The Giants rolled over the Packers on Sunday Night Football, winning by a score of 38-10. The Giants looked unstoppable, and it seemed that they couldn't do much wrong.
The Packers, on the other hand, looked to be in trouble. Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times, and he turned the ball over twice. The offensive linemen couldn't protect Rodgers, and it felt like they were getting pushed back every single play. The running game wasn't able to do much before the game got out of hand. The defense couldn't get to Eli Manning, only sacking him once.
While all of this sounds like the Packers might be quickly falling, fans should not be too concerned.
The Giants had struggled before their bye week, losing their last two games. Along with that, Manning hadn't thrown a touchdown in three games. The Giants seem to go through a slump in the middle of the season every year, and they usually bounce back. Sunday's game was definitely their game to bounce back. They had two weeks to plan, and they were ready for Green Bay.
The offensive line struggled quite a bit, but that has happened before. When the Packers gave up eight sacks to the Seahawks in the first half of their matchup earlier this season, they were able to fix their problems. Rodgers wasn't sacked for the rest of the game and was able to stay up the next week against New Orleans. The Giants are also one of the best teams in the NFL at getting to the quarterback with 30 sacks this year.
The defense struggled to get to Manning, but that is because of several injuries to important players. Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Sam Shields all missed the game due to injuries. Matthews is the leader of the Green Bay pass rush, with nine sacks this year. Without him and Nick Perry, who was placed on injured reserve, Erik Walden and Dezman Moses have had to try to get to the opposing quarterback.
The loss of Woodson has hurt the pass rush as well. With his speed coming off of a blitz, he has been able to get quite a few sacks over the past few years. Not only that, but having him and Sam Shields absent makes it easier on opposing wide receivers to get open, which lets their quarterback get the ball out much faster. Fortunately, all of these injured players will be back by the end of the season.
The running game has been an issue the past few weeks, but luckily Cedric Benson will be returning in the next few weeks (via Packers.com). The return of Benson will help the running game be more productive.
With all of these concerns, there are good explanations for them. While I'm not saying that the Packers are off of the hook, there were reasons for why they struggled on Sunday. The Packers should take this as a wake-up call and begin preparing for next week's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
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