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Green Bay Packers at New York Giants: Preview and Pick
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants: Preview and Pick
The New York Giants started the season with a 0-6 record as they had problems on both sides of the ball. Now after a bye week and a win against the Oakland Raiders, the Giants have now ripped off three wins in a row and still have a shot in the horrible NFC East. The Green Bay Packers are trying to recover after losing their best player to injury as Aaron Rodgers is attempting to recover from a broken collarbone.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants Odds
The opening NFL point spread for this game will most likely favor the Giants at home. The Giants may not be the better team, but at home with Eli Manning and a three game winning streak will be enough to make them a favorite. The Packers have not announced plans to sign another quarterback so until they can win without Rodgers they will always be the underdog especially on the road. Keep a look out for the latest point spread at the top rated online sportsbooks.
The Giants got a boost in the lineup with the return of running back Andre brown. Andre Brown rushed for 115 yards Sunday, something the Giants had only done once as a team entering the week. How was Brown so effective? - Brown gained 52 of his rushing yards after initial contact. The Giants hadn't combined for more than 44 rush yards after contact in a game entering the week. - Brown was 5 of 6 converting first downs when the Giants needed 3 yards or less. The Giants were 19th in the NFL converting such rushes entering the week (59 percent). - 5 of Brown's 8 first downs came when we he was contacted prior to the first down marker. This could be just what the Giants needed.
The latest football betting trends for this game reveal several interesting trends that could play a role in this game. The total has gone under in 5 of Green Bay's last 6 games but the total has gone over in 5 of Green Bay's last 6 games on the road. The total has gone over in 4 of Green Bay's last 5 games when playing on the road against NY Giants and Green Bay is 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last 5 games when playing NY Giants. Green Bay is 15-7 straight up in its last 22 games and 16-8 straight up in its last 24 games on the road, but just 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants Pick
With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
Scott Tolzien didn't break any Illinois prep football records, but he did have a hand in one play that came close: a 107-yard interception return for a touchdown by Barrington High School's Tony DiMonte that remains the second longest in state history.
Tolzien, who will make his first NFL start Sunday for the Green Bay Packers, still gets razzed over that play when he returns to William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill. – not to mention the game three weeks earlier against Rolling Meadows in which he was intercepted seven times.
"Second game of his varsity career, the offensive coordinator wanted him to learn and he said, 'You're calling all your own plays. You're on your own,' " Fremd head coach Lou Sponsel, an offensive assistant while Tolzien played there.
"He didn't care about the outcome. He was like, 'This kid's going to be a good one, but he's got to learn.' He threw him in the fire."
It happened to Tolzien again in Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, six days after Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone that forced the Packers to start veteran backup Seneca Wallace and promote Tolzien from the practice squad.
Wallace injured his groin on the opening series against the Eagles and in came Tolzien, 26, a third-stringer the past two seasons in San Francisco who was asked Sunday to execute plays he hadn't even practiced while running the Packers' scout team the past couple months.
He finished 24-of-39 passing for 280 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, moving the offense well enough in spite of a couple costly mistakes for coach Mike McCarthy to immediately name him the starter for this week's vital road game against the New York Giants.
The New York Giants are talking a different game now that they are back in the NFC East playoff hunt.
When the Giants (3-6) started the season with an horrendous 0-6 record, safety Antrel Rolle wasn’t afraid to say Tom Coughlin’s team had the talent to run the table and make the playoffs. It was a far-fetched idea, but it made headlines.
Now that the Giants have moved within 1 1/2 games of Dallas and Philadelphia in the division, the bravado has stopped.
Everything is one game at a time. There is no big picture or thoughts of the playoffs.
“With winning comes more confidence,” Rolle said Monday, a day after the Giants stretched their winning streak to three with a 24-20 decision over the Oakland Raiders. “I think that’s a no-brainer. But, like I said, we’re just going out there competing as Giants. This team has shown a lot of resiliency. We’ve overcome adversity. We’ve been the lowest of the lows and we are just trying to make sure we climb up out of it.”
Coughlin said this team is serious, and that’s what the players were Monday.
“They’re well aware, as I told them yesterday, the reason for the outcome was because we believed,” Coughlin said. “We kept on believing, and that’s a process.”
The Giants also have been a little lucky. They beat Minnesota in Josh Freeman’s first game as Vikings starter and knocked off Philadelphia and Oakland when quarterbacks Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor were not 100 percent.
This week, the Green Bay Packers are hurting at quarterback. Aaron Rodgers missed Sunday’s loss to the Eagles (5-5) with a shoulder injury and his backup, Seneca Wallace, left the game with a groin injury. Third-stringer Scott Tolzien finished and was 24 for 39 for 280 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
It’s another potential break for the Giants, who will face the Cowboys (5-5) in two weeks. Dallas saw linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) go down with an injury on Sunday night.
