We are a little later than usual with this, but it is time for our weekly 'Five Questions' segment. This week, Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company is answer our questions about the Green Bay Packers.
Ed: Let's get the Scott Tolzien question out of the way. What are your thoughts on Tolzien, and what is your confidence level that the Packers can come to MetLife Stadium and win a game with Tolzien at quarterback?
Jason: Any grading of Scott Tolzien has to be made on a curve. That's because his only NFL experience came in a situation where he had only prepared to be the backup and, by the team's own admission, ran many plays he had never run in practice.
With that out of the way, I thought Tolzien acquitted himself well last week. Few backups respond well when asked to throw 40 passes, but Tolzien completed 61.5 of them and averaged over seven yards an attempt. He also nearly topped 300 yards. Obviously, the two critical interceptions stand out, but with a week of practice those can be corrected.
As for the final part of your question, he can quarterback the Packers to a victory in New York, though I think that determination will really come down to the play of the defense.
Ed: What is your take on the Giants? A bad team that has taken advantage of other bad teams? A dangerous team finally getting straightened out? I'm curious about the perspective from other places.
Jason: Through their first 9 games, the Giants have struck me as a bad team playing in the league's worst division. Now, that doesn't mean that should they sneak into the playoffs they'll still be that awful team, but that largely depends on the play of Eli Manning. It's not just the interceptions with him this year; he's in danger of falling below seven yards per pass attempt and completing only 55.6 percent of his passes. It's very difficult to win games with a quarterback performing so poorly.
That said, Manning is on the short list of quarterbacks who can from one week to the next completely full himself out of his funk and play like a Super Bowl MVP. Given the Packers' woes in their pass defense, that could easily be this week.
Ed: Tell us about some under-the-radar players other than Tolzien Giants' fans might look for on Sunday.
Jason: They should keep a look out for wide receiver Jarrett Boykin. Boykin is a second year receiver who has become an integral part of the offense with Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, and James Jones all missing time. While not a burner, Boykin has three receptions of 35 yards or more in the past five weeks. He's also adept at breaking tackles, turning short passes into long gains. The Packers will utilize Boykin both on the outside and in the slot, wherever the better match-up exists.
Ed: If you were game planning against the Packers how would you attack them, both offensively and defensively?
Jason: The Green Bay defense has large holes between the linebackers and corner backs. Opposing slot receivers and tight ends have had big days hitting those areas, and I expect Victor Cruz will be the next. As for preparing for the Packers' offense, until Aaron Rodgers returns, the offense will run through Eddie Lacy and James Starks. I think the Giants have to stack the box and make Tolzien prove he can beat their secondary. If he can't, the offense will struggle all day to move the sticks.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in the Green Bay starting lineup who would it be? Why?
Jason: While I'm not crazy about his contract, I think Green Bay would benefit most from the addition of Antrel Rolle. Many of the Packers' issues on defense used to be covered by Nick Collins, the Pro-Bowl safety whose career was ended by a neck injury in 2011. The Packers have yet to find a suitable replacement, and perhaps a veteran safety like Antrel Rolle would help resolve many of these problems.