NFC East: Giants-Packers Quick Take 2012

Quick Take: Giants at Packers

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
4:03
PM ET
Three things to know about next Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

1. So soon? The Giants and the Packers played each other Dec. 4 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It was one of the more entertaining games of this NFL season. The Giants tied the game at 35-35 with 58 seconds to go on a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks, but Aaron Rodgers marched the Packers right down the field and into range for a game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby. The Giants’ takeaway from that game is the knowledge that they can score with the Packers, which is no small thing. The key will be to get more pressure on Rodgers than they did last time, because that game also proved that Green Bay’s excellent receivers can burn the Giants’ secondary if given any time at all.

2. Rest vs. repetition. The Packers finished 15-1 to claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and earn a first-round bye. That means they will have had two full weeks off since their last game by the time Sunday’s game kicks off at 4:30 pm ET. Rodgers, who sat out the Week 17 victory over Detroit, will have had three full weeks off. The Giants, meanwhile, had to win their final two games just to get into the playoffs and have therefore effectively been playing under postseason pressure for three weeks in a row. Will the Packers be rusty? Will the Giants be worn out? It’s an age-old debate as to how much rest helps at this time of year. Historically, teams that get first-round byes perform very well in their first playoff games. But last year, the No. 1 seeds in both conferences lost their first postseason games -- Atlanta to the Packers and New England to the Jets.

3. Packing more punch? The Giants rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries in the December game -- one of their most successful rushing efforts of the season. But the Packers that day were without linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk. The Giants ranked 32nd in the league this year in rushing yards, but have been far more effective on the ground over their last six games. We’ll see if the return of those Green Bay linebackers makes it more difficult for the Giants to run the ball, or if they really did something in that Dec. 4 game that has been working since.

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