The Packers torched every defense they faced in 2011 -- except Kansas City’s.
The Chiefs’ “Two-Man” coverage frustrated Green Bay’s offense, Aaron Rodgers completed just 17 of 35 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown -- well below the superstar quarterback’s season averages -- and Kansas City handed the Packers their first loss of the season, 19-14, in Week 15.
JerMichael Finley caught just three passes in the game, while Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Donald Driver were held to two apiece.
Just two weeks earlier, the Packers carved up the Giants’ defense, rolling up 449 total yards. Rodgers threw for 369 of those yards and four touchdowns, while Greg Jennings, Nelson, Finley and Drive all had huge games. The Packers won, 38-35.
Green Bay and New York will meet again on Sunday in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, and the Giants will have to do a better job of containing the Packers’ high-octane offense if they’re to do the unthinkable and pull of an upset. And that’s why it makes the most sense to replicate what the Chiefs did.
In the “Two-Man” coverage, the safeties stay high and support the cornerbacks, who are in press coverage and jamming the receivers. The nickel corners/backers are then responsible for covering the other skill-position players on the field i.e. tight ends, running backs and fullbacks.
“If you have a good front four that gets after guys, it allows you to get extra guys in coverage,” Giants safety Kenny Phillips said.
The Giants’ defensive line is considered one of the best in the NFL, featuring the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul (16.5 sacks), Osi Umenyiora (nine sacks, did not play against Packers in regular season), Justin Tuck (five sacks) and Chris Canty (four sacks). And they’re going to have to pressure Rodgers, because if he has time, he’ll pick you apart. Rodgers finished up the regular season tied for the second-best TD-INT differential in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Information (45-6).
In their previous meeting, Rodgers was sacked just twice and completed 21 of 25 passes outside the numbers, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
It’ll be up to the Giants’ defense to make adjustments in order to ensure that doesn’t happen again.