Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pack vs. Giants: Quick Preview

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio just reported that Eli Manning told him during warm ups that he will start again the Packers. Manning indicated he'd be wearing a small pad to protect his injured shoulder. In footage of Manning warming up this morning it didn't appear as if he was in any pain. So...good thing the Pack prepared as if Manning was going to play. What this means for the Packers is that the defense will need to play with the same intensity as they did last week. Ditto for special teams.

As for the Packers offense, the line actually has to show up this week and do two things they didn't do last week: pass protect and run block. They helped generate all of 47 yards rushing on 17 attempts, as well as allow the franchise -- i.e., Brett Favre -- to be sacked four times and knocked down 11 times...not to mention a whole lot of pressure all the way around. One new aspect to the line will be the first start at right guard for third-year lineman Junius Coston, who the team has been nurturing along in the hopes he could be an impact lineman someday. Perhaps today is the day. Coston replaces an injured Jason Spitz, but reports are that even if Spitz hadn't had a calf injury in last week's game, the Pack may have made this switch at some point anyway just to see what Coston brings. In interviews this week, it is clear that Coston recognizes this opportunity and wants to make the most of it. Now, despite how well Coston may do today he alone won't solve the entire line problem. That requires a group effort. Coaches and players both said that, after reviewing tape of last week's game, there were no fundamental assignment errors. It just came down to individual execution...which was not good. Sustaining blocks. Cut blocking too early or too late. Etc. So, let's see what pride can do today.

Also, according to all the reports available, the Giants' defensive line is injury-ridden, and if there was ever a chance for the line to create a running game, this is it. Let's hope so. Although, once again, the backfield will be without Vernand Morency. The receiving corps will also be without Greg Jennings once again.

So, after a thrilling and hard fought victory over the Eagles last week, can the Pack do it again in the Meadowlands? The Giants need this game badly. But so does the Pack. The Giants are favored by 2-1/2 points. I'm taking the Pack by 4.

Go Pack Go!!!