It is a longstanding assumption on the sporting landscape that history can have a major part to play in the outcome of a particular game. Most teams and their diehard supporters will have that one opposition that they dread coming up against.
Of course, many skeptics believe it to be nothing more than a myth and for good reason; how can results from years gone by have any effect on a contest in the here and now?
Whether it’s a streak that you just can’t seem to snap or an inexplicable downturn in form against a particular opponent, history can have a psychological effect on a team and its personnel. For those who believe in this phenomena, the New York Giants stand in good stead ahead of their Week 11 meeting with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Best-of-five is often a series that we like to use as a general indicator, and in recent times it falls 3-2 in the Giants’ favor. For those of you whom five games is not enough, for perhaps the baseball or ice hockey enthusiasts who like to deal in sevens, the Giants also pull rank at 4-3 over the past seven meetings head-to-head in a run that stretches back to 2004.
The Giants average 36.6 points over their last three games against the Packers, and have outscored Mike McCarthy‘s men 75-30 in the last two. The upcoming contest on Sunday will be just one week shy of a year since the cheese-heads last touched down at Metlife Stadium, a game in which they were blown away by a score of 38-10 as Eli Manning hit three different receivers for a touchdown and Ahmad Bradshaw went over 100 all-purpose yards in the game.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will be hoping that the recent history between these two sides can help revive two of his ailing stars come Sunday afternoon. Manning has enjoyed his recent time against the famous green-and-yellows; Eli has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the last three outings against the Packers, a feat that he has achieved only once so far in 2013. Manning averages 308.6 passing yards per game over this same three-game stint against the Packers, whilst his average over the Giants’ three-game winning run is just 195.3 YPG.
Another member of the Giants roster that is notorious for big performances against Green Bay but has dropped significantly off the pace during this season is wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. The Giants’ most-senior receiver averages 63.3 receiving YPG this season and perhaps more disconcertingly has yet to find the end zone in nine attempts. Nicks has been a thorn in the side of the Packers since he entered the league in 2009; in four career meetings he averages a spectacular 105.75 receiving YPG and has notched up six touchdown receptions. With his future in New York renowned to be unclear, Nicks will be hoping that history repeats itself against the Packers this week.
It stands to reason that Manning and Nicks need each other. They’ve combined to have a spectacular impact against the Packers in their careers, and you have to believe that a Packers defense that ranks 21st against the pass in 2013 provides a big opportunity to get back on track.
It’s not just recent events that should leave the Big Blue faithful optimistic about their chances this Sunday. Their walking-wounded visitors will hobble into the Meadowlands minus both their first and second-string quarterbacks, whilst their leading receiver from 2012, Randall Cobb, and starting tight end Jermichael Finley are both done for the season. The league’s current third-ranked offense now seemingly rests on the shoulders of their rookie running back sensation Eddie Lacy, though the Giants’ 11th ranked and recently improved run-defense might have something to say about this.
Should the Giants prevail in Week 11 it will be the eighth consecutive season in which they’ve put together a winning streak of four games or more. It’s also something that keeps the division-leading Dallas Cowboys looking over their shoulder as the NFC East draws towards a nail-biting finale.