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Friday, November 23, 2012
W2W4: Giants vs Packers

By Ohm Youngmisuk

The bye is over. Now comes a treacherous final six-game stretch that begins with the Green Bay Packers.

The Giants are eager to stop a two-game slide, but the Packers come in riding a five-game winning streak and are motivated to avenge last year’s playoff loss to the Giants. As Tom Coughlin said, "This is a huge game."

Here are five things to watch for on Sunday night:

Revive Eli: If the Giants are going to have any chance of beating Green Bay again, Eli Manning must throw multiple touchdowns.

He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his past three games -- the worst three-game stretch since the second, third and fourth starts of his rookie season -- and he only has one touchdown in his past 18 quarters. Coughlin said Manning looked sharp in practice earlier this week. He will need to be on top of his game to match Aaron Rodgers.

No Discount Double Check: The Giants have to slow Rodgers down. He has thrown 24 touchdowns with just four interceptions while completing 66.9 percent of his passes in his past seven games.

But he has been sacked 32 times so far this season. That means Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora can harass Rodgers. The Giants sacked Rodgers four times and forced a fumble while intercepting the Packers quarterback in their playoff victory last season. They’ll need a similar effort again.

Get Nicks and Cruz going: The Giants need the big passing play to come back. And they will need to get their two biggest weapons -- Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks -- going again.

The Giants have only two passing plays of 20 yards or longer in November. Nicks shut his body down during the bye week and says he feels as good as he has all season long. He killed the Packers twice last season, and the Giants desperately need him to open things up for Cruz and a third threat like Martellus Bennett.

Get offensive: The offensive line has to give Manning time to find his receivers. The Giants have surrendered six sacks in the past two games.

Also, the line has to get the rushing attack going early so that Manning can use play-action and keep Rodgers on the sideline.

Stop the slide: The Giants said they desperately needed the bye week to recharge physically and mentally.

They need to come out of the bye firing on all cylinders. If not, this two-game losing streak could become a serious slide. After Green Bay, the Giants have to face RG3 in his first "Monday Night Football" game in Washington, play Drew Brees and the Saints at home, travel to Atlanta and Baltimore, and then finish with Philadelphia.

“We’ve played crappy football over the last couple of weeks,” Tuck said. “We really would like to swing this momentum back in our favor. We’d really like to come out of this football game feeling very confident about where we are heading into the rest of this schedule. It’s just a great opponent, a great measuring stick for our football team, to see exactly where we are.”