“I wouldn’t say necessarily we’re back in it,” Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “We’re taking steps. We’ve gotten some positives here. We’re building. We have some wins and we’re able to build off a little momentum we have going for ourselves now. It’s still a long way to go to the point where we’re right back or to say we are tied for the lead. We can’t get too anxious now because we are closer.”
Veteran placekicker Josh Brown said it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about the Giants, whose 0-6 start was their worst since a franchise-record 0-9 beginning to the 1976 season.
“Right now we’re just looking in the mirror,” Brown said. “Let everyone else worry about us. We’re going to worry about us. That’s all you can do. If you steer too far in front, you lose focus of what is right in front of you and veer off the path.”
The Giants can’t afford to do that. What the Giants do need to do is improve.
The defense is carrying the team right now. The unit has given up one touchdown in the past three games, and that followed a fumble on the opening kickoff Sunday that gave the Raiders the ball at the 5-yard line. While special teams blocked a punt for a touchdown in the 24-20 win over the Raiders, it also committed the fumble that gave Oakland the early score. That’s roughly three weeks in a row special teams has allowed a touchdown.
Eli Manning and the offense were supposed to carry New York this season. They haven’t: the 165 points are third lowest in the league.
Tight end Bear Pascoe said the positive is that the team has never stopped working. “We’re not out of it yet, and we’re not planning on it,” he said.
Coach Tom Coughlin spoke with reporters to discuss Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.
"If you study, you’re going to find a lot of big plays come off of play action. We’ve done that as well. This year, it hasn’t happened to the degree we would like it to and it is something that is noticeably missing and we’d certainly like to improve on that," Coughlin said. "I like winning, whatever we have to do to win. We’ve always been a throw-the-ball-down-the-field team. We’ve gotten in terms of numbers a little bit away from that, although we had our spots picked pretty well the other day and it didn’t work out. We’ll continue to do that."
On the Raiders’ only sustained drive on Sunday — the only drive longer than seven plays or 31 yards — they reached the 1-yard line midway through the third quarter with the chance to open a 10-point lead. The Giants’ defense was on its heels. A Raiders touchdown seemed likely. “Likely to happen for who?” said Giants safety Antrel Rolle. “That’s not our mentality.”
Not anymore, at least, and that might just be the biggest change during the Giants’ resurgence. The defense was OK during the 0-6 start. It kept the Giants in most games while the offense struggled, but it could only hang on so long and couldn’t make the big play when it was really needed. For the last three weeks, the defense had plenty of big plays in big moments — including that goal-line stand that kept the Giants’ hopes for a third straight win alive.
Maybe some credit goes to the struggling opponents and a string of unbelievable luck that saw the Giants face three straight quarterbacks who probably shouldn’t have been playing at all. Maybe it’s fortunate the Giants got Josh Freeman in his first game with the Vikings, followed by a gimpy Mike Vick and a banged-up Terrelle Pryor.
But that wouldn’t be fair to a Giant defense that has been dominant since halftime of Big Blue’s last loss, in Chicago on Oct. 10. The Giants have allowed just one touchdown in the 14 quarters since — and that one came at the end of a five-yard drive after Jerrel Jernigan fumbled the opening kickoff on Sunday. The Vikings (206), Eagles (200) and Raiders (213) have totaled 619 yards against the Giants.
No wonder the defense’s confidence is soaring. “We’re not just going into games trying to keep teams from scoring that much,” said DT Cullen Jenkins. “Our mind-set going into games is trying to shut teams out, not letting them score, period.”
There seem to be plenty of reasons for the miracle, which has included eight sacks in the last two games after just six sacks in the first seven. GM Jerry Reese’s heist of a trade with Carolina for middle linebacker Jon Beason is one. The players’ decision to confront defensive coordinator Perry Fewell after the loss in Chicago and insist on changes to the scheme was certainly another. Or maybe, as Jenkins said, “Confidence is the key.”
The injury-plagued Green Bay Packers will give Scott Tolzien his first career start Sunday, while the status of two of his offensive linemen is unclear.
Although the New York Giants have won three straight, they are hardly licking their chops at the prospects of facing a third-string quarterback.
These teams have different issues heading into this matchup in New Jersey in which running the football could prove decisive.
Tolzien was pressed into action in last Sunday's 27-13 loss to Philadelphia after veteran backup Seneca Wallace suffered a groin injury on the opening series. Wallace started for an injured Aaron Rodgers, out with a fractured left collarbone.
An undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin, Tolzien completed 24 of 39 passes for one touchdown and two interceptions and was named the starter for this game by coach Mike McCarthy.
"I saw a young man get better during the course of the game running plays he hasn't played yet and doing things that I thought was exceptional for a young quarterback," McCarthy said. "So I was very pleased with his performance."
