Game Preview: New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, October 9, 2016
After an encouraging start, the New York Giants prospects for a successful season are beginning to fade a bit as injuries combined with odd scheduling have most pundits expecting the Giants to lose their third game in a row. Green Bay has had two weeks to prepare for this game while the Giants have had a short week. And the last quarterback you want to face with a depleted secondary is Aaron Rodgers.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- RB Rashad Jennings (thumb) – questionable
- TE Larry Donnell (concussion) – out
- RT Marshall Newhouse (calf) – out
- DE Olivier Vernon (wrist) – probable
- DT Robert Thomas (illness) – probable
- CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) – questionable
- CB Eli Apple (hamstring) – questionable
- FS Darian Thompson (foot) – out
- SS Nat Berhe (concussion) – out
NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The New York Giants are moving the football (6th in the NFL in yards), but they are not scoring enough (27th in the NFL). That in a nutshell is all you need to know. From my perspective, the overriding issue is that teams are defending against the deep passing game, daring the Giants to beat them with the running game and short passing game without making a killer mistake (penalty, dropped pass, turnover, sack, etc.). Red zone offense has also been a problem in some games.
With the Giants depleted secondary, Green Bay is going to score. You have to figure the Giants are going to need at least 30 points to win this game. The Giants have no fullback and are down to Will Tye (more pass receiver than blocker) and Jerell Adams (green rookie) at tight end. My method of attack would be to throw caution to the wind and come up with 3- and 4-WR sets and pass, pass, pass against what is the 29th-ranked pass defense that is also missing its best defensive back (CB Sam Shields). The Giants are not going to win this game with Orleans Darkwa gaining four yards per clip or Will Tye or Bobby Rainey catching seven yard passes. Spread the Packers out and go for big chunks of yardage down the field. Last week, the Giants longest pass completion to a wide receiver was 14 yards. That’s not going to get it done.
Moreover, the 3-4 defense of the Packers is very tough to run against (#1 in the NFL allowing less than 43 yards per game). Their most dangerous pass rush threats are their two outside linebackers – Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. So both Giants not-so-nifty tackles will be under pressure with a heavy pass-first offense. If Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart can do a reasonable job in pass protection, then this game will come down to Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz doing more than they have done to date. Eli Manning has four touchdown passes. He needs to double that total in this game. Be a star. Be a difference maker. Same with Odell Beckham, who has not scored yet this year. Get a 4th wideout (Tavarres King) on the field – spread the Packers unimpressive secondary thin. Attack. And stop turning the football over!
NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The Giants are in a terrible situation with two of their top three safeties out and two of their top three corners hurt facing QB Aaron Rodgers and wideouts Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. You saw what the 31st-ranked Minnesota Vikings offense did against CB Trevin Wade and S Andrew Adams. The Packers have got to be licking their chops. Worse, the Packers actually have a very good ground game with Eddie Lacey and James Starks. If the Giants give their undermanned secondary additional help, Coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers will simply call for a heavy dose of the ground game. Still, this is how the Giants will probably have to go. Force the Packers to drive the length of the field rather than give up the cheap big play deep and pray the Packers make a mistake. Rodgers is unlikely to do that, however, unless you get in his face.
Much depends on how effective Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is and how much he plays. DRC has an annoying habit of sitting on the sidelines when he doesn’t feel 100 percent. When Wade is on the field, Rodgers is going to go after him. Wouldn’t you? Nelson and Cobb are the recognizable household names, but the Packers have some good looking young receivers who can do damage too.
If the Giants are going to have any chance to win this game, the front seven has to elevate its game to a different level. The Giants have not gotten their money’s worth out of Jason Pierre-Paul (1 sack) and Olivier Vernon (1 sack). Inside, it was expected that Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins would be more disruptive. Owa Odighizuwa and Jay Bromley are doing nothing. The linebackers have to make big plays – force a fumble, intercept a pass, sack the quarterback. The group will have to stop the physical Lacy without an extra man in the box. And they MUST get to Rodgers without blitzing too much.
NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Each week, the Giants do something bad on special teams – allow big punt return, penalty that wipes out block, muffed punt, etc.. It’s a trademark of the Tom Quinn special teams. Let’s for once have a clean game while making plays that help the Giants win the game.
FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Ben McAdoo on the Packers offense: “They are very good. With Jordy (Nelson) back, they’re firing on all cylinders in the receiving room. They have a good group of young receivers there that are developing as well. Randall (Cobb) is always dangerous in the slot. They can bring him out of the backfield, too. You definitely don’t want to let (Eddie) Lacy and (James) Starks get rolling downhill. They are two big backs and a nice one-two punch.”
THE FINAL WORD:
This is just a bad spot for the Giants. Back-to-back road trips on a short week against a quality opponent who plays well at home and who has had two weeks to prepare. Combine that with Rodgers versus the depleted secondary and you have a recipe for disaster unless the Giants “stars” start playing like impact players.