Game Time: Sunday at 4:30 EST
Weather: Partly sunny with a high of 26
Spread: Packers -9
The Giants are one of the teams with the best shot to dethrone the Packers, still left in the playoffs. Yet Manning still has to deal with a plethora of playmakers on defense. The key for the Giants is really eliminating mistakes. Aside from Aaron Rodgers, it was the defense’s ability to force turnovers despite their inability to contain offenses that got them 15 wins. Without that attribute, we’re looking at a 10 or 11 win team.
They say Rodgers’ fiercest opponent will be winter weather. However, the forecast calls for a nice day, so I don’t see them even trying to run the ball, which will help their chances. I don’t quite think they’re going to cover the spread, but I think they will eliminate the Giants.
Packers – 35, Giants – 31
We all know that the Packers are the defending champions, and we all know about the recent tragedy in the Packer family as well. So the question will be just how much of an emotional toll the death of Joe Philbin’s son have on the team this week. Mike McCarthy has said that he will be prepared to take over all offensive coordinator duties for the game in case Philbin is not ready for the game.
The Giants are coming off of a very impressive victory over the Falcons in which their defense gave up no points. As I said last week, when that Giants defense gets healthy, they are a headache for anyone. On the flip side, I don’t think the Packers defense is as bad as their defensive statistics this year say. What those stats really reveal is that they take a lot of chances. I think that the Packers secondary will make a play when it matters against the very aggressive Eli Manning.
Packers – 34, Giants – 31
The road to the playoffs goes through Lambeau, where Aaron Rodgers and the Packers haven’t lost since their defeat to the Miami Dolphins on October 17, 2010. The Packers have rolled into the #1 seed with a 15-1 record in the regular season. Coach Mike McCarthy should be a strong candidate for Coach of the Year, as well as Aaron Rodgers for Most Valuable Player. The only troubling this for this team is its dead last defense. They can only survive if the defense forces turnovers, which they are very good at, but that defense needs to step it up if they are to make a Super Bowl repeat.
On the other hand, you have the red hot Giants. Coming off the 24-2 whooping of the Falcons, the G-men are feeling good about themselves right now. They are on a hot streak, defense is playing great, and Eli Manning is playing like he belongs in the elite group. They also have that 38-35 loss in the back of their minds. Even with the Giants on a hot streak, I can’t pick against a well-rested Packers team at Lambeau Field. Pack move on the Conference Championship.
Packers – 31, Giants – 26