Green Bay Packers
The 2015 Packers suffered a bunch of injuries, most notably to Jordy Nelson. Eddie Lacy struggled. Aaron Rodgers didn’t throw for a ton of yards per game (~219) but heaved 30+ touchdowns in a season that he describes as “different” and some called “a down year”. They needed a hail mary to beat the Lions at Ford Field and couldn’t duplicate the prayer in falling to Minnesota, who won the division as a result.
Green Bay’s defense was great against the pass, but susceptible to big gains and scores on the ground.
If this were a playoff game, I’d immediately chalk up a win. Eli’s 2-0 in 2 playoff games against Green Bay. In regular season contests, Manning is 2-3, but only really had 1 bad game – that coming in 2010 at Lambeau when Big Blue got crushed 45-17, effectively ending their playoff chances.
Green Bay owns the all-time head-to-head series with 27 wins in 52 games.
Teddy Bridgwater is a fan favorite, his progression has come as “no surprise” to his teammates, and he has a fan in former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. That said, he’s thrown the second least touchdowns and yards per game in the league. That’s mostly due to having Adrian Peterson and Jerrick McKinnon in the backfield. Minnesota was top 5 in the league in rushing yards and touchdowns on the ground.
Eli is straight up awful against the Vikings. In the 7 games he’s played against the Norsemen, he’s 2-5, has thrown 5 touchdowns against 14 interceptions and has compiled a 54.8 rating. You can safely expect a pick six.
All-time, Big Blue is 10-14 against the power of Purple.
Woof. And not in the Dawg Pound celebratory way. The Browns fired head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer. Johnny Manziel was a ‘no show’ at Cleveland’s regular season finale against Pittsburgh and could possibly end up in Dallas. It’s difficult to see this squad turning things around in 2016, but they’ll try when they pick second overall in this year’s draft. Yet again, they’ll be looking for a quarterback and a wide receiver or a pass rusher.
Cleveland was near the bottom of the league in passing and rushing yardage and scoring. The defense gave up a lot of yardage on the ground, but not many rushing touchdowns. However, they did allow a lot of passing touchdowns, tied for third most league-wide behind the Saints and Eagles.
With all that in mind, Eli has only played Cleveland twice – the nightmare in an otherwise great 2008 season and the 2012 contest in which Big Blue got down big but came back.
Cleveland owns the all-time series with 26 wins in 48 games. The ’50s were good to the Browns.
As the 2015-16 playoffs begin, the feeling is “nobody wants to face the Steelers“. Pittsburgh is a dangerous sixth seed in the AFC that some consider to be favorites to make the Super Bowl. They’ve lost LeVeon Bell and might lose DeAngelo Williams, but their passing attack is arguably the best in the league with Ben Roethlisberger hurling to Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Heath Miller and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Black and Yellow O had the 3rd most passing yards per game league-wide, but only 26 touchdowns through the air. You could attribute that mark to Big Ben being hurt for a stretch of the season. They averaged a little over 100 yard per game, but did score the third most touchdowns on the ground.
The Steelers did allow the third most yards per game through the air, but didn’t render a ton of touchdowns passing. The run defense is staunch; top 3 in yards allowed per game and touchdowns.
Eli’s last outing against Pittsburgh was following Sandy when his apartment in Hoboken was destroyed. He went 10-24 for 125 yards and a pick to end up with a 41.1 rating. The previous 2 games his ratings were much better, however, he’s failed to crack the 200 yard barrier. I think he finally does that in this matchup; one that will feature much more offense.
Oddly enough, the Giants have a 15 game advantage over the Steelers in head-to-head action, winning 44 games out of 76.
St. Louis Rams (in London)
After years of having The Greatest Show on Turf, the Rams are a mess at quarterback. Last in the league in passing yards per game and touchdowns through the air. They have the 15th pick in the upcoming draft, so they’ll surely target a quarterback and a receiver.
On the flip side, the running game is awesome. Todd Gurley has helped there, driving the Rams to the 7th most yards per game on the ground, and tied for third most rushing touchdowns overall.
The Rams defense only allowed 7 rushing touchdowns all season, tied for third least in the league. The pass defense was middle of the pack in yards allowed but among the top tier in touchdowns yielded. This is a dangerous, yet wildly inconsistent and unpredictable team that swept the Seahawks but can’t beat the lowly 49ers.
Eli is 4-0 against St. Louis. Each win has been by double digits. His completion percentage is above 65% and he’s thrown 12 touchdowns vs. 1 interception to garner a 124.1 rating. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the road or at home, Eli owns St. Louis. BUT… this game will be in London. The last time Eli played in London, he was 8 for 22 for 59 yards. It was a 13-10 win over Miami, but those numbers typically don’t add up to a victory.
The Rams have the edge in the all-time series, winning 25 out of 40 games.
Next: DIVISIONAL GAMES