The fact that the Green Bay Packers are walking wounded coming into the Meadowlands on Sunday by no means makes this contest a forgone conclusion, but it certainly tips the scales in favor of the New York Giants.
Mike McCarthy’s green-and-yellows will be without their starting tight end Jermichael Finley, leading receiver from last season Randall Cobb and arguably the most astute quarterback of the modern era, Aaron Rodgers. The first two have been moved to injured reserve and are done for the season, while luckily for the Giants, Rodgers has targeted Week 12 for a return to action following a shoulder injury.
Boasting a plethora of top receivers and one of the league’s top-10 running backs, the Packers have soldiered on through the injury crisis with the likes of Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin and James Jones picking up the pieces. You have to believe a lot of this was down to the expertise of Rodgers and his ability to create top receivers off the back of his stellar quarterback rating, as the Packers have lost two-straight home games without him.
It is looking increasingly likely that Scott Tolzien will start the game under center for the visitors despite the return of Matt Flynn, who has had a turbulent few seasons in the league since leaving the Packers in 2011.
Packers by numbers:
– The Packers are currently 5-4 and in third place in the NFC North, one game off the pace in the division.
– The Packers’ offense is ranked third overall, averaging 420.0 yards per game
– For so long, the Packers have been a pass-first offense that negates the run. They have found a balance in 2013, ranking fifth in passing YPG (276.9) and sixth in rushing YPG (143.1).
– Rookie running back Eddie Lacy currently ranks eighth in the NFL in terms of total rushing yards. In nine games this season, Lacy has eclipsed the total yardage and carries made by the Packers’ leading back Alex Green in 2012.
– The Packers have only failed to produce at least one 100-plus-yard receiver in two of their nine games this season.
– With 772 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches, Jordy Nelson is by far the most potent weapon in the Packers’ passing game this season.
Head-to-head team stats:
– Packers’ 5th-ranked passing offense vs. Giants’ 11th-ranked pass-defense.
– Packers 6th-ranked rushing offense vs. Giants’ 11th-ranked run-defense.
– Giants’ 14th-ranked passing offense vs. Packers’ 21st-ranked pass-defense.
– Giants’ 29th-ranked rushing offense vs. Packers’ 13th-ranked run-defense.
– Giants’ three-game winning streak vs. Packers’ two-game losing streak.
– The Giants are 3-2 against the Packers in the last five meetings, and 4-3 over the last seven.
– The Giants have won the last two games, outscoring the Packers by 75 points to 30.
– Giants quarterback Eli Manning has three touchdown passes in each of the last three meetings.
– Manning averaged 308.6 passing yards per game in his last three vs. Green Bay.
– Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks averaged 105.75 receiving YPG in four career outings against the Packers.
– Nicks has at least one touchdown catch in each career game against the Packers and six in total.
– The last meeting between the two teams was one week shy of a year ago, when the Giants were 38-10 winners at Metlife Stadium in 2012.
With the numbers and the recent history stacked increasingly in their favor, Tom Coughlin‘s G-Men have ample opportunity to crank up the pressure on the division-leading Dallas Cowboys during their bye week. Should results go their way, Big Blue could find themselves just one game off the pace in the NFC East, which is pretty notable considering they started the season 0-6.