The Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon. After saying he thinks his team could “run the table”, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack did just that. Green Bay enters the postseason on a six-game winning streak. The Giants, meanwhile, manhandled the Washington Redskins in Week 17, and are on fire defensively. I provide my three keys to the game in the Wild Card Weekend Preview below.
Perkins & Jennings vs. Packers’ Front Four
Too often this season the Giants have been stymied on offense. They are among the worst in the league in percentage of drives that result in a three-and-out, according to sportingcharts.com. The team cannot afford another week of offensive struggles. Head coach Ben McAdoo will need to shorten the game by calling a heavy dosage of running plays. Paul Perkins was force fed the ball last Sunday, eclipsing the 100-yard mark, and Rashad Jennings contributed with a touchdown. That trend needs to continue, as winning the time of possession battle and keeping the ball away from Rodgers will be vital to victory. That could be a tall task, as the Packers allow the eighth fewest rushing yards per game, buoyed by defensive tackle Mike Daniels.
Teacher vs. Student
McAdoo got his start in the NFL under Mike McCarthy as a quality control coach in New Orleans. In an interview with ESPN’s Jason Wilde, McAdoo refers to his early years with McCarthy as “a great foundation for offense, defense and special teams.” Both coaches run similar pass-heavy offenses, distinguishable by the wealth of three-receiver sets. Both teams also pass the ball at least 60 percent of the time, according to Teamrankings.com.
McAdoo also played a big role in Rodgers’ development. Rodgers told Patricia Traina of FanSided that McAdoo was “a stickler on the fundamentals” and that he “enjoyed working with him.” This reunion will be the focal point of Wild Card Weekend.
Which Star Will Make a Play?
Eli Manning has gone into the frozen tundra and led the Giants to victory in the playoffs twice before. Odell Beckham Jr. is about to get his first taste of postseason action, and he will be a nightmare for Packers’ defensive coordinator Dom Capers, especially with their banged up secondary. Rodgers and Clay Matthews are the heart and soul of the Packers, and you can guarantee they be ready on this Wild Card Weekend.
It was Corey Webster’s interception in 2007 and Hakeem Nicks’ Hail Mary grab in 2011 that stand out from the last two playoff games between the Giants and Packers. If I had to pick one player to make a significant play this time around, I would choose Landon Collins, who has been playing at an All-Pro level.
The Giants’ fearsome secondary forces a turnover that proves to be the difference.