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10 things to watch for vs. Packers

Posted Jan 7, 2017

Here are 10 storylines to follow as the Giants take on the Packers Sunday at 4:40 PM ET:
1. BACK TO THE FROZEN TUNDRA

The last two times the Giants traveled to Lambeau Field in the postseason turned out pretty well for them. Big Blue won there in 2007 and 2011 en route to titles in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI, becoming the only visiting team in NFL history to win consecutive postseason games at the Packers’ historic venue. This time, the Giants enter as the NFC’s fifth seed, while Green Bay is fourth after winning the NFC North.

2. ROAD WARRIOR

The most incredible stat found all week is that Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers have the same number of postseason victories at Lambeau Field: two. Manning is 8-3 all-time in the postseason and 5-1 on the road. His current five-game win streak on the road in the playoffs is an NFL record and includes a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 11:2. Meanwhile, Sunday will be the first Wild Card matchup in NFL history between Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks in Manning (XLII, XLVI) and Rodgers (XLV).

3. GIANTS INJURY REPORT

Out: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle)
Doubtful: DE Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring)

>>PACKERS BALANCED ATTACK WILL TEST GIANTS' D

4. PACKERS INJURY REPORT

Out: CB Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion), RB James Starks (concussion) Questionable: OT Bryan Bulaga (abdomen), WR Randall Cobb (ankle), LB Jayrone Elliott (hand), LB Nick Perry (hand), CB Damarious Randall (knee), LB Joe Thomas (back), OL JC Tretter (knee)

5. FIRST ROUND

Like 2007 and 2011, the Giants already played the Packers in the regular season, losing 23-16 in a Sunday night game in Week 5 that extended their losing streak to three games at the time. The Giants fell behind on a Jordy Nelson touchdown from Aaron Rodgers with 6:18 left in the first quarter and never recovered. Manning went 18-for-35 for 199 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked three times and lost a fumble while the Giants were outgained, 147-43, yards on the ground.

>>WEEK 5 FLASHBACK

6. SINCE THEN

The Giants and Packers are two of the hottest teams entering the postseason. After their Week 5 meeting, the Giants won six games in a row and nine of their final 11 to seal the first Wild Card spot. Meanwhile, the Packers come in with a six-game winning streak in which they defeated opponents by an average score of 31-19. Rodgers, who led the league with 40 touchdowns, has not thrown an interception since Nov. 13.

7. CALL THE NYPD

Tossed around for a bit in the meeting room, the secondary has decided on a nickname heading into the postseason: NYPD. The New York Pass Defense is one of the best units in the league, ranking first in fewest offensive touchdowns allowed (25), first in red zone defense (39.5 percent), second in lowest opponent passer rating (75.8), second in points allowed per game (17.8), second in passes defensed (101), and tied for fourth in interceptions (17). The last three Super Bowl champions have been in the top 10 in scoring defense (Denver, New England, and Seattle).

>>COLLINS, HARRISON NAMED TO ALL-PRO TEAM

8. McADOO VS. MENTOR

Before becoming the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014, Ben McAdoo served for eight seasons under Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the first six as his tight ends coach and the final two as the quarterbacks coach. Together, they earned six playoff berths, won four NFC North titles, and won Super Bowl XLV. Now in his first year as a head coach, McAdoo has the organization back in the postseason for the first time since 2011, while his 11 wins tied Dan Reeves (1993) for the most victories by a Giants head coach in his first season.


9. RUNNING WILD

With nothing to gain or lose in the regular season finale in terms of seeding, McAdoo still played to win. Perhaps the best thing to come away from doing so was seeing the production from the run game while playing on the road against a team fighting for its postseason life. Rookie Paul Perkins, the Giants’ fifth-round draft choice out of UCLA, made his first career start and recorded his first 100-yard game, while veteran Rashad Jennings added 52 yards and a touchdown.

>>FACT OR FICTION: X-FACTOR VS. PACKERS

10. ALL-PRO GIANTS

On the eve of the NFL playoffs, the 2016 Associated Press NFL All-Pro Teams were announced. Safety Landon Collins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison made the first team, the first Giants to do so since defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in 2011. The Giants also had four players named to the second team: wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive end Olivier Vernon, and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.