Giants vs. Packers, game day preview: Giants aim to overcome November woes

Jonathan Daniel

The New York Giants meet the Green Bay Packers today at MetLife Stadium.

The "six-game season" begins for the New York Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Today's affair with the Green Bay Packers determines whether the Giants give themselves a touch of breathing room and a two-game NFC East lead, or if they head to Washington next Monday fighting to maintain their division lead.

Tom Coughlin is tired of answering questions about November swoons and Eli Manning's struggles.

"One game at a time for six weeks, everything we’ve got, full speed ahead, prove the quality of our football team. We’re, quite frankly and rightfully so…I’m not saying that it isn’t the way it should be, but I’m really tired about answering all the questions about what’s wrong and I’d rather we play a game and play it well and answer the questions that way," Coughlin said

I'm with Coughlin. I'm tired of writing about all of this stuff, too. Only you know that if the Giants don't find a way to defeat a very good Green Bay team today the questions will simply intensify.

[Six-game season | Green Bay scouting report]

The Basic Stuff

What: Giants (6-4) vs. Packers (7-3)
Where: MetLife Stadium
When: 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: NBC -- Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Radio: Giants Radio Network (WFAN-660 AM, and local affiliates)
Line: Giants -3

Key Players

Giants

Eli Manning: Which Eli will show up? Will we see Super Bowl Eli? Or, will we see the scatter-armed -- and scatter-brained Eli of the past few weeks? You know which one the Giants need.

Victor Cruz: He simply hasn't been the salsa-dancing, touchdown-making sensation Giants' fans have come to love in recent weeks. The Giants need him to find his play-making form.

Lawrence Tynes: The field-goal kicker is having a historically good season, but it sure would be nice if the Giants would stop needing him so often. He has attempted a league-high 31 field goals, which is why he leads the league with 28 makes. He also leads the league in points per game with 10.9.

Packers

Aaron Rodgers: If I have to explain why he is on this list, you aren't a football fan.

Randall Cobb: The second-year wide receiver has become the Packers' best offensive weapon. Cobb can burn a defense receiving, returning punts and kickoffs, even running the ball. If the Giants can contain him their chances of slowing Green Bay's potent offense improve dramatically.

Clay Matthews: The all-everything linebacker won't play for Green Bay Sunday. We will find out if the Packers' defense can hold the Giants down without him.

Storylines

Giants: Yeah, we know. It's still November and the Giants have lost six straight in November. The Giants have bigger things to worry about, like not putting themselves in a position where the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys could pull into a tie for the NFC East lead in a week. Like figuring out how to get Eli Manning and their slumping offense kick-started. Like dealing with Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb.

Packers: The Packers have won five straight and are tied atop the NFC North with the Chicago Bears at 7-3. Green Bay is still stinging from last season's 37-20 playoff loss to the Giants, a game during which the Packers felt they simply did not play like themselves.

Injury Report
Giants Packers
OUT
WR Domenik Hixon (ankle) LB Terrell Manning (shoulder)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee) LB Clay Matthews (hamstring)
CB Sam Shields (ankle)
CB Charles Woodson (collarbone)
QUESTIONABLE
S Kenny Phillips (knee) WR Greg Jennings (groin, abdomen)
LB Keith Rivers (knee) TE Andrew Quarless (knee)
PROBABLE
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/neck) WR Donald Driver (thumb)
DT Linval Joseph (knee) RB John Kuhn (hamstring)
C David Baas (ankle, elbow) DE B.J. Raji (ankle)
S Tyler Sash (ankle) LB Vic So'oto (illness)
G Chris Snee (ankle) LB Erik Walden (ankle)

Mood Music

I chose this 'Guns 'N Roses' song if for no other reason than the song title fits what the Giants go through every November. Plus, I like the song.

Guns N' Roses Ft. Sir Elton John Playing November Rain (via jdd555)

Quotable

"I’m anxious to see how we come out and play because I feel like we need to respond to the key games that we’ve lost and we also need to prove that we are still world champions and play like it at some point."

-- Osi Umenyiora

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