The top team in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers will open up their 2012 NFL playoff campaign when they try to beat the NFL odds against the New York Giants on Sunday to round out the second round of the postseason.
If the Giants play the same exact game that they did last week against the Atlanta Falcons, they are going to be in it with a fight this week against the best team in the league in their stadium. QB Eli Manning didn’t have to do all that much, though he did throw three TD passes in the victory. The ground game picked up over 160 yards, almost double what it has averaged over the course of the year, and if not for a safety that the offense gave up in the first half, the defense would have pitched a shutout. All of the defensive ends for this team are healthy now, and that is going to create a ridiculous pass rush that the tackles for the Packers might have a hard time with. The real question is this defense, though. The Atlanta offense didn’t have the ability to stretch the field because of the pass rush on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean that the Packers, who have a significantly more vertical offense, won’t be able to get the job done. Remember that New York played the whole game from behind the first time around against Green Bay at home, and even though the Giants tied the game up late, it was the Packers that got the last laugh with the game winning field goal as time expired.
The Packers are supposed to be able to just run through the rest of the league in the playoffs to coast to a second Super Bowl in a row, but skeptics are starting to creep up. Green Bay was beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs, challenged for two and change quarters by the Chicago Bears on Christmas night, and needed strong efforts in the fourth quarter to put away these Giants, the San Diego Chargers, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Minnesota Vikings this year. Though this is an offense that averaged 35.0 points per game this year, tops in the league, the defense was suspect virtually every step of the way, and the unit gave up just a slew of fourth quarter points thanks to a secondary that ranked dead last in the game. There’s no doubt that the talent is here and that QB Aaron Rodgers has the ability to win a game with his receivers without any other help, but the threat of that possibility happening is what is causing some Packers backers a bit of doubt.
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers Trends: Earlier this year, the Giants came up just short in a 38-35 loss in the Meadowlands, but they were able to cover the spread. These two have met in the playoffs twice already in the last 10 years, and both road teams were able to not just cover spreads, but win outright as well. New York not only beat QB Brett Favre in his final game in a Packers uniform in 2008, but it went on to beat the 16-0 New England Patriots two weeks later in arguably the biggest upset in NFL history.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.