Keys To Victory For Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
The New York Giants will look to win their first postseason game since Super Bowl XLVI and avenge their Week 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s wildcard matchup.
Both teams are better now than when they met in October, as they are two of the hottest teams in the league. The Packers are on a six-game winning streak, and the Giants have won nine out of their last 11 games.
This game has mostly been discussed as the Giants' superb defense going up against the Packers' offense. But there are other elements to the game that the Giants will need to execute in order to win.
Here are the Giants keys to victory against the Packers:
1. Establish the run
The Giants' struggles running the football this year have been well documented, as they finished 29th in rushing. However, over the last four weeks of the season, the running game has improved, as they have averaged 120 yards on the ground. Much of the Giants' recent success running the ball is due to rookie Paul Perkins. Perkins has 271 yards over the last four games, on just 62 carries.
The Packers have several injuries in their secondary, so their safeties will likely play deep to try to prevent the Giants from connecting on a big pass play. This should allow New York to have success running against the Packers' front seven. If the Giants are able to establish a consistent ground game, eventually Green Bay's safeties will move up closer to the line of scrimmage and open things up for the Giants' passing game.
2. Don’t turn the ball over
The Giants are 5-0 this season in games Eli Manning does not turn the ball over. His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, hasn’t thrown an interception in his last seven games, and the Packers are plus-eight in turnover differential. It’s imperative that the Giants and Eli Manning not turn the ball over on Sunday. If they can stay even or win the turnover battle, they have an excellent chance of winning.
3. Get Pressure on Aaron Rodgers
If you can’t get pressure on Aaron Rodgers, he will pick apart a secondary; even one as good as the Giants'. So New York will need to get to Rodgers with either its front four, or with the blitz. The Giants have the best secondary in the NFL with Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Landon Collins, Andrew Adams, and Eli Apple. Their ability to cover the Packers' dangerous receivers will allow the Giants to blitz and hurry Rodgers.
4. Protect Eli Manning
In order for Eli Manning to play like Playoff Eli Manning, the team's offensive line will have to keep him upright. NY's offensive tackles have struggled all season, and now they face a Packers team that was sixth in the NFL in sacks with 40. Look for the Giants to have their tight ends stay in and pass protect against the Packers' edge rushers.
5. Get the ball to Odell
Odell Beckham Jr. is the most dynamic player that will be on the field on Sunday. As we’ve seen throughout his three-year career, Beckham is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. With the Packers' banged-up secondary, they will double-team him and do all they can to not let Beckham beat them.
The Giants don’t need to force the ball to Beckham constantly, but they have to make sure he gets the ball in his hands at least 10 times. Look for the Giants to also have Beckham return punts. He’s returned two punts for touchdowns this season, but they were called back because of penalties.
Jason Leach is an analyst for Pro Football Spot for the New York Giants for @pfspot. Follow him on Twitter @JasonKLeach