This Sunday night the New York Giants will host the Green Bay Packers. The Packers quarterback is Aaron Rodgers, if you're unaware he is best known for his role as guy in the discount double check insurance commercial.
Here's an interesting tidbit, the last three regular season matchups between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants ended with Packers victories in 2007, 2010 and 2011. In two of those season the Giants beat the Packers in the playoffs in route to a Superbowl. In the other season the Packers victory basically knocked the Giants out of the playoffs and the Packers went onto win the Superbowl.
Another interesting pre-game tidbit is that the New York Giants "didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves We need to play our best ball when it counts".
In all seriousness the Giants have not played well in their last four games really, especially their last game in Cincinnati and they will have to play very well to beat a good Green Bay Packers team, let's break it down.
|Category||.Green Bay Packers
||New York Giants|
|Points per game||26.3 (9th)
|Yards per game||345.5 (18th)||367.4 (11th)|
|Pass yards per game||246.3 (11th)||256.0 (9th)|
|Rush yards per attempt||3.8||4.4|
|Rush attempts per game||26.3||25.2|
|Time of Possession||30:06||29.55|
I have to get my eyes checked, according to the statistics the Giants are a superior offense to the Packers in all phases, even with a string of terrible games. What makes this even more amazing is the fact that Aaron Rodgers has 27 passing touchdowns and only 6 interceptions to put that in context, Eli Manning has thrown 12 touchdowns and the Giants have 13 rushing touchdowns for a total of 25 touchdowns or two less touchdowns than Aaron Rodgers has passing.
How is the Giants offense scoring more points than the Packers, well the Packers have two rushing touchdowns. This likely indicates a few things, first the Packers are throwing the ball a lot in the red-zone, where as the Giants run a lot (especially in goal to go situations), and 2) the Packers are not getting into the red-zone with the same frequency as the Giants are.
Interesting fact #2-despite averaging more than a .5 yard less per carry, the Packers actually run the ball more than the Giants per game (but this is slightly misleading as Rodgers a little more than 3 rush attempts per game, most exclusively on scramble plays).
Aaron Rodgers gets hit a lot, and that shows up on tape as well. If anyone saw last week's game between the Packers and the Lions you watched Nick Fairley dominate the interior of the Packers offensive line all game.
Rushing-Alex Green 87 attempts for 272 yards.
WR Randall Cobb has 8 rushes for 115 yards--he's a weapon that must be accounted for at all times. With Cedric Benson out the Packers are using Cobb more in the run game, he has 5 carries in the last two games (and five combined in the previous 8 games).
Randall Cobb leads the team with 54 receptions, but Jordy Nelson leads the team with 577 yards, James Jones, however leads the team in receiving touchdowns with 8.
As you can see they do a great job of mixing in all of their offensive weapons.
13 different players have caught a pass this season for the Packers, the Giants have 12 players who have caught a pass, That sounded impressive in my heads but I just checked two other teams at random (Colts, Titans) who have 14, and 13 players respectively with a caught pass.
|Category||Green Bay Packers||New York Giants|
|Points per game||20.7 (10th)||21.6 (12th)|
|Yards per Game||343.9 (16th)||371.6 (22th)|
|Pass Yards per game||244.4 (21st)||257.8 (25th)|
|Rush Yards per game||99.5 (11th)||113.8 (15th)|
|Yards per Rush||4.1||4.4|
The number that should upset the New York Giants is 33 sacks from the Green Bay Packers. This year the Packers have the pass rush the Giants are suppose to have. The pass rush is coming from a variety of players, Clay Matthews has 9 sacks, and no one else on the team has more than three so the sacks are coming from a number of different players. However, it is possible that Matthews will miss the game Sunday (currently listed as doubtful).
The Packers are much better on defense this year than they were last year. They are causing some turnovers, getting after the quarterback some, and limiting points, this is not the sieve of a defense that it was last year.
Clay Matthews has 9 sacks
Rookie cornerback Casey Hayward leads the team in interceptions with 5
Morgan Burnett leads the team with 77 tackles, LB A.J. Hawk has 76.
This is a solid, but not great defense. It's a different pass rush without Clay Matthews, however.
Randall Cobb is the return man and he's a good one. He has a punt return touchdown already this year and is averaging 26.7 yards per kick return.
Tim Masthay is averaging 40.1 yards (net) per punt, which is solid to pretty good.
Kicker Mason Crosby has been brutal recently. He missed two kicks Sunday vs the Lions (and he got lucky on another one when the Lions had called a timeout) and might be a few missed kicks away from the unemployment line. However, Giants kickers are 16/18 on the year against them, so he'll probably make everyone on Sunday.
There's your statistical breakdown of the Green Bay Packers.
Having watched the Packers play a few games here a couple of things I've noticed and a few interesting Pro Football Focus notes.
The Giants need a big game from their defensive tackles. They can be vulnerable up the middle. The Packers are getting better as the season progresses this year, which is bad news for the league, this will be a tough game.
The Packers are doing a better job sticking with their running game this year, even though it's not a good running game.
Pro Football Focus
According to Pro Fooball Focus the player on the Packers offense who has given up the most sacks this season is...Aaron Rodgers. PFF has him responsible for six sacks this year.
Jerel Worthy, B.J. Raji, and Ryan Pickett are the three Packers defensive linemen with the most snaps. Their scores are -10.4, -3.9, 1.2. That's not good.
Casey Hayward is the third highest rated cornerback rating in the league.
Over the last four years PFF has an aggregate score for A.J. Hawk as roughly negative 44. This year, Hawk has a positive 5.2 ranking so that's interesting.
I'll leave you with this-Happy Turkey Day.