Week 13 Preview | Giants vs. Packers
It takes an awful lot of rationalizing to predict a Giants victory over the Packers this Sunday.
QB Aaron Rodgers could stub a toe. ... A nor’ easter could roll in and even the playing field. ... Head Coach Pat Shurmur could metamorph into the ghost of Vince Lombardi.
Whichever way a Giants fan rationalizes victory, rest assured it won’t make a lot of sense.
Common sense usually prevails. For instance, the Packers are 8-3, the Giants are 2-9, so there’s that.
Green Bay is coming off a 37-8 drubbing at the hands of the 49ers. They will not be happy.
Nothing helps a team’s focus better than the bad taste that comes with a bad loss, especially when there is a playoff berth on the line.
Playing the common opponent game won’t help. Green Bay handled Dallas and Minnesota. The Giants lost to both.
But wait! Green Bay only beat Chicago by 7 points, Detroit by 1. The Giants lost to both by 5. Somewhere within those numbers lies hope, at least to the Giant optimists in the crowd.
Back to common sense for a moment … let’s talk about match-ups.
Green Bay’s offense scores lots of points, and this Giants defense gives up a lot of points. Advantage: Green Bay.
We haven’t even started talking yet about Aaron Rodgers. This future Hall of Famer is having another great year, and his best stat is “18 to 2” -- that’s the number of touchdowns to interceptions he’s thrown this year.
Want more match-up woes? The Giants pass defense vs. anybody has been a terrible match-up. Against Rodgers? As Dick Enberg used to say, “Oh my!” Or better yet, “Yikes!”
Rodgers has been sacked 27 times, but he’s avoided twice as many with his fantastic mobility. Even at his age (Rodgers is turning 36 on Monday), the feet are still there.
Rodgers’ front office finally addressed his defense this off-season. Now he’s getting the ball back with time to do something with it. That has not always been the case.
Green Bay’s two significant free-agent acquisitions came on defense. Both have 10+ sacks (Smith “twins” Preston and Za’Darius).
Rodgers only has three 300-yard passing games this year, though, against a Giants pass defense that’s allowed an average of 260.0 yards per game (27th in the league), figure Rodgers has a good chance of recording his fourth 300-yard passing game this weekend.
Statistically, neither Green Bay’s offense nor defense dominates. Therein lies the Giants optimist’s hope. Unfortunately, statistics alone don’t win football games.
You may have noticed a shortage of Giants talk in this preview. We could talk about this 2-9 team’s across-the-board shortcomings in detail, but to summarize:
(1) Too many backups are starting,
(2) Too many average producers aren’t playing up to their contracts,
(3) Too many kids are learning on the job,
(4) Too many coaches aren’t coaching up the kids,
(5) The leadership at every level leaves something to be desired, and
(6) The front office is struggling to build a roster that can be competitive.
For the third straight year, it looks like the Giants will be picking Top 6 in the draft. That speaks volumes, folks.
But with all that said, there are some things by which to be encouraged. The organization’s greatest hope remains quarterback Daniel Jones. Keeping him on his feet is an organizational imperative at which the organization is failing miserably.
His 33 sacks rank near the top of the league. He leads the league in turnovers. Suffice it to say that he’s learning on the fly.
For all the good things that Jones has shown and done in his rookie year, it’s tough to thrive out there given the current state of his protect, his receivers not getting open, and his running game looking like a shell of its former self.
We’d love to say some positive things about running back Saquon Barkley but, despite his insistence that his ankle isn’t a factor, the eye test says otherwise, as the injury has transformed him from an electric rookie into a hesitant sophomore.
And as much as we hate to pile on, we can’t recall the last time we came away from a game and said to ourselves the Giants were well-coached, outcome aside. The talent may be lacking, but the coaching isn’t helping. And we think it says a lot when in last week’s game, the Giants’ best player was their punter, Riley Dixon.
So how do the Giants win this game? Do they move Dixon, the lone Giant having a Pro Bowl year, to the slot? Throw him the ball? Have him cover the slot receiver?
When you can’t come up with any answers, the questions get silly, if not desperate. Such is the way of it for all losing teams that seemingly have no answers or options but to play out the strong and go home at the end of the year.