The New York Giants showed a little life in their pass rush against the Oakland Raiders as they racked up a season-high four sacks. As the Giants get ready to take on the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers they will need to up their performance in the pass rush to force Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn into making mistakes.
In recent years, the Giants’ pass rush has been the dominant factor in elevating the defense to Super Bowl caliber. However, in the last couple of seasons that has taken a hit as Jason Pierre-Paul struggled last season and underwent offseason back surgery, Justin Tuck has struggled to replicate the success he saw in 2010 when he had 11.5 sacks. Mathias Kiwanuka hasn’t had the bounce-back year many expected as he moved back to his natural position of defensive end.
Right now, the Packers are going to start Tolzien who is subbing for the injured Rodgers and Seneca Wallace. Tolzien wasn’t terrible in his first game action as he completed 24 of 39 passes for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Obviously, Tolzien isn’t Rodgers but the Packers are still a dangerous team with weapons at wide receiver and running back. If Tolzien struggles the Packers won’t hesitate to go to newly re-signed Matt Flynn who knows the system and had his only NFL success with the Packers.
The Giants, to date, have not had a game where you can point to and say, “Wow, that was a good game!” The Giants have not looked particularly good in their three wins and have yet to play a complete football game and the schedule isn’t going to get any easier. Last season, the Giants beat the Packers 38-10 and sacked Rodgers five times. If they can replicate that kind of defensive performance the Giants will be in great shape to win the football game. It all starts with getting to the quarterback and forcing him to make mistakes, regardless of who is taking snaps under center.
The Giants pass rush could be without Jason Pierre-Paul, however, and will need someone like Kiwanuka or Tuck to step up. Kiwanuka had a great game last year with two sacks, three QB hits and six tackles. A repeat performance would be a huge lift to Big Blue. Sunday’s game will boil down to the Giants’ pass rush. They don’t necessarily need to get the sack but they need to hurry Tolzien or Flynn and force them to make mistakes, something that this unit is capable of. Hopefully, last week was the beginning of a turnaround and the Giants will return to being one of the fiercest pass rushes in the game.