The New York Giants head into their wild card matchup against the Green Bay Packers a confident team. They’ve won nine of the last 11 games and their defense gave up the fewest touchdowns in the NFL.New York Giants fans are also confident because they know the last two times they’ve played the Packers at Lambeau Field in the playoffs (2007, 2011) they’ve gone on to win the Super Bowl
The Packers won the Week 5 matchup 23-16, but that was after the Packers had a BYE week, and the Giants were playing on a short week after falling to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. There are several reasons why this time the Giants will be victorious.
Here are five reasons why the Giants will beat the Packers.
1. The Giants secondary
Over the last two months, no defense has played as well as the Giants. Their secondary is, without question, the best in football and is led by Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and perhaps the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in Landon Collins.
This dominant group, which has recently been named NYPD (New York Pass Defense), is more than capable of cooling off the Packers biggest strength in Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. The duo of Nelson and Adams led the NFL in touchdown receptions with 26, but Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple will make it difficult for them to find the endzone on Sunday.
Over the last four games, the Giants have only allowed two receiving touchdowns by wide receivers.
The Giants secondary finding success in defending the Packers receivers man-on-man is a huge advantage for the Giants because it will allow them to blitz Rodgers more often than other teams are usually afforded.
2. Playoff Eli
Some players take their game to another level during the playoffs. Eli Manning is one of those players as his 8-3 playoff record indicates.
In his eight playoff wins, Manning has 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions. This season, just as was the case in 2007, Manning had an up and down regular season. But based on his track record we have every reason to believe that he will once again take is game to the next level in the postseason.
If we see Playoff Eli on Sunday, there’s no way the Giants lose.
3. Giants are healthier than Packers
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will miss his fifth straight following sports hernia surgery. Aside from JPP, the Giants are relatively healthy. The same cannot be said for the Packers. The Packers have 14 players listed on their injury report, and running back Eddie Lacy who rushed for 81 in the Week 5 matchup was put on injured reserve months ago.
Many of the Packers injured players will play on Sunday, but they won’t be as effective and some may not be able to play the entire game.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) January 7, 2017
4. Paul Perkins
The Giants struggles running the football have been well documented as they finished the season a robust 29th at 88.3 yards per game. But the Giants have been much better rushing the ball as of late, averaging 120 yards over their last four games and Paul Perkins is a big reason why.
Prior to the Giants Week 14 meeting with the Dallas Cowboys, Perkins had just 185 yards on 50 carries for the season. Since then, he has rushed for 271 yards on 62 carries.
Perkins provides the Giants offense a much more balanced attack which will be difficult for the Packers 22nd ranked defense to deal with.
5. They’re accustomed to playing in close games.
The Giants made a habit of playing in close games all season. They’re 9-3 in games decided by seven points or less. The Packers are 5-3 in games decided by seven points or less.
In a game that’s expected to be close, the Giants familiarity in winning tight games could be the deciding factor.