WHEN : Sunday, January 8th. 4:40 p.m. (EST)
WHERE : Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The NFC bracket is wide open, and many people believe that whoever wins this game, will represent the conference in the Super Bowl. The Giants come into this game with a record of 11-5. They ended up two games behind the NFC East champions, Dallas Cowboys, even after they sweeping their rivals in the season series. The Packers hold a 10-6 record, and a NFC North title. Green Bay remained in second place in the division throughout most of the season. They strung together six straight wins, including a week 17 victory over the Lions, to ultimately be crowned division champions.
These two teams have already met once this season. In week five, the Giants traveled to Green Bay and lost 23-16. Eli Manning was only able to throw for 199 yards, and their leading rusher was Bobby Rainey with 22 yards. The Packers defense was able to dominate the struggling Giants offense. Green Bay’s offense had success as well. Aaron Rodgers was able to throw two touchdowns in the win, and also racked up 259 passing yards. A key factor in the Packers win was their running game. In week five, their starting running back was Eddie Lacy, who ran for over 80 yards. Besides the Pack’s three turnovers, they absolutely crushed the Giants.
Over the past few years, the New York Giants have been carried by their offense. This season the script completely flipped. The Giants offense ranks in the bottom 10 teams in the league in total yards and points scored. Their defense ranks 10th in yards allowed, and 2nd in points given up. Whether or not this strong defense will be able to stop Aaron Rodgers is a different story. The Giants rank 23rd in passing yards allowed per game, and Rodgers has been phenomenal during the Packers lengthy win streak.
Even though New York’s offense has struggled, their lineup has a number of contributors that can make a positive impact in Sunday’s game. Obviously the combination of Manning and Beckham Jr. has proven to be a lethal one. The addition of Sterling Shepard has offered another great receiver to the already deep corp. Their rushing game is usually handled by the veteran Rashad Jennings, but rookie Paul Perkins has a ton of speed that adds yet another element. The numbers don’t lie, the Giants offense has been very inconsistent this season, but they have the potential to really break out.
Green Bay has a home record of 6-2. They have won six straight games, and have five wins this season against current playoff teams. With Aaron Rodgers leading the way, the Packers seem to be strong enough to make a deep Super Bowl run. Their elite quarterback has proven that he is one of the best in the league, maybe even ranking in as one of the best all time. In 2016, Rodgers is 4th in passing yards and quarterback rating. He also leads the league with 40 passing touchdowns. Regaining his favorite target, Jordy Nelson, has had a huge impact on the offense’s success.
The running game for the Packers is a completely different story. Currently, the Packers have three healthy running backs, that all contribute in unique ways. The main rusher is Ty Montgomery, a wide receiver who converted to running back when Eddie Lacy went down with an injury. Another player who could see some touches Sunday, is James Starks. He has dealt with injuries all season, and is questionable for this week’s game. His availability could have a great impact on the offense’s production.
MY PREDICTION : This game is going to be a close one, but I think the Packers will end up on top. The Packers have been definitely been trending in the right direction as of late. Starting the season off 4-6, and then completely turning it around to finish on a six game win streak, proves that Green Bay can beat anyone. This game will feature have a solid amount of scoring, with a finishing score of 30-24. The Packers defense showed that they can control Eli Manning, but I think the Giants will have more offensive production Sunday compared to in week five. When it comes down to it, Aaron Rodgers is an unbelievable quarterback, and I don’t think the Giants have the firepower to slow him down. Packers move on, and the Giants gain more free time to party in Miami.