[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eli_Manning_vs_Texans_October_2010.jpg”]
The New York Giants victory over the Atlanta Falcons provided us with a glimpse of just how they may be able to pull off the unthinkable: defeat the favoured Packers in Green Bay this weekend.Here’s what the Giants need to replicate from their wild card win to make it to the NFC Championship game:
STOP the passing game: Yes we know, Matt Ryan is no Aaron Rodgers, but he’s not chump change, either. The Giants held Ryan, who threw for more than 4,000 yards during the regular season, to under 200 yards passing, less than 5 yards per attempt, and kept him out of the end zone. New York came into the game with the fourth-worst passing defence in the NFL, but its secondary finally showed up and kept a top 10 passing attack in check.
Run the football: Much like their woeful pass defence, the Giants running game was abysmal in 2011. New York ranked dead last in rushing, yet somehow found a way to control the clock and put up 172 yards rushing against Atlanta. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw split the load (14 carries each) for 92 and 63 yards, respectively. Pounding the ball on the ground would be huge in keeping Rodgers and the vaunted Packers offence off the field as well.
Cut down on turnovers: The one issue with Eli Manning’s monstrous season (nearly 5,000 yards passing) was his 16 interceptions and 6 fumbles. He didn’t throw any against Atlanta and no other Giant gave the ball away. Green Bay was second in the league in takeaways at +24, with 31 interceptions. Translation: Eli will have to hold on to the football.
The New York Giants team we saw in the wild card playoffs is not the same team we’ve seen in every game of 2011, just the best version of it. A similar performance this weekend in Green Bay and they’ll be just a win away from the Super Bowl.