Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Packers were in great shape a couple of weeks ago and it looked like Aaron Rodgers would put them in a position to challenge Seattle, San Francisco and Carolina in the NFC. Those days now seem like distant memories as Rodgers (shoulder) and backup Seneca Wallace (groin) are injured and the Packers are forced to go into battle with Scott Tolzien, who threw for 280 yards vs. Philadelphia in Week 10.Eli Manning has had a brutal season and one of his passes was picked off and returned for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in Week 10. While the Giants came back to win their third game in a row, Manning has thrown 16 interceptions this season and just 11 touchdowns. He has often looked out of sync with his receivers.
- OffenseOne of the reasons that many thought the Packers had a chance to get to the top in the NFC this year was the emergence of their running game. Rookie Eddie Lacy runs with power and purpose and has gained 669 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Wideout Jordy Nelson (49-772-7) has carried the load for the injury-plague receiving crew.The Giants have not really gotten it together this year on the offensive end as they rank 23rd overall in yards per game. Head coach Tom Coughlin has been looking for a dependable ground game and Andre Brown gave the Giants 115 rushing yards vs. the Raiders in Week10. Wideout Victor Cruz has explosive speed and can be a difference maker for New York.
- DefenseThe Packers have played much more physical defense this year, but injuries are taking their toll on Dom Capers’ 18th-ranked unit. The Packers thought they were getting a lift when Clay Mathews returned to action after breaking his thumb, but the linebacker was unable to do much with his digit still encumbered. Linebacker A.J. Hawk has a team-high 74 tackles.The Giants got off to a terrible start with their defense this year, but their play has started to pick up. New York ranks 12th overall and 10th against the pass. Antrell Rolle has been one of Coughlin’s best players from the safety position with 53 tackles, nine passes defended and three interceptions. The Giants don’t get enough from their pass rush where Mathias Kiwanuka leads the team with 3.5 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Packers gave up a long kickoff return for a touchdown to Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this year, while their own return specialist Micah Hyde returned a punt for a touchdown. Mason Crosby has made 21-of-25 FG attempts this season.The Giants have been burned with very poor special teams coverage most of the year, however they made up for some of the difficulty they had when Cooper Taylor returned a blocked punt 21 yards for a touchdown vs. the Raiders. Placekicker Josh Brown has made 13-of-15 FG attempts this season.
The Packers are game, but it’s going to be difficult for them to win games until Rodgers returns to the lineup. Their best hope is to force Manning into at least three interceptions and hope that Tolzien can execute on a short field. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor