Fact or Fiction1) The Key to beating the Packers is the Giants Pass Rush.
John Schmeelk: Fact -
In order to disrupt any passing game, a team has to make the opposing quarterback uncomfortable and it's no different with Aaron Rogers. It can't, however, just be the pass rush. The secondary must do their part, and the defensive line can help by getting their arms up in passing lanes as well. The key to the Giants defensive resurgence has been the pass rush and it will be no different Sunday. Dan Salomone: Fiction -
It's a critical facet of the overall formula to beating the Packers, but it's not the be-all, end-all. The key is going to be time of possession. And how do you get that? Run the ball. Balance. Have long, methodical drives so, as Chris Canty says, the defense can put their feet up on the sidelines and save their energy. Not to mention it also keeps Aaron Rodgers off the field. In their only loss, the Kansas City Chiefs controlled the clock by 13 minutes.Michael Eisen: Fiction -
I think it's a key, not THE key. To me the bigger factor is ruing the ball well and keeping it away from the Packers' offense.2) The Giants can win without forcing a turnover again.
Schmeelk: Fact -
As long as they don't turn it over themselves, the answer is yes. The Packers have the second fewest giveaways in the NFL, and the most takeaways, so turnover margin will be even bigger for the Giants on Sunday. The Packers defense gives up a lot of yards but they are ball hawks. On offense, Green Bay simply doesn't make many mistakes. The Giants must do likewise. Salomone: Fiction -
I found it interesting that the Giants' most dominant defensive performance unfolded without forcing a turnover (and just two sacks) last week. That won't be the case against the Packers. The Giants need an early turnover to put the Packers back on their heels while taking the crowd out of it.Eisen: Fact -
When the Packers have the ball in Lambeau they score. The Giants need to take the ball away from them.*3) We will see a game-changing play on special teams from the Giants. *
Schmeelk: Fiction -
I wish I could give a different answer here but there is little evidence the Giants return game is going to deliver a big play. Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck have some close on a pair of punt blocks the last two weeks, so perhaps they can make a play there. Lawrence Tynes has missed some kicks recently as well, another worry. Salomone: Fact -
It's coming. Whether it's a blocked punt (Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka have come as close as you can get in recent weeks) or a long return, I think it's coming. The coverage teams have played phenomenally this season, shutting down most of the premier specialists in the league. Meanwhile, punt and kick returns have been different stories. Jerrel Jernigan has, however, provided a late spark, averaging 24.4 yards per kick return in the last four games. And don't forget Will Blackmon despite the dismal punt return game this season. He played four seasons in Green Bay, and out of his 21 career punt returns at Lambeau Field, he has returned two for touchdowns.Eisen: Fact -
We really haven't seen one all year, so we're due. We've come close to blocking a punt the last couple of weeks, so perhaps this is the week they finally get one.4) The Packers will be rusty after sitting their starters in the regular season finale in addition to the first-round bye.
Schmeelk: Fiction -
Green Bay only rested a handful of starters on both sides of the ball. It's my belief that the bye will help the Packers a lot more than it will hurt since it is helping them get healthy on the offensive line (Sitton, Clifton), at wide receiver (Jennings, Cobb) and at running back (Starks). Does anyone think Aaron Rogers will be rusty after delivering the best regular season quarterback performance in NFL history? Salomone: Fiction -
It's a provocative narrative these days, but the Packers are too good and too experienced for that to happen. If they get off to a rocky start – and that's a big "if" -- it will be because of the Giants' game plan. Eisen: False -
The Packers are so talented I think the layoff will have zero effect. I'm sure they've practiced hard in the interim.
5) The game will come down to the final possession. Schmeelk: Fact -
The last game did, and the Giants are playing their best football – so why not now? Salomone: Fact -
I expect a similar game in regards to the first edition in mid-December. Both teams have lost some players, and both teams have players coming back healthy since then. This game should go back and forth and hinge on a handful of momentum-changers before the final act that is the fourth quarter. Eisen: Fact -
Not sure about the final possession but I do think it will be decided in the fourth quarter.
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