Revenge is one of those clichés that’s dusted off whenever two playoff opponents from the previous year meet in the regular season. The Green Bay Packers (7-3) heading into New York (well okay, New Jersey) to take on the Giants (6-4) is such a case.
Unfortunately for Green Bay fans, revenge as a motivation for winning has been a bit overrated. But that’s not to say the Packers will not be able to leave MetLife Stadium with a win, it is just likely that if they do, it will be for other reasons.
For example, Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning’s “tired arm”. The Giants are in the midst of their traditional mid-season collapse, which in the last couple of years has ended just in time for them to get hot for the playoffs. With the Washington Redskins suddenly revitalised, the Dallas Cowboys wounded but still dangerous and even the Philadelphia Eagles still in the picture, the NFC East has become significantly less comfortable for the Giants as compared to a few weeks ago.
Green Bay on the other hand, is building an impressive win streak that has seen them overtake the 7-3 Chicago Bears for the NFC North division lead on the strength of a head-to-head tie breaker.
When the two teams meet on Sunday, Green Bay quarterback, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ excellent receiving core will be fighting against one of the premier pass-rushing defensive lines in the league. The Packers’ line has solidified further as the season has progressed but will face its toughest challenge yet trying to stop ends, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Going the other way, it is a similar situation. Although the Packers will be missing their best pass rusher in Clay Matthews, they still possess one of the better secondaries in the NFL. Cornerback, Sam Shields will miss the game but fellow corner, Tramon Williams and safeties M.D. Jennings and Morgan Burnett will help to make things easier for his replacement.
On paper, the game looks like it will be a tremendous contest between two of the league’s better teams for the past few years. The Giants are small favourites for this game – with odds makers giving Green Bay anywhere from one and a half points to three points.
But Packers are the hot hand. It’s been nearly a month since the Giants have tasted victory. After two losses and a bye week, Green Bay has every chance of pulling off the upset and lengthening misery in the Empire State.
The game is available to all views in the States as the Sunday Night matchup on NBC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 PM EST. For those outside the USA, NFL offers game pass and there are a selection of free streaming sights that can be found online.