In arguably the most compelling game of the Wild Card round the 12-4 New York Giants will travel to Green Bay to face the 10-6 Green Bay Packers. In both 2007 and 2011 the Packers beat the Giants in the regular season and the Giants responded by winning on the road at Lambeau Field. The Giants are hoping that history repeats itself as the Giants lost to the Packers 23-16 in week 5 of this season. The two main constants over recent seasons for both teams have been their respective quarterbacks in Aaron Rogers and Eli Manning. Neither team had an effective running game through the season and had to rely on their quarterbacks more than expected. Both are Hall of Fame players regardless and whomever team wins will only further cement their legacy.
The Giants spent over 60 million dollars on three defensive players in the offseason and all three have combined with the rookies and returning players have combined to form the leagues hottest defense heading into the playoffs. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins has combined with rookie Eli Apple, Dominque Rogers Cromartie, and hard hitting Landon Collins to form one of the top secondary’s in the league. This secondary allows free agent signing Oliver Vernon and the rest of the linebackers to blitz far more often. Damon Harrison has proven to be worth his big contract as well as both a run stuffer and pass rusher. The offense has struggled for most of the season but mad the big plays when they have had to. Odell Beckham has become one of the top receivers in the league and will be a constant target for Manning while rookie Sterling Sheppard has been gaining steam in the the least few weeks. The running game has been woefully inconsistent and it looks like rookie Paul Perkins has started to take carries away from Rashard Jennings. The offensive line was a disaster early on but has gotten much better in recent weeks.
The Packers were 4-6 when Rogers predicted that his steam would win their remaining games and make the playoffs and that is exactly what he and the Packers did. He did it without any semblance of a running game for the most part, relying on short shotgun passes instead of traditional runs. Converted wide receiver Ty Montgomey had a few big games late in the season and will likely be a big factor in the offense at either position. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson remains one of the best in the league and will be a focus for the Giants defense.
This game is the most anticipated of the weekend with the setting being an historic field in expected frigid temperatures. The right arm of both quarterbacks will get most of the media attention going forward however the likely winner will likely be decided by which team can establish the run and set up their play action passing game. Both defenses are up against elite quarterbacks and the pressure will be on them to keep them out of the endzone.
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