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Giants vs. Packers: Best and Worst Performances from Each Side in NFC Clash

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers makes a catch with pressure from Trumaine McBride #38 and Will Hill #25 of the New York Giants during the first half at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Steven CookContributor IIINovember 18, 2013

The NFL hierarchy sure can change drastically in the matter of a few weeks, and that was proven again Sunday in the New York Giants' 27-13 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Winners of four straight, the G-Men were able to pull away from the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers to improve to 4-6. Meanwhile, the Packers have lost three in a row and are slipping fast in the hunt for a playoff bid.

While the end result reeked of promise for one side and gloom for the other, there was plenty of good and bad from each team.

Here's a breakdown of the best and worst performances in the Giants-Packers showdown.


Best: Giants WR Victor Cruz 

Nov 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) celebrates a big 1st down 2nd half  at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Cruz has been a hit-or-miss option both in the Giants' wide receiving unit and in fantasy, but he made both of those a distant memory when he stepped onto the field Sunday.

Cruz was Eli Manning's favorite target by far, getting thrown to 11 times—more than twice as much as the next leader. He turned it into eight catches for 110 yards.

Consistency from wideouts has been nonexistent from the Giants this season, and that has been a huge factor in their early struggles. If Cruz continues to emerge, however, Manning and company should only continue their recent roll.


Worst: Packers RB Eddie Lacy 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:  Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers tries to get a few extra yards as Prince Amukamara #20 and Keith Rivers #55 of the New York Giants defend at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.Th
Elsa/Getty Images

Very few backs have been as reliable as Lacy since he returned from a concussion in Week 5, averaging more than 100 yards per game since then. 

In Sunday, he was far from his usual self, amassing 14 carries but only turning it into 27 yards. If it weren't for an early fourth-quarter touchdown, he would've been an absolute non-factor. 

Lacy's rookie season has been nothing short of spectacular, and Sunday doesn't change that, but you have to be less than impressed with him in the loss if you're a Packers fan. 


Best: Packers WR Jordy Nelson

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 04: Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers makes the catch and turns up field for some more yards during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on November 04, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

With Randall Cobb still out, Jordy Nelson continued his emergence as the Packers' go-to wideout in Week 11.

He was a monster on Sunday, catching eight of his nine targets for 117 yards. He constantly proved his worth as a chain-mover, with some splashes of big gains (long of 29 yards) here and there.

When Rodgers returns, he'll enjoy the fact that his healthiest and currently most dangerous receiver is in top form. 


Worst: Packers QB Scott Tolzien

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:   Scott Tolzien #16 of the Green Bay Packers passes the ball to  Eddie Lacy #27 at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers 27-13.  (Photo by
Elsa/Getty Images

To Tolzien's credit, you expect a lot less from a young quarterback in his first start. But his mistakes played a huge part in the Packers' loss.

Tolzien completed 24 of his 34 passes and racked up 339 yards through the air, but failed to throw a touchdown. His three interceptions on the night proved costly.

The former University of Wisconsin standout walked into a fortunate situation with plenty of talented wideouts and an above-.500 team, but can't seem to avoid the mistakes that quarterbacks have to stay away from to keep his team in the game. 

Fortunately for the Pack, Rodgers should be returning soon, according to Kevin Patra of


Best: Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 talks with Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Gi
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It hasn't been a season to remember for Jason Pierre-Paul in rushing the passer, but he made one of the biggest plays in Sunday's game.

With a little more than 10 minutes left, the Giants were clinging onto a one-touchdown lead as the Packers got the ball back. Tolzien looked left for a short pass to the outside, but didn't see Pierre-Paul waiting.

The 24-year-old scaled up and snatched the ball, returning it 24 yards to the house to all but seal the Giants' victory.

Big plays have come few and far between for Pierre-Paul this season, but he left an undeniable mark on Sunday's win. 


Worst: Giants Offensive Line

Nov 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) drops back to pass during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

It's hard to come up with negatives from New York's performance, but the offensive line was a huge area of concern.

Eli Manning was sacked four times on the night for 23 yards. And even though Andre Brown finished with 18 carries and 66 yards, the team only averaged 3.3 yards per carry.

Not that it was surprising that the Giants didn't dominate on the ground, but you would've liked to have seen Manning protected better and a bit more of a push up front.  

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