New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers: prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange
New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers: prediction, preview, pick to win
New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. makes a one handed catch for a 4 yard touchdown in week 15 of the NFL at MetLife Stadium. Beckham Jr. ranked third in the NFL with 101 receptions and 1,367 yards. His 288 career receptions tie for the most in an NFL player's first three seasons (Miami's Jarvis Landry). Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET, Lambeau Field. TV: FOX.

SERIES HISTORY: 61st meeting. Packers lead series, 32-26-2. The teams meet at Lambeau Field for the second time in three months. Green Bay prevailed 23-16 in a Sunday night matchup Oct. 9. That snapped a three-game winning streak by the Giants going back to the 2011 season, starting with a 37-20 rout of the top-seeded Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs at Green Bay. The Giants have won the last two playoff encounters, both at Lambeau, including a 23-20 overtime victory in the NFC Championship Game during the 2007 season. Green Bay still holds a 4-3 edge in postseason games. All four Packers wins came in the NFL Championship -- in 1939, 1944, 1961 and 1962.


GAMEDATE: 1/8/17

KEYS TO THE GAME: After four consecutive losses, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said Green Bay would "run the table" to make the playoffs. And they did -- six consecutive wins.

So now what? Seems to be up to Rodgers.

The Packers' offense starts and ends with Rodgers, who has been on fire during the winning streak. Over that stretch, Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdown passes and zero interceptions and logged a 121.0 passer rating.

But it's not just Rodgers' arm that the Giants' defense should worry about. Rodgers also finished as the Packers' second-leading rusher behind Ty Montgomery, recording 369 yards on 67 carries.

Rodgers has such a good feel for the pocket that he can time his escape when the pocket collapses and dart past defensive linemen trying to engulf him.

The Giants' defense might not be able to slow Rodgers down, but it certainly can start by keeping the slippery quarterback in the pocket and forcing him to step up.

Giants QB Eli Manning has had some big moments at the expense of the Packers, none bigger than upset victories at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game during the 2007 season and in the divisional round of the playoffs in the 2011 season.


Now New York is waiting for Manning to flip the switch and show that playoff magic. But the 36-year-old had one of his most lethargic performances when the Giants came to Lambeau in early October. Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers pressured Manning into an erratic 18-of-35 passing performance for 199 yards and a late touchdown in garbage time as the Packers prevailed 23-16.


--Packers WRs Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb vs. Giants CBs Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple. The Giants' cornerbacks have done a solid job this season with limiting the opposition's top receivers' total yardage. Jenkins, the leader of the pack, is coming off a back injury and was still sore at midweek. If the Giants are to have success with slowing quarterback Aaron Rodgers down, they will need to make sure their corners blanket Nelson, Adams and Cobb.

--Giants WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard vs. Packers DBs. Green Bay was without its top two CBs when it topped the Giants 23-16 at Lambeau Field on Oct. 9. Even without the injured pair of Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, the Packers surprisingly handcuffed New York's elite trio. The electrifying Beckham was targeted a team-high 12 times by QB Eli Manning but caught just five for 56 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown in the closing minutes as the Giants tried to rally from a 14-point deficit. Shepard had just two catches for 14 yards in seven targets, while Cruz was shut out on two throws his way. Though Randall has a shot to play after dropping out of the season finale at Detroit on Sunday night with a knee injury, fellow starter Quinten Rollins will be hard-pressed to bounce back in a week's time. Rollins was in the concussion protocol at midweek, increasing the uncertainty for his unavailability this weekend. Depending on Randall's status, the Packers may have to depend on LaDarius Gunter, Micah Hyde and possibly undrafted rookie Herb Waters, who was promoted from the practice squad this week. Waters made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback during his season-long stint on the practice squad.


PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Packers S Andrew Adams. The undrafted rookie free agent has mostly been solid in coverage since inheriting the starting job from the injured Darian Thompson. However, Adams hasn't really been tested deep downfield and has had mixed results when he has been, such as last week when he lost Washington receiver Pierre Garcon in coverage. The Packers have receivers who can stretch the field, which means Adams is going to have to be alert and not fall for double-pumps or any other trickery that might end up leaving him trailing a receiver.

FAST FACTS: QB Eli Manning passed for 4,027 yards, a franchise-record sixth season with 4,000.

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. ranked third in the NFL with 101 receptions and 1,367 yards. His 288 career receptions tie for the most in an NFL player's first three seasons (Miami's Jarvis Landry).

Giants WR Sterling Shephard ranked second among NFL rookies in receptions (65) and yards (683).

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie led the Giants with six interceptions, his second career season with at least six.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has a 98.2 postseason passer rating, fifth best in NFL history.


Packers RB Ty Montgomery has three rushing TDs in the last four games.

Packers WR Jordy Nelson led the NFL with 14 TD catches and ranked sixth with 1,257 receiving yards.

Packers LB Julius Peppers has 143.5 sacks, fifth most since 1982. He is the NFL player with at least 100 sacks and 10 interceptions (11).

As a result of the Seahawks victory last night vs. the Detroit Lions, the winner of this game will travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys. The Giants swept the season series with the Cowboys.

PREDICTION: Momentum and home tundra advantage seem to favor the Packers.

OUR PICK: Packers, 35-28.

--Frank Cooney

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