Green Bay (5-4) fell one game behind first-place Detroit in the NFC North. Tolzien is confident as he tries to help the Packers avoid their first three-game slide since a five-game skid Nov. 24-Dec. 22, 2008.
"I think if you don't have your confidence, it's very tough to have success," Tolzien said. "That's where internally it begins to have that confidence."
New York (3-6) has what appears to be a favorable matchup after facing unsettled quarterback situations during its win streak. The Giants took on Josh Freeman making his Minnesota debut in a 23-7 victory Oct. 21, knocked out Michael Vick and were up against rookie Matt Barkley for most of a 15-7 win over the Eagles the next week and came out of their bye and took advantage of a hobbled Terrelle Pryor in last Sunday's 24-20 victory over Oakland.
That doesn't mean Tolzien doesn't have New York's respect.
"We're 3-6," safety Antrel Rolle said. "We're in no way, shape or form going to underestimate anyone. We know exactly who we have ahead of us."
It's not clear what the Packers' offensive line will look like after center Evan Dietrich-Smith and right tackle Don Barclay exited last week's game with knee injuries. McCarthy didn't want to reveal their statuses.
"Obviously, (the) New York Giants, the defensive line factors into this, into how you prepare for them," McCarthy said. "So that's all part of the guessing game, part of the chess match."
The Packers could get a break if Jason Pierre-Paul is unavailable for the Giants. The defensive end missed practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury suffered against the Raiders.
Green Bay may want to focus more on a rushing attack that is sixth in the league with 143.1 yards per game. Rookie Eddie Lacy is eighth in the NFL with 669 yards on the ground.
The Giants have also made a conscious effort to run the ball more by topping 30 carries in every game of this win streak. They were boosted by Andre Brown's 115 yards with a score last Sunday in his season debut after being out with a broken leg.
Brown has scored a touchdown in six straight games.
"Don't look back," he said. "If I looked back at all the injuries I had, I probably wouldn't be here right now. Just move forward and keep working."
The emphasis on the run could be because Eli Manning has a passer rating of 68.5 for his worst mark since his rookie season. Manning has 11 touchdown passes and a league-high 16 interceptions.
"It hasn't happened to the degree we want it to at this point in time, but we're going to need this aspect of our offensive team as we go forward," said coach Tom Coughlin about the Giants' passing attack.
It is not all Manning's fault since the Giants own the league's fourth-worst rushing attack at 76.9 yards per game and are the only team that has not had a running play gain at least 20 yards. New York has a league-low seven 10-play drives, and 9.8 percent of its catchable balls have been dropped for the NFL's fifth-worst mark.
Manning has thrown for 926 yards and nine touchdowns with a 109.1 rating in his last three meetings with the Packers, including a 37-20 victory in a divisional playoff game two seasons ago and a 38-10 home rout last Nov. 25.
Besides the possibility of playing behind a banged-up offensive line, Tolzien will be part of a unit that is already missing wide receiver Randall Cobb (broken leg) and tight end Jermichael Finley (bruised spinal cord).
"They still got Jordy (Nelson) out there, they still got (Andrew) Quarless, I believe James Jones is back and they've got a lot of weapons with the running game with Eddie Lacy," Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. "They're still a good team and we can't lose sight of that."
Jenkins will play for the first time against the franchise he spent his first seven years with before leaving as a free agent after the 2010 Super Bowl-winning season to join Philadelphia.
The Green Bay Packers aren't used to losing two in a row. Dropping three straight is even less likely unless Aaron Rodgers isn't playing quarterback.
The Rodgers-less Packers hope to stop their current two-game slide when they visit the resurgent New York Giants Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
Green Bay lost two straight twice back in 2010 and hasn't suffered three consecutive defeats since a five-game slide from Nov. 24 - Dec. 22, 2008. The losing ways continued in last Sunday's 27-13 decision to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field, as the defense gave up 415 yards of offense, including 204 rushing.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had another strong start and completed 12-of-18 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Packers couldn't stop running back LeSean McCoy and he ran for 155 yards on 25 carries, playing a big role in Philadelphia's late drive in the fourth quarter.
"We're obviously not playing our best football," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said when asked what's going on late in games. "We've looked at it. We've looked at every play call and things like that, but at the end of the day, the focus and discipline required to perform is where we need to make an improvement. It's nothing earth-shattering as far as what needs to be done. It's the fundamentals, it's the little things, and as a football team, we've been talking about it too long."
The two-game losing streak comes on the heels of four straight wins for the Packers and now they'll try to extend their road winning streak to three games against the Giants. The Packers (5-4) are still alive in the NFC North Division and sit tied with Chicago (5-4) at a game behind Detroit (6-3).
