The Giants face an incredibly difficult first round match-up tomorrow against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field. Containing Rodgers may be the most difficult task yet for the praiseworthy Giants defense. The defense must bring their A-game if they want to have a chance to beat the Packers.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had yet another stellar season in 2016-17, throwing for 4,428 yards, including a league-leading 40 touchdowns, compared to just 7 interceptions. There are many ways in which Rodgers can beat opposing defenses. For him, every receiver is a prime target, though Jordy Nelson may be his favorite target. Rodgers can also beat an opposing teams’ defense with his legs, rushing this season for 369 yards, including 4 touchdowns. In order for the Giants to have a chance to win, the defense must shut down Aaron Rodgers, just like they did to Dak Prescott in week 12, when they held him to just 17 completions in 37 attempts, throwing for only 165 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
On the offensive side, Eli Manning needs to look like the old Eli Manning that won 2 Super Bowls for the Giants. He needs to take advantage of the fact that the Packers defense is banged up at the cornerback position. But he can’t just throw to Odell Beckham Jr. every play. Eli needs to keep the Packers defense off-balance by spreading the passing around, from Beckham to Sterling Shepard to Victor Cruz to Will Tye. Additionally, the Giants need runningback Paul Perkins to continue his strong play. The Giants offense needs to put together long drives downfield, eating as much time off the clock as possible, in order to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines as much as possible. This was the same strategy used by the Jets in the playoffs in 2011 when they beat Peyton Manning and the Colts. In that game, and especially in the second half, the Jets dominated with the time of possession, ending the game with a total possession time of 33:07 to the Colts’ 26:53.
The x-factor for the Packers, like the Giants, is their runningback, Ty Montgomery. Just as Perkins has emerged late in the season for the Giants as a capable runningback, so too has Montgomery for the Packers, adding yet another threat to an already stacked and dangerous offense. The Giants must contain Montgomery while also containing the Packers receivers and, of course, putting pressure on Rodgers.
The Giants defense, led by the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Landon Collins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon, faces one of their most difficult tasks yet tomorrow, when they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense. It will be an interesting match-up between one of the best defenses in the NFL and one of the best offenses in the NFL. This could very well end up being one of the most interesting match-ups of the week.