The New York Giants entered their bye week coming off of two disappointing losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out beginning with the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.
The Giants offense has struggled mightily in the last few weeks. Eli Manning has gone three games and 99 pass attempts since throwing his last touchdown. Not all of that is Eli’s fault as Victor Cruz and his dropped touchdown pass against the Bengals can attest. However, the offense has sputtered almost all season in the red zone and Manning and company need to find a groove and reverse their fortunes.
One thing that should help is the healthy return of Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Phillips as well as a full practice from Ahmad Bradshaw. Nicks’ healthy return should be an immense boost for a passing offense that desperately needs it.
Bradshaw’s ability to practice this week could be an overlooked blessing for the Giants. The last time Bradshaw was able to fully practice in a week leading up to a game was before the Week 5 game against the Cleveland Browns. Bradshaw went off for 200 yards that week. Bradshaw should be a different runner this week, able to expect a more confident Bradshaw hitting the holes than in weeks past.
The key to the game, however, lies in stopping Aaron Rodgers, or at least slowing him down. The Giants will need to apply pressure on Rodgers, something that a lot of teams have been able to do as evidenced by the 32 sacks the Packers offensive line has allowed so far.
The Giants defensive line hasn’t been consistent this season when it comes to applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora have only 13.5 sacks between them, hardly what was expected of them through this point in the season.
What the Giants need to do is back to playing the kind of football that is expected of them. That means getting the running game moving forward, the passing game reestablishing its rhythm, and the defense getting back to being a dominant force.
If the Giants get two of those facets working they should be able to walk away with an all-important win against one of the best teams in the NFL. If they don’t then it could be a long night on Sunday.