Sunday, November 25, 2012

Packers vs. Giants Preview

The Green Bay Packers arrived in Newark earlier this morning in advance of their primetime game tonight against the New York Giants. As Packer fans are well aware, the rivalry that has developed over the past several years -- while perhaps not yet of the variety between the 1960s Packers and Giants -- has been a good one, despite a few of the bigger wins going to the Giants.

Coming into this game, the Packers have been on a winning streak, five games in a row. The Giants are experiencing one of their typical November downturns. The Packers are 7-3 and the Giants are 6-4. The Giants are getting the home field advantage points differential, favored by 3 over the Packers. The over-under is set at 51 points.

The nod may be going to the Giants because the Pack will once again be without defensive powerhouse, Clay Matthews. Yes, the Packers beat Detroit without him. But the Giants are a better team and Matthews' presence will be missed in a way tonight that it wasn't against the Lions...even as close as that game was. Plus, the Giants are coming off their bye week. QB Eli Manning, no matter how poorly he may have performed before the bye, usually has a good game coming out of it. He knows the Packers defensive schemes and as often as not does well against them. If the Packers are unable to get to Manning with a pass rush, it could be a busy night for the Pack's young defensive backs.

On the other hand, if the Packers' offense can somehow get its mojo back and in sync, they can put up points on this defense. If WR Greg Jennings is given the go-ahead to play (currently listed as Questionable), that might require the Giants' defense to make some adjustments they hadn't counted upon. None of this is meant to minimize how good the Giants' defense is, only to suggest that the Packers' offense -- which we've seen perform really well for an entire game only once this season (against Houston) -- could be the difference in the game.

But if it's a close game, and with K Mason Crosby's obvious problems at the moment, you'd hate to have it come down to relying on a field goal to win or tie right now. The Packers are not going to get by missing two out three field goals against the Giants and walk away with a win.

So, while my heart will always be calling for a Packers' win...I think the Giants will emerge tonight with the "W" and things will stay very tight in the NFC North as a result, particularly with Da Bearz looking as if they will beat the ViQueens at this moment (leading 18-3 near the end of the first half).

I'm calling it 27-24 Giants. Hope I'm wrong.

Go Pack Go!!!