Trey Wingo and ESPN are talking about Green Bay going undefeated, not the Packers
Now that Brett Favre is no longer worth their obsession (Wednesday, they would not even mention his name, referring to him as "Voldemort" and the "Ol' Gunslinger No. 4"), they have gravitated toward the much-more positive Tim Tebow. But they have to talk about the actual game sometimes.
They showed a simulation that listed Green Bay's chances to win each individual game, and Sunday's matchup is the only one that is not higher than 75 percent. But multiplying the chances against each other to determine the probability of running the table resulted in just over a 30 percent chance.
That may seem low, but the Packers do face four teams with winning records. There is always a chance of injury, of the Packers resting starters or of weather that nullifies Green Bay's passing game and forced the game to be determined by running proficiency (yikes!).
That is exactly why the Packers are not talking about it. The only thing the coaches and players are focused on is the next game.
It is boring for ESPN, and it is bad news for the next opponent. Games at this level are won between the ears (preparation, scheme and mentality), as is obvious because the 9-2 San Francisco 49ers have almost the identical roster to last year's 6-10 team.
New York has home field advantage. Momentum, confidence, determination, focus, coaching and four extra days off all favour Green Bay. But how do the players on the field matchup?
As I have said repeatedly, the Packers have the advantage over anyone while passing the ball.
The best and deepest receiving corps resides in Green Bay. No other unit has the combination of depth, sure hands, size and speed that makes them lead the league in yards after the catch.
In a Sports Science segment on NFL Live, the precision of Aaron Rodgers laid the case for why he is the best in the game: His release takes a third of a second, he is able to throw the ball 50 miles an hour and he is accurate to within just over one degree.
He also has timing down so well with his receivers that he makes the throw when they are seven yards from their break on a back-shoulder throw, giving defensive backs two-tenths of a second to adjust. The problem is, it takes half that for the brain to process the need and twice that to change direction.
In other words, by the time they adjust to where Rodgers throws the ball, it is three-tenths of a second too late. Receivers have gained three yards of separation and a throw as accurate as his to receivers as sure-handed as his will be completed.
This is why pressure is key to stopping Rodgers. Because he reads defenses very well, knows his hot reads and has receivers who can get open, few quarterbacks are as dangerous against the holes created by blitzing.
But the Giants do not have to blitz. They almost exclusively use a four-man rush and still rank fifth in the NFL in sacks. With the banged-up Packers line (Josh Sitton probably joining Chad Clifton on the sideline), this could be a problem.
After Drew Brees picked apart the Giants, they rank 26th in passing yards allowed and 16th in opponent passer rating. Green Bay's third-ranked attack with the quarterback that leads the league in passer rating by over 20 points will destroy them if given time.
The Packers have top back James Starks close enough to full health to get the most out of the running game. Trouble is, this is one of the worst running games in the NFL, ranking fourth-worst in rushing yards and only seven average less real estate with each carry.
When teams have to play the pass, it is capable of keeping them honest. But even against awful run defenses like the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions (all in the bottom quarter of the league), the Packers have not gotten 100 yards rushing or four per carry from the running backs.
The New York Giants rank ninth-worst in yards per game and seventh-worst in yards per carry. It is essential that the Packers run the ball at least somewhat effectively to keep the Giants pass rush at bay, and that is the best Packers fans should hope for.
Eli Manning is having a fantastic year. His 95.6 passer rating ranks sixth in the NFL, and it is the primary reason the Giants passing attack ranks right behind the Packers with 291.5 yards per game.
The trouble is that while the Packers are giving up the second-most yards in the league, that is very misleading.
For one, teams are being forced to pass on the Packers a lot to keep up with Aaron Rodgers. Moreover, the Packers dare teams to pass and wait for the turnover, picking off six more passes than the next-best team.
The good thing for the Giants that Manning is not throwing many picks (10 so far). They also have the deep receiving corps to test the Packers secondary, with four receivers with at least 30 catches and 400 yards.
Moreover, they should have time: Green Bay ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in sack ratio, and the Giants have only given up 20 sacks.
In the end, the Giants will get their yards, and the Packers will get at least one pick.
The Giants have been known as a smash-mouth football team. They have a two-headed running back tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs that is among the best in the NFL.
But Bradshaw has been hurt, and even if he plays, his effectiveness will be limited. Jacobs appears to be over the hill and averages just 3.1 yards per carry.
All of this makes the Giants the worst rushing team in the NFL on both yards per game (82.3) and per carry (3.2, a full foot less than the next worst team). Both put the ball on the ground more than their coach would like.
However, while the Packers rank 13th in total rushing yards allowed, part of this is because teams have to abandon the run by the fourth quarter. Only seven teams give up more per carry, and the Packers have yet to force and recover a fumble in the running game.
Still, Mike Neal is a bigger defensive lineman than either Jarius Wynn or C.J. Wilson, so it helps that he is being worked back into the rotation. With the way the Packers score, the Giants will be one-dimensional shortly after halftime.
Mason Crosby has missed only one field goal all season, while Lawrence Tynes has missed three. Crosby's was from just 29 yards out, while he has made two over 55; Tynes missed one from 30-39 and both attempts of 50-plus.
Tim Masthay has a gross punt average over 45 yards and pins the opposition inside the 20 three times for every touchback. Steve Weatherford has an extra yard per punt and five more times pinning the opponent inside the 20 with the same number of touchbacks.
Both teams get less than a yard more than they give up on kick returns while giving up more yards on punt returns than they get. However, the Packers have a half-yard and 1.1-yard advantage, respectively, in the differential, and have one more touchdown than the opposition (New York has neither scored nor allowed a score on a kick or punt return).
Overall, a slight edge to the Packers in kicking, coverage and returns with an edge to the Giants punting give the visitors a small advantage on special teams.
My father always said, a good (Polish person) never makes the same mistake twice. I have made it eight times.
To be fair, I was right twice. But in 2010 and 2011, I have picked against the Packers 10 times, and the Packers are .800 when I do.
So as a Packers fan, I should always pick against Green Bay, right? But I believe the "prove MJ wrong" theory for Packers wins only works if my pick of the other team is sincere (Sadly, yes like the typical fan, in my heart I believe things that I do affect my team, even though I am aware how ridiculous that is.).
This was a game I had thought about the Packers losing. I did not falter in my opinion that no team could go unbeaten these days until the Super Bowl during the New England Patriots 18-game run.
But I also never though anyone would go winless, and the Lions did that in 2008. There could be a team doing each this season, but I would not bet on either. At the same time, I am not going to bet against the Packers for any individual games.
The good news is that based on the Packers record when I pick a win over these last two seasons, that means an even higher 87 percent chance of success.