New York Giants players have been expressing confidence all week that they can go to Lambeau Field on Sunday and give the defending Super Bowl champion and NFC No. 1 seed Green Bay Packers a run for their money. None will guarantee victory, and even Jason Pierre has admitted he was over-exuberant when he did that.
Can the Giants win on Sunday? Sure they can. But they could also fall just as easily, maybe more easily. Here are three reasons the Giants can win -- and three reasons they can't.
They Can Win Because ...
1. They have Eli Manning -- Five fourth-quarter comebacks, six fourth-quarter victories, the best fourth-quarter passer rating in the league, a career-best 4,933 yards passing. He's not better than Aaron Rodgers, but Manning always gives the Giants a chance.
2. Their Defense Is Much Improved -- The Packers did pretty much whatever they wanted on offense against the Giants the first time the teams met. The Giants' pass rush is much better now with Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck healthy, and Jason Pierre-Paul not stuck at nose tackle in a three-man line. The secondary is playing better, as well.
3. Green Bay's Defense -- The Packers had the worst defense in the league, giving up 411.6 yards per game. If the Giants can avoid turning the ball over (the Packers had a league-high 31 interceptions and forced 13 fumbles) they should be able to score a signfiicant number of points.
They Can't Win Because ...
1. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers -- Rodgers trumps Manning, and he and the high-powered Green Bay offense might be able to trump the improved Giants' defense, too.
2. The Packers Are Better -- There is a reason why the Giants went 9-7 and the Packers went 15-1. Sure, the records don't matter right now, but they do mean something.
3. Lightning Can't Strike Twice, Can It? -- The Giants were not supposed to beat the Packers when they went to Lambeau for the NFC title game in January of 2008. They did, then went on to win the Super Bowl. They are nine-point underdogs this time, too. It can't happen again. Or can it?