Packers vs. Giants: 5 Reasons This Could Be a Playoff Preview
The Green Bay Packers may face their toughest competition on Sunday against the New York Giants, a team that has been a master at spoiling streaking teams, doing it twice to the New England Patriots, and once to the 13-0 Denver Broncos in 1998.
However, that isn't the only thing going for the Giants. They have a tough defense, led by defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. While Umenyiora is out this week, they still have plenty of players on this defense to make it a very formidable front.
They also have an offense led by Eli Manning, and while they can be prone to turnovers at times, they have played quite well this season, despite a three-game losing streak.
The Giants have their late-season woes, and with a tough schedule ahead of them, it will be hard for them to find themselves in the playoffs. But here are five reasons why the Packers and Giants could meet each other again in January.
5. Injuries to Other Teams
Even if the Giants don't win their division, they could still find themselves with a wild-card spot. At this point, they will likely be competing for two spots against the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons, but with an injury to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Chicago could find themselves struggling as the season ends.
As for the Lions, despite a hot 5-0 start, they have been 2-4 since, and their star defensive end Ndamukong Suh is expected to miss a game or two due to a suspension.
The Giants are playing toe to toe against the Dallas Cowboys for the division, but even if they miss out, they still have a shot to sneak in as a No. 5 or 6 seed, something they've done in recent years.
4. A Tough Defense in a Tough Climate
When the weather gets cold, offenses slow down, which could be very good for the Giants, who pride themselves on a tough and stout defense. If the Giants can rebound from their three-game losing skid, their defense may be able to carry them through the final four games, and play their opponents close enough for the Giants offense, which can be very efficient, to pull out a victory. After all, the Giants have played well in defensive, low-scoring games.
Likewise, the Packers proved last year that they can play in low-scoring games, edging out the Bears 10-3 in a cold Week 17 game. And while Green Bay has struggled this year on defense, they have the talent to improve, and will likely play a good, physical game in wintry Lambeau Field in December and January, as they have done this in the past.
3. A Weak Division
The Giants play in the NFC East, and at this point, really only have to contend with the Cowboys, as the Redskins and the Eagles are virtually out of the playoff race with 4-7 and 4-8 records, respectfully. The Cowboys, who have a track record of struggling in December, are only one game ahead of them, so the Giants could certainly overcome a one-game deficit.
As for the Packers, they are very close to clinching their division at 11-0, and shouldn't have a problem doing this even if they were to lose this week against New York.
2. Their Quarterback Situation
An NFL team's success commonly starts with the quarterback. And for the Packers and the Giants, they are playing with two of the best quarterbacks in the league this year. Aaron Rodgers is the front-runner for MVP this year, and while Eli Manning hasn't had the same year statistically, he is putting together a solid season as well, even in Monday night's loss to New Orleans, in which he threw 400 yards and two touchdowns.
With several teams in the NFC having questionable quarterback situations, namely the Bears, who are forced to start their second-string quarterback Caleb Hanie because of injury, the Giants and Packers could have the advantage over them, simply because they are set on the most important position in football.
1. Past Success
The simplest reason as to why the Packers and Giants could meet each other in the playoffs is simple: Both teams have had recent success getting to the playoffs, and succeeding when they get there.
The Packers just got off a Super Bowl run in which they won four playoff games, and before that, found themselves in the playoffs two of the three previous seasons, one of which they were in the NFC Championship Game. And who did they face? The Giants.
The Giants have had some late-season struggles recently, but have still enjoyed success through much of the regular season, and went on a similar Super Bowl run in 2007 as a wild-card team.
Despite a three-game losing skid, the Giants have the talent to pull themselves out of this hole, just like the Packers did a year ago. And if they do, they could find themselves in a playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champs.