The New York Giants are undoubtedly excited to see November come to an end. But they can escape from a month in which they notoriously struggle with a huge intra-conference win over the Green Bay Packers.
Here's a final look at the game, along with my prediction...
What New York must do to win, offensive edition: Establish balance against a very even-keeled Green Bay defense.
What New York must do to win, defensive edition: Limit Randall Cobb.
How New York can lose: By letting Aaron Rodgers, Cobb and Co. take advantage of a weak secondary. In other words, they have to get natural pressure up front without blitzing.
Five most important non-quarterbacks: Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara, Corey Webster, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Snee
Pierre-Paul and his cohorts have to put heat on Rodgers without help, while Amukamara and Webster will be two of many Giants responsible for slowing down Cobb. Bradshaw and his top guard will be key to achieving that necessary balance.
Injury analysis, Giants edition:
Out: Domenik Hixon (ankle), Jacquian Williams (knee)
Questionable: Kenny Phillips (knee), LB Keith Rivers (calf, knee)
Probable: David Baas (ankle, elbow), Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), Linval Joseph (knee), Tyler Sash (ankle), Chris Snee (ankle)
They don't utilize Rivers properly anyway and have Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle if Phillips still can't return, so neither of those questionables is a game-changer. The biggest loss is Williams, who is an extremely important run defender, though his absence probably won't be the difference between a win and a loss either.
Injury analysis, Packers edition:
Out: Terrell Manning (shoulder), Clay Matthews (hamstring), Sam Shields (ankle), Charles Woodson (collarbone)
Questionable: Greg Jennings (groin, abdomen), Andrew Quarless (knee)
Probable: Donald Driver (thumb), John Kuhn (hamstring), B.J. Raji (ankle), Vic So'oto (illness), Erik Walden (ankle)
You'd think not having Shields and Woodson would hurt, but the Packers are actually in really good shape despite those losses. Few teams have as much secondary depth as Green Bay. Still, look for the Giants to test their corners on Sunday.
Obviously the loss of Matthews hurts Green Bay, but the Packers generated plenty of pressure in Detroit last week without their top sack man.
B/R NFC East Blog prediction
While I believe the Giants will benefit from the bye week, they're still playing poorly on both sides of the ball. Right now, Green Bay's just a better team. Packers by a field goal.
Packers 27, Giants 24