The Giants take on the Packers (3-1) in London on Sunday. After losing their season opener, the Packers have won three straight games, including an overtime 27-24 victory at home against the Patriots in Week 4.
When the Packers have the ball…
1. Aaron Rodgers is still the Packers quarterback but their offense has evolved to focus around the running game. The Packers rank 10th in the NFL in overall run rate (44.8%) with their run tendencies hovering around the same rank on 1st-and-10 and in first halves of games. They want to run the ball.
AJ Dillon has nine more carries than Aaron Jones this season, even though Jones has 126 more yards. Dillon is a bruising 250-pound back who is difficult to bring down between the tackles, and will move the pile forward. He is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry and has only four runs of 10+ yards this season, but he can grind down a defense, especially late in games. Jones is the more versatile weapons with 12 catches to go along with his 48 carries this season. He is averaging 6.81 yards per carry with 12 runs of 10+ yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has forced 18 missed tackles this season, which ranks fourth in the NFL. His forced missed tackle rate of .37 ranks second to Nick Chubb in the NFL.
The Packers are seventh in the NFL in rush yards per game (145) and are tied for fifth with 18 runs of 10+ yards. Green Bay has not been a proficient first-down team, averaging only 5.24 yards per play (24th).
2. There is a large discrepancy between where the Packers rank in yards per game (377.5 – sixth) and in points per game (18.8 – tied for 21st). The answer can be found in two different areas. The Packers are last in goal-to-go situations, scoring only one touchdown on three chances inside the 10. Outside the red zone, they have been limited to one field goal.
The Packers have been strong on third downs, converting 42.6% (ninth), but have turned it over seven times this season (-3 turnover ratio) including one giveaway in goal-to-go situations. The Packers' 13.3% offensive DVOA ranks eighth in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.
3. Aaron Rodgers is completing 69% of his passes for 233.8 yards with six touchdowns and three touchdowns. PFF tracks what they consider "big-time throws" and he ranks third (6.1%) among those with at least 25 attempts.
Some of the advanced metrics tell different stories: Via ESPN, his 43.1 QBR ranks 22nd in the NFL and his EPA (expected points added) of 10.6 ranks 23rd. NFL's NextGenStats keeps track of CPOE (completion percentage above expectation), where Rodgers ranks third (+2.6%) and his PFF passing grade is seventh.
Without go-to wide receiver Davante Adams on the roster and the departure of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Rodgers has had to spread the wealth. He has completions to six different receivers - none of who have more than 19 receptions. Rookie fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs leads the team with 19 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Allen missed Week 1 due to injury and has 12 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Old reliable Randall Cobb is still Rodgers' slot receiver/security blanket and he has 10 catches for 150 yards. Sammy Watkins is out with a hamstring injury, so the Packers lack a true game-breaking threat at receiver. Tight end Robert Tonyan is second on the team with 13 receptions. The Packers play with two tight ends with one running back (12 personnel) on 31.1% of their snaps, but their most common personnel group features one running back and three wide receivers (11 personnel), which they use 52% of the time.
The Packers' passing game has relied on yards after the catch more than any other NFL team. Their 496 yards after the catch leads the NFL and they are tied for second in pass plays that go for at least 20 yards (17). However, Rodgers has a passer rating of just 42.4 on passes that travel 20+ yards in the air. Rodgers has faced pressure on only 25% of his dropbacks, which is the third-lowest rate in the NFL. He helps his line with his 2.48-second average time to throw, which ranks fourth, according to PFF. Rodgers also has a stellar 121.53 QB rating against the blitz.
The offensive line has dealt with injuries for much of the season. Elgton Jenkins missed Week1 and has started at right tackle since. David Bakhtiari has played the last two games at left tackle after missing the first two games. Jon Runyan and Royce Newman are the guards with Josh Myers at center. According to PFF, Jenkins and Newman have each allowed two sacks, with Jenkins allowing a team-high nine pressures and Newman eight. The Patriots pressured Rodgers often in the first half last week, managing pressures on six of Rodgers' 13 dropbacks.
Keys for the Giants' defense
* Limit big plays from Aaron Jones
* Tackle well to prevent Packers yards after the catch
* Don't present Rodgers with too many easy 1-on-1 situations vs. the blitz
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
When the Giants have the ball…
4. The Packers allow the fifth-fewest yards per game in the NFL, giving up an average of 294.8. Only two teams have allowed fewer passing yards per game (168), but they give up 4.97 yards per rush (22nd). Only one team allows fewer first downs per game (16.5) than the Packers.
The Packers are one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL, pressuring opponents on 42.9% of their dropbacks, according to PFF. Their 39.7% blitz rate ranks third, though they rarely use stunts (17.5% of plays – 30th). They are tied for sixth with 11 sacks.
In his fourth season, Rashan Gary has developed into one of the better edge rushers in the NFL. According to PFF, Gary leads the Packers with 18 pressures and has a combination of power and athleticism that is difficult to block. He has five sacks, six quarterback hits and five tackles for loss. He plays over the opposing right tackle on about two-thirds of his snaps.
Preston Smith is his bookend edge rusher on the right side of the defense. He has 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and PFF has tracked him for 12 total pressures. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who can play across the line, has managed two sacks, five quarterback hits and PFF has tracked him for 16 pressures. He leads the Packers with a pass rush win rate of nearly 22%. Rookie first-round defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt has proven disruptive in limited snaps. De'Vondre Campbell and first-rounder Quay Walker are their two off-ball linebackers. Campbell, the team's leading tackler with 36, rarely leaves the field and has been a strong coverage player. Walker is very athletic and ranks second on the team with 25 tackles.
5. The pass defense is the strength of the unit, allowing only 168 yards per game (third). The Packers not only lead the NFL in third-down defense (23.8%) but their 3rd-and-long defense is historically good. On third-down situations of more than six yards, opponents are only converting 4.2% of their attempts.
However, only five teams allow more than the Packers' 6.3 yards per first-down play. They rank 27th against the pass on first down (115.6 quarterback rating) and 24th against the run (4.91 yards per attempt).
Green Bay's top cornerback Jaire Alexander missed last week's game against the Patriots with a groin injury. Fourth-year player Keisean Nixon started in Alexander's place in Week 3. Fellow cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas and safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos round out the secondary.
The Packers are a very heavy zone team, playing Cover-1 just 17.3% of the time, according to PFF. They play either Cover-3 (single-high safety, three-deep zone), Cover-4 (two-high safety, four-deep coverage) or some kind of combo zone coverage 65% of the time.
Keys for the Giants' offense:
* Have success on first downs, whether with the run or play-action pass game to avoid 3rd-and-long.
* Be willing to move the ball slowly with short passes and the run against the Packers' zone defense
* Avoid playing from behind
View some of the best photos from the Giants' two previous trips to play in London.