[As I've previously noted, this is a difficult week for me to do much writing on this blog. Please accept this mini-preview in lieu of my normal, more robust look at the game. Sorry for any disappointment this may have caused! - Jon]
You've heard all week about how the Packers are tied for the lead in the NFC North and how everything's great and all the memories of the 2-3 start have been erased.
That's a great story, but there's still work to do. The Packers have to face Chicago on the road, Detroit at home, and Minnesota twice before they can say they've won anything at all, and before any of that can happen, there's the small matter of the New York Giants.
Remove any doubts about this team from your mind. Their record isn't great, Eli Manning has been in a funk this year, and the NFC East is generally underwhelming, but the Giants are a dangerous, dangerous football team that does a lot of things well, starting with their pass rush. Speaking of...
Meet a Giant - Jason Pierre-Paul - 6'5", 278 lbs - DE - 3rd NFL season
I mean this in the nicest way possible: Jason Pierre-Paul is a freak. He has arms that are approximately eight feet long, he runs like a sprinter, and can probably dunk a basketball just by thinking about it. Tony Romo knows all about his insane athleticism (warning: insane person yelling at the end]:
His conventional stats are down this year (6.5 sacks through ten games), but he's clearly still having an impact. The Packers should be very concerned about Mr. Pierre-Paul.
The Giants will win if...
...Jason Pierre-Paul and his fearsome running mates do their jobs well. Obviously, the Packers have some questions on the offensive line, so pressuring Aaron Rodgers should be a little bit easier for New York than it might have been otherwise.
The Packers will win if...
...Aaron Rodgers survives the pressure that's sure to come. Nick Fairley manhandled the Packers' offensive line last week, and although he's a good player in his own right, I don't think he's a Jason Pierre-Paul or a Justin Tuck. Although the game will likely be billed as Manning versus Rodgers, the reality is that the bigger confrontation is probably between the Giants' defensive line and the Packers' offensive line.
The Pick - Giants: 24 Packers: 17
I don't think this bodes as a good match-up for the Packers. They're hurting in the wrong places right now and the Giants have the personnel to take advantage. I do think the Packers are probably the better team overall, but in light of their injury woes, it's difficult for me to see this one going Green Bay's way.