24

November

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 12: Packers vs Giants Preview

Eli Manning

Will Eli Manning shred the Packers again or can Green Bay avenge their playoff loss from last season?

It’s a game Green Bay Packers fans likely have had circled on their calendar since the schedule was released in spring.

At the end of last season, the New York Giants brought the Packers’ magical 15-1 season to dead stop as they beat Green Bay 37-20 at Lambeau Field on their way to the Super Bowl XLVI title.  It was one of the most stunning defeats in franchise history and the players and fans have been waiting patiently for a chance at revenge.

This Sunday, they get their chance.  The Packers get to face the Giants in New York Sunday night. The Packers are coming off an ugly 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions and lead the NFC North with a 7-3 record.  The Giants are coming off their bye and lead the NFC East with a record of 6-4.

The Packers face a Giants team that has been struggling as of late.  Quarterback Eli Manning has thrown zero touchdown passes and four interceptions in the last three games in which the Giants have a 1-2 record.   The team rested Manning who thought he may have been suffering from a “tired arm” and he says the time off has helped his arm recharge.

How will he fare against the Packers this week?

Scouting the Giants

Struggles aside, this is not a Giants team that should be taken lightly.  It’s not like the Packers need to be informed of that.

Manning has had his way with the Packers and could continue to given how banged up the Packers defense is.  If the game is close in the fourth quarter, that’s when Manning is at his best.  With Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon leading the receiving corps, Manning has his fair share of targets to choose from.

Nicks has been banged up all season but is finally getting healthy.  He is the key to the Giants offense.  With him on the field, things open up more for Cruz and defenses usually cannot cover both.

The Giants rushing attack is led by Ahmad Bradshaw.  Bradshaw has 675 yards this season and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry with four touchdowns.  He hasn’t gained more than 57 yards on the ground since Week 6.  The Packers have a fairly solid run defense so it will be tough for Bradshaw to get going again versus Green Bay.

15

January

Packers vs. Giants: 5 Things to Watch in NFC Divisional Round

Peprah was burned for a TD on the Giants' first offensive series.

The Green Bay Packers (15-1, NFC No. 1) host the New York Giants (10-7, NFC No. 4) Sunday in the NFC’s Divisional Round of the 2012 playoffs.

The basics 

When: 3:30 CST, Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

TV: FOX; Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call, Pam Oliver on the sidelines.

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; NFL Sunday Drive; Westwood One.

Series: Packers lead, 31-23-2 (Giants won last playoff meeting, 23-20 (OT) on Jan. 20, 2008 in NFC Championship Game).

Five things to watch

1. Rookie factor

Not since Desmond Howard have the Packers had a special teams weapon that could routinely flip field position. They have one now in rookie Randall Cobb, and you better believe that teams are treating him as such. As the season wore on, more and more teams hedged their bets and kicked away from Cobb.

At the very least, Cobb can ensure the Packers aren’t playing offense from the shadow of their own goal posts Sunday. And if the Giants give him enough chances, Cobb can break that one big play that can turn the game.

2. Opposite rush

Expecting a breakout performance from the Packers’ outside linebacker position after 16 games of mediocrity (that’s putting it nicely) is overly optimistic. But there is some hope that the Packers can get something from a player opposite Clay Matthews Sunday.

Brad Jones showed some life in Week 17 with a hustle sack and a couple of stops in the running game. He’ll likely get the majority of the early snaps against the Giants. In addition, Erik Walden had one of his better pass rushing games of the season back in Week 13 in New York. A solid performance from either player, or preferably both, would be a huge lift for the Packers defense.

3. Big Fella catchin’ on

For all the criticism Jermichael Finley took during most of the regular season, the Packers’ enigmatic tight end really started to come on during the last five games of the season. A five-game stretch that saw him catch 19 passes for 254 yards and three scores started in New York, where Finley went for 87 yards, including a huge catch on the Packers’ game-winning drive, and a first-half touchdown.