Giants vs. Packers: 4 Reasons New York Will Defeat the Packers and Advance
Much of the talk this past week has been about how the New York Giants will travel to Green Bay this weekend and take on the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Packers enter the game as heavy favorites to advance and host the NFC Championship Game.
This is very understandable.
The Packers finished their regular season with a 15-1 record.
While many have begun to plan for a Green Bay Packer NFC title game at Lambeau Field, they still must get through a very tough Giants team that seems to be firing on all cylinders coming into this week's showdown with the Packers.
Here are four reasons why the New York Giants will leave Green Bay victorious...
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The Giants are coming into this game with a great deal of momentum and confidence. New York has essentially played three consecutive playoff games.
This team has been in the "win or go home" mindset for three weeks and have been very successful up until this point. The defense has really come together at the right time and given the Giants the boost they need to advance.
On the other hand, you have the Green Bay Packers. A team, for much of the season, that appeared to have a shot at going undefeated. That all ended in Week 15 with a huge loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It is safe to say, since then, the Packers have not played a "meaningful" game.
The Chicago Bears were already out of the running with no starting quarterback. Then Green Bay chose to sit their starters in a Week 17 matchup with the Detroit Lions. This was then followed by a first-round bye week entering the playoffs.
The momentum at kickoff will most definitely be with the Giants.
Rematch of Week 13
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On December 4, 2011, the Giants hosted the then-undefeated Packers at MetLife Stadium.
It was a very thrilling game to watch and probably Green Bay's biggest challenge of the season up until Week 15.
Unfortunately, after tying the game at 35-35 in the final minute, New York left Aaron Rodgers with a little too much time and he was able to march down field to set up a game-winning field goal as the clock expired.
Something to consider for this weekend is that the Packers only won by a margin of three points while going up against a New York defense that had not fully come together as a unit yet.
It would seem as though over the past month that the New York Giants are getting stronger, healthier and more confident every week.
A statement that cannot be made about the Green Bay Packers.
If anything, the Packers may have even taken a step back over the past month.
NY Giant Pass Rush
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For the first time all season, the Giants have a healthy and fired up defensive line.
It took a majority of the season, but we are now seeing a healthy Justin Tuck, a healthy Osi Umenyiora as well as December's NFC Defensive Player of the Month, Jason Pierre-Paul, working together and ferociously getting at opposing quarterbacks.
Pierre-Paul finished the season with 16.5 sacks. Umenyiora just about played half of a season and still finished with 9.0 sacks. Tuck only registered 5.0 sacks but now seems to be back to the Justin Tuck we've known in years past.
The Giant pass rush will look to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers early and often and not leave him time to find his receivers downfield.
If they are successful, this very well could be the difference in the game.
The Running Game
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Entering the 2012 playoffs last week, the Giants sported the 32nd-ranked rushing attack in the National Football League.
This is nothing to get excited about. In fact, they couldn't have been worse at rushing the ball.
Lucky for them, the regular season is over and we have begun to see some life out of the New York halfbacks during the final games of the season. They also continued to find success rushing the football during the Wild Card Game with the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Over the past three weeks, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have rushed for 324 yards and three TDs combined.
These numbers are not too spectacular, but compared to what they've given us over the first 15 weeks of the season, Giant fans should be pretty happy with the production.
The Giants should continue to improve in this area when they hit the field on Sunday as long as both Jacobs and Bradshaw remain healthy.
The Giants-Packers game is going to be a great matchup. It is probably the most exciting game of the divisional round and should be a close game.
It very well could come down to whichever teams holds the ball last once again.
As long as the Giants play to their strengths and slow down the high-powered Packer offense, they will be leaving Lambeau with a "W" and advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Look for Eli Manning to add to his impressive 2011 campaign with a huge upset over the 15-1 Green Bay Packers.
Prediction: NYG 28, GB 24