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It feels like deja vu all over again, Lambeau Field, in January and the Giants are in town. The New York Giants (11-5) will face the Green Bay Packers (10-6) in a battle to advance to play the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. The Giants began the season with a rocky start by also losing to the Packers 23-16 in Lambeau week 6. From there, they went on a five-game winning streak where the defense took over. The Packers from that game loss five out of six before turning it around and winning the remainder their games. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the offense got hot and and became unstoppable. This should be another classic as two historic quarterbacks lead their teams to battle for a next round invitation.
Keys To The Game
The Giants come into the playoffs ranking second in points against. Their defense led by Landen Collins, must be discipline in their schemes and not default to improvising when playing the Packers. Instead of doing anything and everything to get to Rodgers, Olivier Vernon and company must stay in their lanes and corral Rodgers so that he doesn’t have a lane to escape. On the offense of side, quarterback Eli Manning must be smart and patient in attacking the Packers. It’s imperative to stick with the running game even if it doesn’t produce big plays. If they can keep Green Bay’s defense honest, then it will create big plays for Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the wide receiver core.
Offensively for the Packers, their running game has to be effective. Becoming one dimensional in the passing game will play into the Giants strength which is their secondary. The Packers thrive when the offensive line gives Rodgers an ample amount of time to run around and improvise. It allows the receivers to get open and make big plays. Defensively, it’s simple, get to Manning. Led by Julius Peppers, the pass rush will dictate everything and if they do get pressure, Manning will go into bad Manning and he will start forcing passes which will result in turnovers. It’s also necessary for the defense to make someone else from that receiver core beat them besides Beckham Jr., this needs to happen whether double or triple teaming him.
The X-Factor for the Giants is defensive tackle Damon Harrison. Harrison has to be disruptive in the run game. Not only just making plays but also demanding a double team to open up lanes for the linebackers to come up and make plays.
The X-Factor for the Packers is running back Ty Montgomery. Montgomery has to be able to be affective running the ball. With his shifty ability to make people miss and get big runs, he can set up play-action for Rodgers. Also, if he’s catching from the backfield and being the security blanket for Rodgers, the ex-receiver will be able to keep the chains moving.
Prediction: This game has the ora of an instant classic. The Giants defense has been great but the Packers offensive seems unstoppable at this point. The key is, the Giants offense gets going which will be too much for the Packers defense. Giants win 31-28.