense.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 09, 2016 at 08:35 am

I'd say more like this secondary gets absolutely torched. Maybe not by odb but by all 3 wrs together....shootout of a game.Perry sack fumble seals a late game winning drive attempt by eli.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 09, 2016 at 01:20 pm

@Ed

This is exactly the type of game that a player who is doubted usually haves a pretty good game to silence the critics/doubters for a while. It wouldn't shock me at all if our DBs balled out against the Giants.

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cpheph1's picture

October 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Wow, what a savant you are. Nice call!

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Ferrari Driver's picture

October 08, 2016 at 09:26 pm

The Patriots take away their opponent's best player.

Perhaps the Packers would do well to play a safety over Beckham and try to take him out of the game with some bumps at the line and close coverage by the corner..

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al bundy's picture

October 09, 2016 at 10:08 am

I agree but thats not Dom. His wing and a prayer is to get to the passer. If that fails big night for manning.

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Phillthy's picture

October 09, 2016 at 02:35 am

Capers will scheme to make up for a depleted secondary. Involving plenty of zone blitzing, cover 3 and using our MLB to cover the middle watch for our OLB and D line (particularly Daniels) to use extra effort to get to the QB. At the sake of losing sight of the run, we should be able to contain the 3 headed WR attack of the NYG.
Offensively let's see what happens after Detroit. We went back to small ball. We utilized slants and outs to bring in the safeties giving us the capability of a long ball. It also opened up the running game, let's see if we don't return to this formula.
While everyone sweats the defense due to injuries and a playing a good offense, it's really going to be telling what we do on the other side of the ball. Defense hasn't lost us a game this yeat, will the offense start to win them?

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al bundy's picture

October 09, 2016 at 10:05 am

Beckem and manning are drooling over this game. They will put on a show tonight and again Doms so called defesive schemes fail again. The d lacks skill players. Datone and Perry make a few plays but not dominant consistency.
I still say this is he worst pass d n football.

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rdent's picture

October 09, 2016 at 06:18 pm

GB let CB Casey Hayward walk in FA,PFF has graded him out as the number 2 corner in the league at 88.7 through this week.And he has been playing the outside not the slot,I can see why TT let Hayward walk since they drafted Randall and Rollins 1and 2 but it seems he was a bit premature putting to much stock in the young duo from last season,it now appears it would have been a smart move to keep Hayward around for the 15+ million he signed on for in SD

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TommyG's picture

October 09, 2016 at 06:34 pm

Could be a fair evaluation of this game. I think you hit on the correct factor of deciding the outcome: consistent pressure will turn this game on its head. Without it we will be witness to an exhibition.

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Lphill's picture

October 09, 2016 at 01:16 pm

Pressure up front against Manning and that will take the pressure off Packers secondary plus Burnett back should make a difference as well, Pack by 7.

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cpheph1's picture

October 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Savant #2...nice!

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