Giants vs. Packers: 5 Advantages New York Has in Rematch Against Green Bay
In fact, they could get to the NFC Championship game pretty easily if they simply exploit the Packers' multiple weaknesses on defense.
Does that mean it will be easy? Absolutely not. But it does seem very fitting that it's the Giants who will again walk into Lambeau against a great Packers team with a chance to knock them off. Again.
Here's how and why the Giants can pull off the upset.
Fresh Off of a Dominating Victory
The Giants couldn't be much more confident heading into Lambeau Field—they just destroyed the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
In that game, the Giants dominated. Both New York and Atlanta had 64 total plays but the Giants out-passed the Falcons by 195 yards and outran them by 108 yards. They forced Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to complete only 58.5 percent of his passed for 179 yards and no touchdowns. Running back Michael Turner only ran for 41 yards.
Meanwhile the Giants played very well. Quarterback Eli Manning had a completion percentage of 71.9 while throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 129.3. Brandon Jacobs (pictured) led the team in rushing with 92 yards.
The only Falcons points came from a penalty on Manning in the end zone which resulted in the safety.
The Giants know that the Packers lead the league with 31 interceptions. That means the Giants have to establish a ground game early on. And while the numbers might say differently, New York can do it.
The Packers are known for their high-flying offense—not their defense. They can give up a few big plays now and then. And Giants running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw (pictured) are looking better than ever.
Last week, Jacobs rushed 92 yards on 14 carries while Bradshaw gained 63 yards on 14 carries as well. They are both physical backs and could tire a Packers defense that doesn't see a lot of rest thanks to Aaron Rodgers' quick-scoring drives. Plus, the longer the rushing game works, the more clock is eaten up and that means less Packer offense.
The Giants defensive line has been picking up steam as the season has gone on and they certainly have the ability to apply pressure to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul (pictured) and Justin Tuck combined for 21.5 sacks while defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Chris Canty combined for 96 tackles. Backup defensive end Osi Umenyiora also had nine sacks on the season.
Between the defensive ends and tackles, the Giants have one of the most dominating lines in the NFL—they finished third in the league with 48 sacks. If they can apply pressure from all sides to collapse the pocket, they'll make it a whole lot harder for Rodgers to have his way with the secondary, especially if Rodgers is sacked.
Week 13 Matchup
In Week 13, the Giants took on the Packers at home and lost 38-35.
But the Week 13 Giants look much different than the playoff Giants. Those Giants had a terrible defense that had trouble with almost every opponent they faced; I mean, how do you lose 36-25 to the Seattle Seahawks? The Giants also had a very suspect running game from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
But back to the matchup between the 6-5 Giants and the 12-0 Packers. Aaron Rodgers (pictured) did his thing and threw for 369 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. As usual, he led the Packers.
The surprising part of the game was the fact that the Giants were in the game until the very last play despite only having one player step up. Eli Manning had almost no help. Manning threw for 347 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
The problem was that the Packers got the ball back with less than a minute to go and Rodger easily led them to within field-goal range where Mason Crosby kicked a 31-yarder to win the game as time expired.
But these playoff Giants have their defense and running game looking much better. They aren't one-dimensional like they were in Week 13—when they almost beat the Packers.
Sense of Urgency
The Giants have been here before. They know what it feels like to have all the pressure securely on their shoulders and come away with a victory.
In their final two regular-season games, they had to win each time in order to make the playoffs. The Giants did so in commanding fashion with a 29-14 victory over the New York Jets and a 31-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Then in the first round of the playoffs, in what was supposed to be a fairly even matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, the Giants took them down 24-2.
But this role isn't a new one. Head coach Tom Coughlin clearly knows what to tell his players in these situations.
In the 2007 playoffs, the Giants marched into Lambeau Field to play Brett Favre's heavily favored Packers with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Giants held tough the entire game in the zero-degree weather. Then, in overtime, kicker Lawrence Tynes nailed a 47-yarder to win the game.
And the rest is history.