Free NFL Divisional Playoffs Picks: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers NFL Playoffs Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on CBS 1/15/12: In the 2007 NFC Championship Game, the New York Giants went into Lambeau Field and knocked off the Green Bay Packers on their way to upsetting the then-undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. This Sunday, New York will try to slay a giant once again when they return to Lambeau Field to face Green Bay, who finished the regular season with an NFL-best 15-1 record. Meanwhile, the Packers will look to beat the Giants for the second time this year as they try to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Despite the regular season meeting going down to the wire, the Packers are eight-point favorites in Sunday Divisional Round matchup.
The teams are mirror images of each other on offense. Both sides utilize pass-heavy systems powered by two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw for 45 touchdowns and led the league in quarterback rating, while New York’s Eli Manning finished just shy of 5,000 yards passing. In the first meeting between the two teams, both QBs threw for well over 300 yards. Rodgers had four touchdowns compared to three for Manning, but both players were able to shred the opposing secondary in a 38-35 shootout won by the Packers.
In terms of firepower, both Manning and Rodgers have plenty to work with. The Giants have a trio of excellent receivers in Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. The Packers counter with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Donald Driver. Green Bay also has tight end Jermichael Finley, who has speed that few players at his position can match. With all the talent they have to work with, it is easy to understand why Rodgers and Manning had such strong seasons. There could definitely be another high-scoring affair this weekend.
Although neither defense did much in the way of slowing anyone down in the regular season meeting, each unit does have its strengths. The Packers’ secondary gave up tons of yardage this season, but it was also opportunistic, record an NFL-high 31 interceptions. That total was eight more than the next closest team. Meanwhile, the Giants ranked third in the league with 48.0 sacks. Both defenses failed miserably in asserting themselves last time around, with Green Bay managing just one interception and New York getting just two sacks. More so than the Packers, the Giants have reason to be optimistic about turning things around in the rematch. New York’s defense line is finally healthy, and it looked the part in last weekend’s victory against the Atlanta Falcons. If Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the New York pass rushers can put some heat on Rodgers, there is a chance they could disrupt the Green Bay passing attack.
The X-factor in the game could be the Giants’ running game. New York actually ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards during the regular season, but Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for more than 150 yards on the ground last weekend. A rededication to the power running game could go a long way to helping the Giants pull the upset. Not only does a strong running help control the clock, it also opens up the play-action passing game for Manning and his speedy receivers. If the Giants can establish the run, Green Bay could have trouble adjusting.
In the first meeting, Manning and company tried to outscore the Packers. While the strategy almost worked, winning a shootout against the offense that led the NFL in scoring isn’t exactly a recipe for success. Fortunately for the Giants, they are healthier for Sunday’s meeting and are better equipped to pressure Rodgers on defense and to run the ball on offense. Points will still be scored, but New York should be able to control the tempo by pounding the ball. There is no reason this game shouldn’t come right down to the final minutes like the first meeting did, and the eight-point spread is simply too high.
Prediction: New York Giants (+7.5) Cover the Spread
Free NFL Football Picks and Predictions: NY giants +7.5
|NFL Playoff Football: New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
Time: 4:30 PM EST on FOX
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Green Bay -7.5 | Total: Over/Under 53
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