The New York Giants (3-6) play host to the Green Bay Packers (5-4) on Sunday afternoon, with both teams trying to stay afloat in their respective divisional races. After an 0-6 start, the Giants are within reach of the Eagles and Cowboys, both at 5-5 entering Week 11. The Packers, on the other hand, are a game back of the Detroit Lions, but are attempting to stay ahead of the Chicago Bears, with both squads dealing with injuries to their quarterbacks.
The Giants and Packers have met quite a bit in past few years. Eli Manning owns a 4-1 mark against them, including much playoff success. He'll try and help the Giants remain in playoff contention against Green Bay this week.
Here's five things we're keying on this Sunday:
Justin Tuck vs. Don Barclay
Tuck has been a menace for the Packers in recent years, with three career sacks against the Cheese Heads. With Jason Pierre-Paul anything but a lock to suit up Sunday, the responsibility of putting pressure on Scott Tolzien could fall solely onto Tuck's shoulders.
The Packers' pass protection is the best the team has had in years, ranking 19th in the league having allowed just 23 sacks. Of course, the Giants catch a little bit of a break facing third-stringer Scott Tolzien. The team has seven sacks in the past two weeks.
Andre Brown vs. Packers Front Seven
Brown wasted no time in his season debut, carrying the rock 30 times for 115 yards and a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. The Pack is holding opposing teams to 107 yards per game on the ground, but last week allowed LeSean McCoy to gash them for 155 yards.
Just the threat of a running game will pay dividends for New York, which can use Brown to set up the play-action pass. If not, it also helps the Giants continue their consistent "chunk-yardage" offensive approach.
Eddie Lacy vs. Jon Beason
A quarterback's best friend? Of course, it's a running game. And the Packers have relied on Lacy in recent weeks while Aaron Rodgers has been sidelined.
Lacy is a bonafide Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, with almost 700 yards and four touchdowns already this season. The Packers' rushing attack, which was non-existent in recent years, now averaged 143 yards per game.
The Giants, however, have been excellent in defending the run for most of the season, having allowed 185 yards total rushing yards during the three-game win streak. Beason has been a catalyst for the Giants' D, and Lacy will almost certainly be a focal point of the defensive game plan.
Clay Matthews vs. Will Beatty
Matthews returned from injury last week after missing about a month's worth of action. But the All Pro linebacker showed signs of rust, racking up just two tackles in his return.
Of course, with a pass rusher as talented and as capable as Matthews, keeping him off his game is a must. And Beatty, the left tackle who will be responsible for handling Matthews off the edge, has been playing much better of late, though not up to the standards they expected after a breakout 2012 campaign.
Eli Manning vs. Packers Secondary
Nick Foles gashed the Packers' secondary for three touchdowns last week. According to Pro Football Focus, Foles went 3-for-4 for 132 yards and 3 touchdowns on throws 20+ yards.
The Packers' secondary has held opposing signal-callers to pretty low numbers in terms of yardage all season long. However, against more prolific offenses such as the Chicago Bears' and Eagles', the Packers have allowed more than 400 total yards in back-to-back weeks.
While the Giants, statistically, do not amount to the Bears or Eagles, we all know it has the potential to be just as dynamic. But the strategy of late -- taking what the defense gives them -- may be the best against the Pack. Cornerbacks Tramon Williams ranks 38th and Sam Shields is 47th in overall coverage grades, respectively, according to PFF, but have been able cut down on big plays. Manning should be able to find success in the short-passing game.
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