Week 2 was a telling week in this year's schedule, though at the time most everyone didn't realize that two match ups would be so important. The Chargers fell to the Patriots 38 to 14, and the Giants fell to the Packers 35 to 13. While the Patriots win was expected, the Packers surprised a lot of people with their convincing win.
The score at the start of the 4th quarter was 14-13, and the Green and Gold finished the game with a 21 point push. Their strategy was simple: short passes.
New York has consistently torn into teams that can not protect the passer, with a top notch rush coming from all areas of the defensive line. The two most effective ways of beating the Giants defense this year has been a strong running game, and using a short passing attack. While Green Bay has improved their running game, it's important to note that New York may be without their top 3 Corners in this week's game.
Green Bay's attack this time around should consist of screens, draws, some play-action pass, and short passing routes. The only reason that I could see a lot of runs or long passes from the Packer offense is if they get a lead and want to tire out the defense with Ryan Grant, who has been playing extremely well. On the flip side, if the Giants get an early lead, look for Favre to test those corners with some gutsy passing down the field. They have moved the ball in the air consistently this year, and have the number two passing offense behind the Patriots.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants have proved they can get it done as well. With a number 3 running game, an early lead will be key to staying inside their offense. While Eli Manning has greatly improved as a quarterback this year, becoming one dimensional in a losing game and being pressed by Green Bay's great corners and feeling the pressure from Aaron Kampman will likely get the best of them. Expect heavy running out of the gate, and count on the score dictating what the Giants turn to late in the game.
While the Giants have the better defense, Green Bay's is not too far behind. Both are balanced against the run and pass, although injuries may affect the New York pass defense. Look for Green Bay's offense to have more success at moving the ball, as they have a more balanced attack and possibly more options to start the game. This should be a very competitive game, and the atmosphere at Lambeau will be absolutely wonderful for playoff football, but watch out for an early disparity in score. Should the Packers find themselves behind early, watch for the Giant's running game to pound it out, but don't count out a Green Bay come from behind as Favre is no stranger to the playoffs or 4th quarter comebacks. However, should Green Bay get a 10 point lead, Manning will dictate whether or not New York has a chance at the end of this one.
It should be an exciting week of NFL Conference Championships, two rematches from week 2. The losers go home, the winners move on to the Superbowl. Which teams are teams of destiny? Wait til Sunday to find out!