5 Keys to the Giants Beating the Packers Sunday

Strahan 

1. Make #4 Beat You:  When Green Bay passes too much and lets Brett Favre throw the football 40 + times a game they are in major trouble.  If I’m Coach Tom Coughlin I’ll take my chances letting the Packers go to the aerial attack more times than not because Ryan Grant is what makes this offense so special, so dangerous, and so good, when he’s clicking on all cylinders and on top of his game like last week against Seattle – GB is close to being unbeatable, especially at home.  Favre still throws picks, makes risky passes, and I like my chances bringing the house and letting my front seven (which includes:  Osi Umeniyora, Michael Strahan, and Antonio Pierce) take it the Pack, rather than letting the Pack take it to my defense first; dictating the battle up front in the trenches – where the game is usually won.  This game will be won or lost by New York with their defensive approach and strategy towards taking on the “world-beater” and former 5th string Giants practice squad RB Ryan Grant.  The more times Favre has to drop back and rely on his o-line against that elite NY Giants d-line, the more I like my chances and think the G-Men can get to him – forcing either A) Interceptions  B) Bad hurried up throws  C) Mistakes that will give the Giants the edge in turnovers.  Sacks will play a vital role and a big part in this match-up and NY’s strength (DL – Rushing the QB) needs to step up big-time and shine like they did last week against Dallas, and in order to do so they must bring the heat and make that “slow” GB o-line look like a JV squad.  I rather see Favre scramble around and have the ball under duress than Ryan Grant romp through the banged up secondary and get to the biggest, most glaring weakness/hole of NY. 

2. Forget Man Coverage and Play Cover 2:  Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Donald Lee will be all physically stronger, quicker, faster, and better than whoever they are matched up on this Sunday Nite against a vulnerable and injured Giants defensive backfield.  So NY must back-off and play some Cover 2 like the Chicago Bears defense implemented and utilized so effectively in the 2nd half of Week 5’s Sunday nighter, which worked out well in handing GB there 1st loss of the season (27-24).  It’ll give your DE’s and blitzers more time to get to Favre and it will give the smaller DB’s a relief in manning up to cover these big, talented GB wideouts.  NY has to make Favre think about the defense he is playing against and they have to present him with a tighter window to throw into with the windy ‘n snowy conditions that are likely to be expected in Lambeau.  The Giants can use the weather to their advantage (tougher to pass and slippery surface for WR’s) and let there tall, lengthy safeties (range to cover)  roam the middle of the field on passing downs, ready to deliver a big, crushing hit.

3. “Little Giants” (Count on both RB’s to perform): Most of the casual fans have not heard of Dave Meggett Jr. aka Ahmad Bradshaw, so NY has to work and drive this mini-sized weapon to a win in a game that will be won by the team that chews up the most clock, winning the T.O.P. battle and the all-important rushing edge.  Bradshaw, a former member and standout of the Marshall Thundering Herd, is a 5-foot 9 inch, 198-pound lightning quick RB that displays great speed, quickness, patience, elusiveness and vision for the field (all the qualities you’d like in a 3rd down back).  He can change a game in an instant and one of his game breaking runs may turn out to be the difference maker.  The little-known Bradshaw holds the mark for the 2nd longest rushing TD in the NFL (88 yards @ Buffalo) and would not surprise me if he surprises Green Bay with another signature long TD run to help the Giants grab the momentum. and maybe more significantly- the game.  I sure can see Mr. Bradshaw (Meggett-esque) being the MVP of this NFC Title game and having Giants fans reminisce of the SB XXV Championship in which they ran the 1-2 combo to perfection, featuring Meggett teamed up with power back Otis Anderson (MVP – Bruiser along the lines of – a la Brandon Jacbos).  Jacobs can throw out some knockout punches (up the gut) early on and Bradshaw can finish off the Packers defense with left and right jabs (outside runs/off-tackle) in the 2nd half.  We have heard this song once before called “Lightning & Thunder”, so Bradshaw just might pose more problems than you think he would, just don’t underestimate his size and his ability (blazing speed) – he may ignite a “little” Giants victory.  

4. 4th Down Conversions:  This stat may the biggest and most pivotal stat of ’em all when you look back at the tale of the tape.  With the conditions making it tough to attempt field goals successfully, each team’s kicker will be on the sidelines when their offenses stay on the field longer for an extra play(s), trying to convert 4th downs in the opposing team’s territory.   I imagine there will be many 4th down tries and usually when a team makes a big stop or conversion it shifts the momentum meter over, and changes the outcome and sometimes the whole complexion of a game.  Look for this to be a true factor and clear indicator of who will come out on top in this battle of NFC powerhouses.  The N.Y. Giants have to win this part of the game and outplay the Packers on 4th down to keep the home crowd from getting too loud and crazy.  For New York to win in this department, they need to sell the run and go to the play-action for key first downs.  With mammoth OT Kareem McKenzie, a road grader at 327 pounds, expect the Giants to rely on him for pass protection and to design run plays to his side on 4th & short, along with giving 6-foot 7 inch rookie TE Kevin Boss (Western Oregon) some opportunities to haul in the rock, continuing big, chain-moving drives, and you can hear the name of FB Madison Hedgecock also (266 pounds), being sure he will have an impact on 4th downs, being the go-to lead blocker (yes, I said it – a Go-To Lead Blocking FB!), as the main hole opener for Jacobs and Bradshaw to convert on 4th downs.  The blockers, TE’s, and extra big guys (GL packages) will have their say and part, factoring in on whether or not the Giants hold on to the ball or fork it over on 4th down.

5. Let Eli Manning Gamble:  Why Not?!?  Eli has made it this far and has vastly improved and has taken care of the ball extremely well.  Eli has played tremendous recently and has had a QB rating of over 117 the past 3 games!  He has went up against the #1 rated pass defense (Tampa), along with both New England and Dallas, so he is getting the job done against good defensive units.  So let him take some shots through the air and give him leeway in passing the ball deep down field (he’s got a 6-foot 5 legit deep threat in Plaxico Burress), to see if it works, to draw pass interference calls (GB DB’s are very physical), and to make the big play (formula:  need to mix up the run with the pass).   He has grown up and gotten a lot better, and the team relies/trusts in him to lead this team (yes, he is a LEADER now!), so if I’m the OC I would play call aggressively to test the Packers secondary early on and throughout the game, exercising some faith in young Eli!  He has developed lots of confidence in himself and let him gamble and take some chances to execute plays, as he was the 1st overall pick of the ’03 Draft for a reason!   Eli has enough targets to throw to and he knows that the stage gets no bigger than this, going up against Favre at Lambeau for the right to play in SB XLII vs. Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots (yes, I Said It – It’s a LOCK!).  Allow him to get into a rhythm by giving him the opportunity to win the game and perform well under pressure.  It’s only fitting and right to let Eli take over the reins under center and to lead the Giants to a victory – by giving him full control to go and spend all his energy and talent, leaving it on the field, allowing him to become a big winner by gambling (going deep) with his chips (attempts), leaving the table (Lambeau) as a QB that is ready to take the next step and climb the ladder to the next level as an elite QB for a Super Bowl team!  This is Eli’s team Coach Coughlin – so let him call the shots!


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