The final game of the 2017 NFL Wildcard round features the much-anticipated game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. The Packers had the upper hand in the regular season meeting back in week 5 by a score of 23-16. New York will be on the road in this one despite having a better record than the Packers. Green Bay will have that luxury via winning the NFC North division crown. The winner of this game will play the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional round. What are the keys to the game for each team in order to advance this postseason? For more on the rest of the playoff teams, click here!
11-5 New York Giants At 10-6 Green Bay Packers
Sunday, January 8th, 2017 4:40 ET: FOX
Spread > Giants +5.5 – Under/Over 44.5
WHY The New York Giants Will Win:
- The Tale Of Playoff Eli Exists:
Some guys thrive under the pressure of postseason play. In the case of Giants, quarterback Eli Manning, there is no better example of a guy capable of catching fire in the playoffs. The bad news is sometimes Eli completely forgets to show up in the playoffs. Manning is 8-3 in the playoffs as we are now in the midst of his 13th year. What’s more incredible is the Giants have missed the playoffs entirely in 10 of those years. Eli has either won the Super Bowl or lost in his first game of the playoffs. There is no quarterback who runs more hot and cold than this guy. The good news for the Giants is he seems to thrive when no one else believes in him. The Giants seem to play better as road underdogs compared to home favorites. Take a look at the playoff number for Eli.
In Playoff Wins: 63.1 completion percentage, 259.1 passing yards per game, 15-2 TD-INT Ratio, 100.1 passer rating
In Playoff Losses: 55.4 completion percentage, 147.7 passing yards per game, 2-6 TD-INT Ratio, 48.4 passer rating
Eli Manning can’t possibly go to Lambeau Field in 10-degree weather and win right? Trust me that’s exactly what Eli wants you to believe. By the way, Manning is 2-0 in a playoff game in Green Bay. Everyone seems to be forgetting that part for some reason. The Giants win when they aren’t supposed to. As 5.5 point underdogs, how is everyone not taking the Giants in this game?
2. This Giants Defense Is Terrifying:
In 2015 the Giants ranked 30th in defensive DVOA according to Pro Football Outsiders which measures analytical data. No team has ever had a bigger improvement over the course of 1 season as the Giants rank 2nd in the same category this year. Offseason acquisitions of Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, and Olivier Vernon have changed the fate of New York’s season this year. Jenkins had 2 interceptions against Green Bay earlier this year and may take Jordy Nelson out of the game. Combine that with the vast improvement of Landon Collins and impact of rookie corner Eli Apple and the Giants defense is as good as anyone’s. Take a peek at some of these stats below.
Giants defense since week 6: T 1st points per game (16), 1st 3rd down percentage (29%), passer rating 2nd (71.1), sacks 2nd (31), takeaways 3rd (22)
I can’t think of any scenario where the Packers put up a lot of points in this one. Factoring in the freezing cold weather conditions, you have to think the Giants have the upper hand in this one because Green Bay’s defense is putrid. This is the same Packer team that gave up 27 points to Matt Barkley and the Bears a few weeks ago.
3. The Giants Can Do Enough Offensively To Win:
I mentioned briefly that the Packers defense is pretty underwhelming but the Packers real concern is in the secondary. Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, and Quentin Rollins will miss the game against the Giants. In case you don’t know those 3 guys are the Packers top 3 cornerbacks. Odell Beckham and the rest of the receivers could end up having a field day. The Giants only average 19.4 points per game and have found ways to win because of that strong defense. They should be able to put up a similar point total in Green Bay playing a damaged Packers defense. The Giants should be able to run the ball as well. Green Bay gave up an average of 106 rushing yards per game compared to New York’s 88. Rookie Paul Perkins has really found his groove late in the season giving the Giants a formidable ground game. He’s averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
Read About The Giants Playoff X-Factor HERE!
WHY The Green Bay Packers Will Win:
- Aaron Rodgers Is Ready To Run The Table:
The Packers were 4-5 at one point during the season as quarterback Aaron Rodgers believed his team would run the table and win the division. They have done just that winning 6 straight playing their best football at the end of the year. Rodgers has 15 touchdowns and 1 interception last 6 games. His complement of receivers has also come on late in the year. Jordy Nelson is a good bet to win comeback player of the year. Tight end Jared Cook has given Rodgers a dependable option in the middle of the field. Ty Montgomery has given the Packers a semblance of a running game averaging over 6 yards a rush. Even unknown commodities like Geronimo Allison have caught fire down the stretch. This just seems like one of those years that Rodgers looks unstoppable. It might be because the media bashed him for the first 10 weeks of the season for no reason. Mr. Discount Double Check has also been fantastic in postseason play. He has 27 touchdowns, 8 picks and a passer rating of 98.2 during his playoff career. Keep in mind that Green Bay’s offensive line has fantastic this season as well grading as the top pass blocking unit in football.
2. The Packers Are A Dominant Team At Home:
As good as the Packers have been this year, they are two different teams home and away. Green Bay is 4-4 on the road and 6-2 at home. They are also more accustomed to the cold weather conditions that will ensue in this one. In a game that features 10-degree weather, you better be able to run the ball. That is the Giants weakness having only 1 game this season of 100-yard rushing performances. Green Bay has found their answer in Ty Montgomery who has been fantastic as a converted receiver. The Packers even have Christine Michael late in the year to utilize who actually led the Seahawks in rushing this year. We don’t really know what we will get out of the Giants backfield today. This is not the days of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs that’s for sure. Avoiding Snacks Harrison will be imperative for the Packers today as he leads the NFL in defensive run stops with 49.
3. Mike McCarthy Has The Coaching Edge:
Giants coach Ben McAdoo is the Packers former quarterback coach. Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy knows this guys tendency better than anyone. I can’t imagine the understudy getter better of the teacher in this one. Let’s face it the McAdoo offense hasn’t been great for New York this year. The Giants have scored less than 20 points in 5 straight games. In 9 games this year Eli hasn’t converted more than four 3rd downs. That’s embarrassing! The Giants have been carried by their defense this year and I’m not convinced McAdoo is even a good coach. Do you really trust that guy with his oversized playbook (sorry I meant Cheesecake Factory menu)? His offense is very predictable and probably target Odell Beckham far too often. New York is only 7-12 when Odell has 100+ receiving yards. When it comes to Mike McCarthy I know what I’m getting. Green Bay has made the playoffs every year since 2008 and McCarthy has a Super Bowl resume to go with his name. Do you really trust rookie head coach Ben McAdoo not to panic in crunch time?
Read About The Packers Playoff X-Factor HERE!
I can not wait for this game! The matchups across the board will be fun to watch. It will be interesting consider the Packers strength is their offense while the Giants defense is theirs and vice versa. Will Janoris Jenkins shut down Jordy Nelson? Can Paul Perkins reincarnate Ahmad Bradshaw’s persona? Wow is this game going to be fun! In terms of picking a winner, it’s hard not to like the Giants. They thrive in spots where no one thinks they are going to win. The tale of playoff Eli continues in this one. He is 7-0 in games as a playoff underdog. I’m not sure how you bet against that kind of magic. In a game of harsh weather conditions, I love the better defense here. Either way, this game will be close. Take the 5.5 points and the Giants
*If you agree or disagree make sure to let me know @treydaubert