The Green Bay Packers‘ upcoming game against the New York Football Giants is an interesting one. The Packers have been clearly less dominant than they were last season, but are riding a five-game winning streak that has boosted their confidence. The reigning Super Bowl champions, on the other hand, started the season off 6-2, but have dropped their last two games and quarterback Eli Manning, who is the beneficiary of gross hyperbole by talking heads when it comes to his talents, is having a very rough stretch.
Over the last four games, Elite Eli has one touchdown, six interceptions, and a 58.6 passer rating. Analysts have even floated a “tired arm” theory to try to explain his abrupt downturn in production.
No matter what kind of funk the Giants are in, the Packers better be prepared for the best version of them. New York is coming off a bye week that has not only allowed them to get healthy, but will have given them time to work on their offensive struggles.
The Giants’ defense is prone to giving up big yards (22nd in the NFL in yards allowed), but makes up for much of that by taking the ball away – 27 times so far this season (2nd in the league). And any team that has Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul getting after the quarterback cannot be taken lightly.
I personally don’t think Manning is that great a quarterback – he throws a lot of interceptions and makes a lot, a lot of head-scratching decisions. That said, he has shown that he has another “zone” he can get into, especially late in games. Is there another quarterback in history that has had so many dismal 80-yard, 3-interception first halves, followed by superhero-like 300-yard, 4-touchdown second halves? Don’t let a patented Eli first half lull you into a second half lull, Green Bay!
Manning has receivers who trust him, too. Hakeem Nicks is getting closer to 100% with his knee and foot injuries, and he has routinely caused the Packers defense fits. Victor Cruz has continued to beat defenders downfield, despite added attention from defenses.
This game makes me nervous because I just have no idea which Giants team will show up. The team that ran over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6? Or the team that was lit up, 31-13, by the Andy Dalton-led Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10?
The Giants seem to be scrambling a bit currently, while the Packers seem to be settling into their win-any-way-you-can style that has made them confident but aware of their weaknesses. And though I don’t think this is a “revenge” game, Green Bay certainly won’t have forgotten how they were embarrassed by the Giants – at Lambeau – in last year’s divisional game. It will be an exciting game, but Green Bay will pull out another win.