The biggest storyline coming out of Packers camp this week is the quarterback situation. Rodgers is still sidelined with a broken clavicle, so it was up to Seneca Wallace to move the chains versus the Eagles. Wallace, though, exited the game on the first series with a groin injury and Scott Tolzien took over, passing for 280 yards and completing 24-of-39 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Tolzien set franchise records for completions and passing yards by a quarterback in his first game with the Packers.
"I thought Scott Tolzien played as well as to be expected, he made just the one throw down in the end zone where he probably wants that throw back and I'll tell you right now Scott Tolzien will start against the New York Giants," McCarthy said this week.
The Packers clouded the situation a bit more by bringing back Matt Flynn. Wallace was placed on injured reserve and Flynn is now back for a second tour of duty in the Land of Cheese. Flynn, in his sixth year in the league, was drafted by the Packers in 2008 and spent his first four seasons with them (2008-2011). He threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in his second start for the Packers in 2011.
Flynn has played for the Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills since leaving Green Bay.
The Giants (3-6) suddenly have life in a less-than-stellar NFC East and have ripped off three straight wins since an 0-6 start. They are right behind Dallas (5-5) and Philadelphia (5-5) in the division and posted a 24-20 victory Sunday at home versus the Oakland Raiders.
New York erased a 17-14 halftime deficit and ran Andre Brown into the ground 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown. It was Brown's first game of the season and he was activated off injured reserve before the game. Brown was the Giants' sixth starting running back of the season.
"Andre played great," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said Sunday. "He ran hard and also hit some big runs, got some 10-yard, 11-yard runs, which was nice. And obviously that last possession we knew we were going to need two first downs to run out that clock and that's exactly what he was able to do. Get huge first downs, not give the ball back to Oakland and run out the clock so that was a great job by that offensive line and Andre, he did help us out."
Brown said he felt sore afterward, but added it wouldn't play a role in this week's game with Green Bay. The Packers have had issues stopping the run lately and Brown could be in for another heavy workload. McCarthy talked briefly about the defenses struggles against the run.
"I don't think it's as simple as that," McCarthy said. "We've had some change in personnel, and the tackling the last two weeks is clearly not where it needs to be."
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews returned from a thumb injury versus the Eagles and played with a club on his hand. That could play a role again this week against a Giants team that will try to establish the run once again to take pressure off of Manning. Manning had a season low 12 completions and threw for 140 yards with a TD and an interception. He only has just two TD passes and a pick during the recent win streak.
Manning talked about what he saw from Green Bay on tape.
"They're a good defense. They show a lot of different looks. They've got a lot of guys with sacks. They bring pressure from every player. Everybody has a chance to get to the quarterback," Manning said. "Obviously, (Clay) Matthews is back playing now. He missed the last few games, so he's a guy you have to watch and be careful about. They've got good corners, so they have a talented defense. They show a lot of different looks and we've got to prepare for a lot of things."
Manning has made 144 starts in a row, the longest active streak by a QB.
The Giants' remaining schedule is a daunting one with Green Bay, Dallas, Washington twice, San Diego, Seattle and Detroit on the docket. All of those teams have a shot at making a postseason run.
New York defeated Green Bay the last time the two teams met in a 38-10 romp at MetLife Stadium. Manning has thrown for 926 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in the past three games in this series, including the playoffs. Green Bay holds a 31-25-2 edge in the all-time series, which includes a 4-3 postseason record
Both the Giants and Packers are allowing more than 100 yards rushing a game, so look for Brown and Packers running back Eddie Lacy to have strong days.
Brown, of course, was back in action for the first time last week and adds another dimension to New York's improving offense. It's been a while since the Giants have had some consistency running the ball and hope Brown is the answer.
Lacy was "held" to 73 yards on 24 carries because the Eagles knew if they we're going to lose, Tolzien would have to beat them. So Philly loaded the box and took Lacy out of the game. Lacy leads the NFL with 618 rushing yards since Oct. 1 and the rookie out of Alabama has at least 70 yards rushing in the last six games.
"The balance is the key in what they've done," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's an exceptional power runner. They do a nice job with their big offensive line. If you look across the board, you're going to find 320- pounders. Lacy is a powerful runner and you're going to have to get a number of people to the ball in order to contain or control what he can do. You watch him break tackles on tape."
Coughlin is hoping his star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to play Sunday after injuring his shoulder versus the Raiders. Pierre-Paul is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has never missed a game in his career. He is unsure of his status for Sunday and Coughlin said he is "still sore."
"I'm just going day-by-day," Pierre-Paul said. "Once it stops hurting me, I'll play. As of right now, I'm taking it day-by-day."
Pierre-Paul had one of four sacks last week and has just two this season. Giants cornerbacks Terrell Thomas (knee) and Corey Webster (groin/ankle) are also dealing with injuries.