Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Well, another week, another win for the Giants. I am not sure about you, but my mood is much better every week during this streak. Pryor was obviously more banged up than he let on, making it easy to tame him. Eli did not take advantage of the Raiders defense like Foles did, but Andre Brown shocked everyone and ran like he was in mid season form. Weatherford had a terrible game punting so the Raiders were never really pinned deep. Rashad Jennings had a solid game, 88 yards on 20 carries, but the Giants kept him out of the end zone.
Enough with the past, lets talk about this week. Here are my 5 keys to the game vs the Green Bay Packers:
1) Don’t Sleep on Tolzien
3rd string quarterback? Yes. An NFL quarterback? Yes. Think about it, Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the 2nd round of the playoffs. NFL quarterbacks have enough skill for anything to happen during a any game. Any Given Sunday. Apparently Tolzien has grasped the Green Bay offense rather quickly and has gotten praise from his receiver Jordy Nelson. Speaking of Nelson, he is healthy, as is James Jones. Eddie Lacy is just another weapon along with James Starks. With a lot of focus being on Lacy, the secondary cannot sit on their heels. Get pressure in his face, even if JPP does not play, find a way to get to him on passing downs. I can see DaMonster Moore getting his first career sack if JPP is not on the field.
2) Continue Success Against the Run
Giants haven’t had a player run for 100+ yards against them since week 3 when DeAngelo Williams ran for 120. To me, Eddie Lacy is the better back, but the Giants have played better back than Lacy in McCoy (2x), Forte, Charles, and Peterson. Jennings came in last week and ran for 88, but the Giants got the W. Beason has been the spark the defense needed, and players like Rivers and Williams are added bonuses. Lacy is a big back that has the ability to run any defender over if he gets going downhill. Continue to fill the gaps with linebackers, wrap, and drive.
3) Find a Kick Returner and Thrive
Jernigan opened last weeks game against the Raiders with a fumble that was recovered by the Raiders and taken to the Giants 5. Now there have been question marks about who will do the returning. Where the Giants are missing David Wilson most is the kick return game. Jernigan is averaging 22.4 on 7 returns this season. Cox is averaging 19.5 on 2. They are 24th in the NFL in average start field position after kickoffs, 20.4 yard line. Green Bay has had 35 kickoffs, 17 downed for touchbacks. Out of the 18 returned, the opponent has taken the ball 33.2 yards on average. If the Giants could find that explosive player and take advantage of the poor kick off coverage, it would take a lot of pressure off of Eli and the offense.
4) Run Until It Hurts
I have a feeling this is going to be the theme every week. The team has completely switched gears and surprisingly, its strength lies in the running game. Brandon Jacobs came out this week saying how sore opponents will be after playing him and Brown, I completely agree. Green Bay has very big bodies in the middle with B.J. Raji, Jolly, and Pickett, but run at a big man with big men, and they will wear down. Run sets up the pass game. Play action bombs or comebacks like Gilbride loves to run. Giants have 3 big and skilled running backs. Each have had solid games this season. Run the rock.
5) Nicks Needs To Step Up
Hakeem Nick’s biggest game was week 5 vs the Eagles when he had 9 receptions for 142 yards. Yet, he did not reach the endzone. Actually, he has not scored a TD in 12 games. This is a contract year for number 88, and he has a “good feeling” that he will get in there this week. In 4 games against the Packers, he has 23 receptions, 423 yards and six touchdowns, he has not been kept out of the endzone in any of those games. You combine Nicks with Cruz, an emerging Rueben Randle, and a solid running game? The Giants have the most prolific offense in the league. Just give Eli some time, something I could write about for days.
Bam. 5 for 5, the Giants have their fourth straight W, leading up to the biggest game of the year against Dallas.