Key Divisional Round Matchups

The sweet 16 is down to the elite 8, and the Green Bay Packers have drawn the New York Giants as their first opponent in the 2011-2012 NFL Playoffs. The Packers played the Giants in week 13, coming out of New York with a gritty 38-35 win showing the NFL nation again, that our defense cannot contain a balanced offense and that our offense will simply have to outscore their opponent. Eli Manning threw for 347 yards and 3 TDs, 1 INT. As a group, the Giants rushed for a modest 100 yards but Ahmad Bradshaw was in his first game back from a broken bone in his leg, and looks much more agile as of late. The Giants matchup well with the Packers, possessing a good two back combo, three good to great WRs, and a Super Bowl winning QB. The Giants pass rush has been feared for years and they are getting stronger as the postseason continues. The Packers will be favored, by probably 3 or 4 points, but there are some key matchups the Packers will have to exploit to advance to the NFC Championship. Here are a few I have found….

1. Our beat-up Tackles vs. Tuck, Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora – Like I mentioned, the Giants have one heck of a pass rush, led by these three ends. Umenyiora did not play in the week 13 matchup, but these three are no joke. This list does not include Kiwanuka and Canty, who can rush the QB as well. The Packers will be reluctantly welcoming back Chad Clifton who tore his hamstring against the Falcons in week 5, and Bulaga is coming back from a knee sprain that has held him out the past three weeks. These guys might as well be trying to corral deer because these DEs are quick. There will be no warmup game to get back into playing shape, they will thrown directly into the fire. Rodgers having time to pick apart the Giants’ weak secondary will be key in this game.

2. Our underwhelming CBs vs. Nicks, Cruz and Manningham – Nicks and Cruz are both over 1000 yards for the season, with Cruz breaking the all-time Giants record for receiving this year. Last season, I would have said the matchup was in our favor, with Williams taking Cruz, Woodson handling Nicks, and Shields blanketing Manningham, but 2011 has been a different story. This 2011 defense is dead last in the NFL in yardage, but first in takeaways. So like all season, I am sure ELi will hook up with these three, along with rising TEs Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, for about 400 yards, but we just have to capitalize on missed throws and tipped passes. Our pass rush is non-existent but one of the few quick pressures we got in week 13 led to the pick-6 by Clay Matthews Jr. III. These three will get their stats, but a timely drop and a famous Woodson slap-strip could turn the game quickly.

3. Jermichael Finley vs. weak Giants secondary – Jermichael Finley had one of his more up and down games of his young career in the week 13 Giants game, finishing with six catches for 87 yards and a TD. Nice stat line right? Well, throw the 3+ drops in and just think of what could have been. One drop was about 30 yards over the shoulder, and the other two were on 3rd down for first downs. He has all the tools to dominate these slower LBs and suspect safeties, but catching the ball has to be priority one. I am expecting big things from Finley, like 2009 Cardinal’s playoff game big, but time will tell how he plays under the spotlight, since he missed it last season.

4. Packers’ interior D-line vs. Giants interior O-line – The Giants finished last in the league in rushing yards per game, but exploded for 172 yards vs. the Falcons last weekend, and are gaining momentum with every positive gain. The Packers have been gashed as of recent by some average rushing teams, in the Bears and Chiefs. BJ Raji and Ryan Pickett need to take off the roller skates and man up. The Falcons actually have a pretty good run defense so the Giants success kind of shocked me. Once Brandon Jacobs gets going, he gets all hyped up, starts talking trash, and shows his true colors, so preventing that and keeping him quiet will go a long way!

5. Packers’ coaching vs. Giants’ coaching – The Falcons’ head coach made quiet a few horrible calls last Sunday going for it on 4th and 1, turning down points to prove a point. Well, they all backfired when the Giants stuffed them easily every time. The Giants do not have to blitz that much due to their great pass rush, but will bring their slot corners occasionally. The Packers have some very unfortunate news coming out as I am writing this about the Offensive Coordinator Philbin’s son missing and a body being found so in light of this, my prayers are with him and his family. The Packers still have a game to play this weekend and with McCarthy calling the plays, hopefully Philbin will be allowed time off to be with his loved ones. I cannot even comment on Dom Capers because if there was any fixing this leaky defense, it should have been done by now so good luck guys.

I think the game will be very close, with the Giants actually getting out to about a 10 point lead early, but a timely turnover by the Packers defense and a gritty second half by Rodgers and co. pulling out the win with the exact same score, 38-35. Then, bring on those Cajun fools from New Orleans!


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3 Responses to “Key Divisional Round Matchups”

  1. GBDude says:

    Seriously Dude, Get the cheesehead off. I am pretty sure you sleep in your green & gold boxers everynight. You have the knack of picking out one good play during a certain game during the season and then expecting ALL of them to happen in this playoff game. The true colors will show this weekend.

  2. You are right, the whole 15-1 thing was a fluke, maybe they should just forfeit to save for the embarassment. I do not know what good play you are referring to but you are right, I hope they ALL happen in this playoff game. 38-35. Enjoy the gameand stop going through my underwear drawer.

  3. […] Packers Gab looks at some upcoming Key Divisional Round Matchups. […]

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