Enemy Exchange, Packers Edition


Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope everyone gets what they’re wishing for this year… whether that be a pair of socks or the Giants clinching the wild card in Green Bay.

Speaking of which, this week I had an opportunity to exchange with Fansided’s Green Bay Packers guru, Melinda Banks of Lombardi Ave.  Read what she had to tell me about this weekends game where the Giants visit the Packers in hopes of securing a playoff appearance.

The Packers get Aaron Rodgers back for this all or nothing game.  Will he be rusty?  Fired Up?  Tentative from the concussion?

"After Aaron’s first concussion, he seemed to be tentative against the Dolphins, but he didn’t sit out a week either. I’ve heard he’s been practicing well and things are moving very well, I think he’ll be ready for the game Sunday."

Are Packers fans nervous that the Giants defense, the QB killers, are going to take out Rodgers in this game?

"We’re always concerned about our QB’s health.  But our o-line has much improved this year giving Rodgers time in the pocket and he’s making much better decisions about throwing the ball away when no one is open and his protection starts to collapse.  The good news that came from Rodgers’ concussion was that we found out Matt Flynn is a gifted quarterback and can be counted on when his number is called."

Last year the Packer O-line gave up 50+ sacks, one of the most in the league.  How have they improved this year and what are some of the weaknesses the Giants will look to exploit?

"Last year, our offensive live had some real problems protecting Rodgers, with a total of  50 sacks, however, 40 of those came in the first 8 games of the year.  The coaches made some adjustments, and the defense was able to get to Rodgers only 10 times the rest of the season. (But no remembers that part).  This year has been good as far as protecting our QB, only 27 sacks through week 15.  Rodger’s weakness come when he scrambles.  He’s an athletic QB and he has great vision and good speed, but he takes chances he shouldn’t and has never been able to execute the QB slide."

Losing Ryan Grant, former NY Giant, was tough on the Packers.  The Giants are often able to make teams one dimensional, if they know the Packers will be without a decent enough ground attack it could spell trouble for Rodgers seeing a ton of pressure.  Is the running game going to be a problem for Green Bay in this match-up?

"Our running game has left me shaking my head many times. Brandon Jackson hasn’t been able to step up and make a difference in the game the way Grant would.  The running back by committee crew of Jackson, Kuhn, Nance and now Starks has seem some success in the past few games.  But it doesn’t compare to having an elite RB with great vision and break out speed.  I think that has been ourAchilles heel all year and why our record isn’t better than 8-6 at this point."

What’s your advice for stopping Donald Driver, James Jones, and Greg Jennings?

"Donald Driver has been working through a quad injury, which is why we haven’t seen the production out of him that we saw last year.  He did have a fabulous game against the 49er’s but that’s been the highlight of his season.  James Jones and Greg Jennings both have great speed and focus. If they are given an opportunity to make a reception, they will make the effort."

How are the Packers going to shut down the Giants offense?

"I think our defense will make some big plays.  Manning seems to have a problem this year with ball protection and leads the league in INT’s.  We have tremendous talent at Safety and Corner, and don’t forget about our linebackers."

What are Packers fans looking forward to most about facing the Giants?  Whats their biggest advantage?

"Playing at Lambeau is a huge advantage in itself.  Getting the crowd into the game and energizing the players is huge."

What is the X-Factor for the Packers?

"Our defense, they have been able to control the pass and the run."

What is the X-Factor for the Giants?

"If Manning has a good day and is accurate."

Final Prediction

"Packers 28 Giants 24"