Without Rodgers, Packers Defense Must Stand Strong Against New York Giants
Despite throwing lightly at practice on Wednesday, Aaron Rodgers will be sidelined with an injury again, and Scott Tolzien will get his second start as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Tolzien looked decent in his first start last weekend, but it will be the Packers defense that must put pressure on Eli Manning all game long to force bad throws and give themselves a shot at a much needed victory. The New York Giants however have been hot lately winning three games in a row, so the Packers must come ready to play as sports books have named the Giants the likely victor.
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
Metlife Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ
Odds: Giants -5
What To Watch For From The Green Bay Packers
The Packers won’t be using the pass game as heavily as they did last week, meaning rookie Eddie Lacy will play possibly the most important offensive role of any player. Lacy must get the offense going on the ground early to alleviate pressure off Tolzien, but if he is unable to do so, this game could get ugly. The Packers defense also will play an important role in this game as the Giants’ offensive line as been struggling all season long, meaning the normally underperforming pass rush of the Packers may breakthrough the line and create some havoc. Tolzein completed 24 of his 39 pass attempts last week for 280 yards, and although seemingly solid stats, he threw two key interceptions and was unable to drive the offense downfield when needed to. The Packers are dealing with numerous injuries right now, but with Clay Matthews listed as a full participant in practice, the defensive unit will get some much needed help from the Pro Bowl linebacker.
What To Watch For From The New York Giants
Although their victory over the Oakland Raiders last week was hardly impressive, the Giants stand at 3-6 through 10 weeks of NFL action, and are in desperate need of a win over the Packers. The NFC East appears to be one of the weaker divisions in football this season, meaning although they have six losses already, the Giants are still in the hunt for the playoffs if they continue winning each week. Manning is still struggling to protect the ball as he threw his league leading 16th interception against the Raiders last week, and still has more interceptions than touchdowns (11) on the year. However, the Giants offense may get a boost now that Andre Brown is back as the fifth-year running back ran for 115 yards last weekend, and figures to play an even bigger role against the Packers this weekend.
The only significant difference between the two teams’ defenses is that the Giants are one of the better run stopping teams, while the Packers are slightly below average. If Lacy is unable to pickup solid yardage on the ground the Packers will be in trouble, but if Manning is under pressure throughout the game, as I expect him to be, the Packers should create enough turnovers and bad throws to propel them to victory in a crucial mid-season game.
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