New York Giants: 3 Reasons Their Running Game Can Exploit the Packers Defense

David A. CucchiaraCorrespondent INovember 19, 2012

New York Giants: 3 Reasons Their Running Game Can Exploit the Packers Defense

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    The New York Giants will be looking to end their two-game losing streak on Sunday as they face the Green Bay Packers in MetLife Stadium.

    To pull off the victory, the Giants will have to lean on running backs Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown and rookie David Wilson in an attempt to exploit the Packers' defensive weaknesses.

    The Packers come into this game with all the momentum, winning five of their last six.

    Sunday, the Pack will face a more formidable squad in the Giants on their home turf and will need to play better than they did last Sunday against the Lions to have a shot.

    Here are three reasons the Giants’ running game can exploit the Packers defense.

Injuries

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    Injuries to the Packers' linebackers and defensive line could give the Giants the upper hand on Sunday.

    Matthews suffered a pulled hamstring in Week 9 against the Cardinals and will likely not play against the Giants on Sunday.

    Matthews is an obvious force on the field, recording nine sacks and 31 tackles on the season. Teams plan their offensive attack around finding ways to shut down the rush of Clay Matthews.

    Without Matthews on the field Sunday, the Giants have a real chance to not only give Manning more time in the pocket but have more flexibility in the running game.

    Injuries to the Packers’ line will certainly give the Giants' running game a few holes to run through.

    Defensive ends Jerel Worthy and Mike Neal remain probable for Sunday’s game after they both suffered injuries against the Lions on Sunday.

    In the game against the Lions, the Packers allowed 110 yards rushing to a team ranked 23rd in rushing. Rookie Mikel Leshoure recorded 84 yards on 19 carries.

    If Leshoure can rush for more than 80 yards, what will the dual-threat running attack of Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown do against a depleted Packers defensive line?

Rest

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    After two straight loses, the Giants’ bye week gives them the perfect opportunity to address their own weaknesses and prepare for the 7-3 Packers.

    The Giants have been the best team in football coming off their bye weeks. In fact, the Giants haven’t lost a game following a bye week since 2007.

    On Sunday, it will be a Packers defensive line coming off a hard-fought defensive brawl with the Lions against a well-rested Giants running game.

    Eli Manning is also coming off three straight poor performances of fewer than 215 yards. With more time in the pocket, he will be finding his receivers and utilizing the running game more efficiently.

Re-Emergence of Andre Brown

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    The Giants have primarily leaned on Ahmad Bradshaw to lead their running game, but last week told a much different story.

    Giants running back Andre Brown made a name for himself in Week 2 with his 71-yard performance against Tampa Bay. He followed that week up with a 113-yard showcase against Carolina.

    After a 65-yard, one-TD performance against the Bengals in Week 10, Brown will be looking to carry that momentum into Sunday’s game and take advantage of a banged-up Packers line.

    The Giants are also beginning to figure out the roles of each running back.

    Brown, who has four TDs in the last four games, is being used primarily in red-zone series. Coughlin is using Bradshaw, who has more yards than Brown but only one TD in his last four games, as more of a scat back.

    David Wilson’s carries have diminished over the last few weeks, but he’s finding his role in the return game, where he’s been a force.

    The Giants' rejuvenated dual-threat running game will give them the upper hand on Sunday against the Pack.