GIANTS MIGHT BE TOO HOT TO STOPBy Ohm Youngmisuk
Green Bay scored 45 and 38 points and won both games.
But when Rodgers faces the Giants again on Sunday in Green Bay, he will be playing against a different defense and a rejuvenated, extremely confident Giants team.
The Giants have won three straight and are capable of making it four in a row. The last time they faced Green Bay, on Dec. 4, the Giants lost 38-35 but gained valuable confidence and learned they could play with the Packers, even when they weren't at their best or at full strength.
Perry Fewell's defense was still a unit prone to suffering mental lapses and communication breakdowns. The secondary couldn't cover anyone. But the Giants' defense has since cleaned things up, having allowed a total of 30 points in their past three wins.
And unlike in that December loss to Green Bay, the Giants are healthy leading up to the game. Linebacker Michael Boley played limited snaps in that loss, his first game back from a hamstring injury. And the Giants will have Osi Umenyiora, who did not play against Green Bay, to help a healthier Justin Tuck and All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul put on a full assault on Rodgers' offensive line.
Eli Manning, playing the best football of his career, threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers last time. And the Giants' running game has come to life with 172 yards rushing against Atlanta last week.
The 15-1 Packers aren't invincible, as Kansas City's 19-14 win last month shows. And they can be beaten at Lambeau in the playoffs. The Giants won the NFC Championship Game there in January 2008 and they are capable of stunning the Packers again.
MVP + LAMBEAU = PACKERS WINBy John Clayton
Rodgers still has the edge over Manning, and this game will be played at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have a distinct advantage. The first meeting this season -- a 38-35 Green Bay victory -- was a classic. Manning proved his offense could compete against the Packers and Rodgers.
But Rodgers was able to pull off the victory in the final minute. The game featured six lead changes, five in the first half.
The Packers have had an extra week to get healthier, which is important. Rodgers also has had a chance to clear his mind and get ready for the challenge of the postseason. He'll get Greg Jennings back to fill out his receiving corps. The offensive line should be healthier and deeper after the break.
Both defenses are challenged. The Giants ranked 27th and the Packers gave up a league-worst 411.6 yards per game.
Rodgers understands that so much of the Packers' fortunes depend on him. To go to the Super Bowl, Rodgers knew he might have to win games with his arm and try to beat Drew Brees, Manning and others. Last year, Rodgers won his battles on the road. This year, he has home-field advantage.
He's also proven he can beat the Giants' defense. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns in the first meeting against the Giants. Manning has had an MVP-like season, but Rodgers was the MVP of the league in many people's eyes. Advantage Packers.