Quarterback Scott Tolzien will make his first career start for the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Clay Matthews is set to lose the club on his right hand.
The Packers will need all the help they can get to avoid coming out flat when they travel to MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants.
If Green Bay can’t limit the damage with Aaron Rodgers out, this will be the team’s only trip to MetLife this season (the site of this year’s Super Bowl).
New York Giants (3-6) Analysis: After losing their first six games of the year, the Giants have reeled off three straight wins versus teams with a combined record of 10-18 (Vikings, Eagles and Raiders). The G-Men haven’t done it easily either with two of the three victories coming by single-digits.
At first glance, you would think the Giants have no chance in the backfield with their 29th ranked rush offense (76.9 ypg) against the Packers’ 13th ranked rush defense (106.7 ypg). But with Andre Brown running for 115 yards on 30 carries in his season debut, anything is possible. Brown takes over a position that’s seen eight different players take carries at some point this season. With the threat of Brown, Eli Manning will have a lot more room to work with when trying to find his trio of talented receivers in Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle.
It doesn’t look good for the Giants’ defense because linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is not very optimistic about making the start this weekend. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury he sustained in the win over the Raiders. The problem is that the Giants rank 30th in the NFL in sacks and JPP is by far their best pass rusher. Not a good sign for a team that gives up 27.0 points per game (26th in the NFL).
Green Bay Packers (5-4) Analysis: The Packers first full game without Rodgers was not a good one as they fell to the Eagles by the score of 27-13. They will need to beat the Giants to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the 2008 season.
Tolzien made his pro debut by breaking franchise records for completions (24) and passing yards (280) by a quarterback in his first game with the Packers. Much to his and Green Bay’s chagrin though, he also threw two interceptions. If Tolzien can put just a little pressure on New York’s secondary, it will allow Eddie Lacy to take advantage of running lanes. With the box stacked against him last week, he accumulated 61 of his 73 yards after contact and forced six missed tackles (per Pro Football Focus).
For the Packers defense to succeed, they will need someone to help Mike Daniels who seems to be the only player with any pass-rushing ability. First-round pick Datone Jones hasn’t come anywhere close to living up to the hype and Matthews was terrible with the club on his hand. Nothing good can be said about the Packers secondary who has underwhelmed for most of the year and ranks in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed per game.
Brutally Honest Prediction: Giants 30 Packers 24
With the two defenses playing as bad as they have this year, there’s no reason this game shouldn’t see the over. Additionally, there wasn’t much to like about the Packers last week when they were outplayed by the Eagles. The Giants haven’t looked particularly well on their little streak, but they will have the edge in this game at home. Manning and the talented receivers should be too much for Green Bay’s struggling secondary.
TV Coverage: 3:25 PM CT FOX; Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Tony Siragusa (sideline)
Betting Lines: New York favored by 5 points and over/under at 42.5 points
2013 Record straight up: 6-3
2013 Record against the spread: 5-4
2013 Record in over/under: 5-4
Week 10 Pick Redux: Predicted GB 27 PHI 24 (actually PHI 27 GB 13); Missed straight up, the spread (-1), and over/under (47). All bets are off with the Rodgers-less Packers.
Do you think the Packers have a chance against the Giants or is this a bad match-up for them? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys sharing Fantasy Advice and pretends to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Pictures obtained from businessinsider.com and nj.com