Why the Green Bay Packers Will Be Giant Killers in the NFC Divisional Round

Patrick TeskeContributor IIJanuary 9, 2012

Aaron Rodgers Hopefully Will Be Smiling Come Sunday
Aaron Rodgers Hopefully Will Be Smiling Come SundayMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

It should not come as any surprise that the New York Giants suddenly appear to be the darlings of the NFC playoffs after handing out a thorough beating to the Atlanta Falcons.  

Some commentary even suggests that out of all the NFC playoff teams, the Giants may pose the biggest threat to the defending Super Bowl champs.

To be honest, this Packer fan is not concerned, and here's why.  

A-Rodg is no Matty Ice.  To be sure Matt Ryan is in the top third of NFL quarterbacks.  

He's posted excellent numbers, including wins and losses throughout each of his seasons as an NFL quarterback.  Legends are born of the playoffs however, and that is where Matty Ice seems to melt as he is now 0-3 in the playoffs.  

Many will also point to the 2007 NFC Championship, when the road-warrior Giants upset the second-seeded Green Bay Packers on their way to their most recent Super Bowl victory.  But these Green Bay Packers are a much different sort.

First, Brett Favre was the Packers' QB, and we all remember the game-clinching interception in overtime that sent the Giants to the Super Bowl.  

Rodgers doesn't turn the ball over like Favre did.  Not to mention, an aging Brett Favre looked as though that ice-cold game couldn't be over fast enough for him.

Eli Manning, on the other hand, looked the part of the young upstart, showing energy and enthusiasm when compared to the older Favre.  

These Packers also have veteran, established wideouts in Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings.  I believe in 2007, two of Favre's targets were the much-maligned Koren Robinson and a much younger Greg Jennings.  Also, there was TE Donald Lee instead of current TE Jermichael Finley.  

So, besides having the experience of playing and winning in Lambeau several years ago, I don't really consider that game relevant to Sunday's upcoming contest.  

More recent history with the Packers' current quarterback tells a different story anyway.  

Aaron Rodgers has faced the Giants last year and this year—one home game and one away. In those two games, Rodgers has thrown for 773 yards with 8 TDs, against 1 interception.  

I appreciate that the Giant defense looked good—if not great—against an Atlanta team that has yet to win a playoff game under Mike Smith, but they haven't shown any ability to stop Aaron Rodgers.  

Not to mention, Rodgers is 4-1 in the playoffs, with the lone defeat being the memorable shootout in Arizona following the 2009 season in his first-ever playoff start. 

To say Rodgers has gaudy playoff numbers is an understatement.  In those five playoff starts, Rodgers has just over 1,500 yards, 13 TDs and 3 interceptions.  And all of those games were on the road.  I am looking forward to Rodgers' first playoff game at Lambeau.  

And while the Giants certainly boast the most talented group of defensive lineman in the league, the relatively unknown Packer offensive line has been quietly solid this year.  Especially of late, where Rodgers claimed he may not have been touched during the penultimate game against a solid Chicago Bears defensive line, when the Packers were down several starters.

And backup QB Matt Flynn throws for six TDs and 480 yards against a solid Detroit Lion pass rush in the season finale.  So the protection should allow Rodgers time to get the ball down the field.  

Nelson & Company Will Be A Much Bigger Challenge for the Giants
Nelson & Company Will Be A Much Bigger Challenge for the GiantsJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Watching the New York Giants to start the game, I was not impressed.  Sure their defense stymied the Atlanta Falcons, but first downs in the Big Apple were harder to find than an honest banker on Wall Street.  

If the Giants take nearly half of the game to get their offense going, they could find themselves down several TDs to the Packers, who have been getting out ahead of teams early all year. 

And lastly, before I get too alarmed by the New York football Giants, I need to remind myself the team lost seven games this year, and most recently could only muster 10 points against a lowly Washington Redskins team that beat the Giants (in New York), incidentally, in a must-win situation just a few weeks ago.  

The Giants then went on to beat a couple of 8-8 teams on their way to clinching the mediocre NFC East with a 9-7 record.  

Meanwhile, the Packers have beaten the Giants (in New York, too), Atlanta (in Atlanta), Detroit (both times) and New Orleans in the season opener.  I'm not sure, but I think that those were all the playoff teams the NFC could offer, save the 49ers, whom the Packers simply did not have on their schedule (yet).  

So while the "flavor of the week" media circus continues surrounding Brees, Tebow and the Giants for their accomplishments this past weekend, let's not forget the reason teams did not play: They had the best record in their conference and earned the week off, and should be well-rested for a home game.  

Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but I think the Packers will make people forget just how "good" the Giants defense is.  

A great start to the NFL playoffs looks to only get better this coming weekend.