The New York Giants meet the Green Bay Packers Sunday. It is a game that isn't make or break for the Giants in terms of whether or not they can make the playoffs. A victory would, obviously, be a huge help. If the Giants are going to have any chance to steal the NFC East from the Dallas Cowboys, though, they absolutely need to come out of this game feeling good about the way they played.
Here are my 'Five Things To Watch' this week as we wait to see if what will happen.
1. The Defensive Effort: After seeing defensive coordinator Perry Fewell say things like he was "pissed" and "baffled" by the team's lack of will and emotion Monday, and then having Inside Football's Pat Traina tell us that at least one player privately questioned how well prepared the Giants were for the Saints ypu have to wonder. Is there a disconnect between the players and the coordinator? Will we see Giants flying to the football, running hard and chasing down every play? Or, will we see what we saw Monday -- too many players not hustling, and a church-like quiet on a defeated sideline? For me, the answer to this question might be more interesting than the outcome of the game itself.
2. Can The Giants Pressure Aaron Rodgers? They could not pressure Drew Brees. In fact, they haven't pressured anyone in about a month. Fewell says "We're going to get to the quarterback. Period." Giants fans would like to believe that. I'm guessing, though, that you guys will reserve judgment on that.
3. Can The Giants Be Turnover-Free? The Packers have a league-best 22 interceptions and a gaudy +15 turnover ratio. If the Giants are going to have a chance to win this game they need to be nearly flawless on offense.
4. Can The Giants Get A Big Special Teams Play? We have focused forever on the Giants ability to cover punts and kickoffs, and Green Bay's Randall Cobb is a dangerous returner. Really, though, what the Giants need desperately is big return or two that gets them easy points, or at least sets them up already in scoring territory. They haven't had that all year, and this would be a good time for that to happen.
5. Can The Giants Cover Anybody? Let's forget the pass rush for a second. Between the young linebackers and the too-slow safeties the Giants have had issues in pass coverage. They aren't going to get to Rodgers every time no matter what they do, so they had better be flawless in terms of coverage assignments.