The Packers will visit the Meadowlands to take on the Giants and I will be attendance, as I always am when the Packers visit the Meadowlands, which seems like every year now. I will be paying close attention to the secondary to see what is going on there. I should be able to give a recap and my thoughts watching the team live on Monday. Anyways, lets get to the keys to beating the Giants Sunday.
1. Marshall Newhouse performing: Newhouse has been an abomination so far in two chances that he has had to play this year. Somehow, he has been even worse than he was last year, and his confidence may be completely shot. Newhouse will have to step up with Don Barclay not practicing all week and looking like a long shot to play. Newhouse got toasted by Jason Pierre-Paul last year against the Giants, but will have an easier matchup against Justin Tuck this time around. Tuck has been on a downward slope for a few years now, but he has had three straight games with six quarterback pressures, so he might have found an extra gear. Going from Barlcay to Newhouse with the Packers needing to run the ball well is a huge downgrade in the running game.
2. Creating Turnovers: Something has to give in this game in the turnover battle. Eli Manning has had a horrific year, as he has thrown 16 interceptions, even with a solid wide receiver core of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle. Meanwhile, the Packers have an embarrassing three interceptions in nine games this year. Manning's play has been baffling this year, even though he has always thrown a lot of picks he has never been this bad. Green Bay's lack of interceptions is also puzzling because even though the defense has rarely been great under Dom Capers they always made interceptions. Manning has been awful when under pressure this year, and that has been when he has made his worst decisions.Capers has been reluctant to blitz recently, but this should be the week to do it. Manning will surely give the Packers opportunities for interceptions, and they will have to catch them to win the game.
3. Control the Line of Scrimmage: I already touched on Newhouse, but controlling the line of scrimmage will be key to winning without Aaron Rodgers. Even when Rodgers was healthy that was a huge part of why the Packers were 5-2. The Giants have been an awful running team all season, but Andre Brown played for the first time last week and ran for 115 yards on 15 carries. He does not have the shiftiness that the Packers have seen with Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy over the last two weeks, but if they do not feel like tackling he can run through tackles. The interior line of the Giants is weak and they may have a tough time moving Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. The Giants defense has been great against the run, as they rank 7th in the NFL allowing 3.7 yards per attempt. Without Rodgers it will be a challenge for Eddie Lacy to find many holes on the ground.
4. Tolzien Getting Defenders Out of the Box: The Giants have a very solid run defense as I just stated. If they are able to keep extra men in the box to stop Lacy the Packers will have a tough time running the ball. Tolzien showed an ability to get the ball down field with an improved arm that he showed at Wisconsin. He tried a lot of the back shoulder throws that the Packers are accustomed to with Rodgers, while Seneca Wallace showed no ability to throw outside of the numbers. Tolzien also showed an innate ability to get the ball out quickly, although the Giants are not a big blitzing team. With a week of practice to feel even more comfortable hopefully Tolzien can build off his solid performance last week.
5. Having A Sense of Urgency: This is a huge game for the Packers and a winnable one. The Giants have gone on a three game winning streak to get back to 3-6, but in reality they have played no better than when they were 0-6. They were unable to blow out three teams whose quarterbacks were Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley and Terrelle Pryor. The Packers have two winnable games before Rodgers hopefully returns and they cans ave their season by winning them. However, if the defense feels no urgency to pick up the slack for the offense like it hasn't for the last two weeks then. Having two drives start from inside the opponents' five yard and let them have drives to essentially end the game in your own stadium is unacceptable and embarrassing.