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NFL Playoffs: Five Keys to a Giants’ Victory in Green Bay

Brad Wing (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Brad Wing (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Giants last played the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, where the Packers defeated the Giants 23-16. The Giants performance in that game was, to say the least, unimpressive. Now we enter the playoffs with both teams meeting again at Lambeau Field. This, however, is a different Giants team than the one that appeared in prime time television in Week 5.

We have witnessed the Giants progress before our eyes week by week this season. After looking at the Week 5 game film and looking at the Giants as a whole throughout the season, here are the keys that will lead to a Giants victory in the Wild Card round against the Packers.

Utilize the Blitz Against Aaron Rodgers

One of the reasons why the Giants were unable to defeat the Packers earlier this season was due to a lack of pressure from the defense. The Giants front four were unable to break past the Green Bay offensive line, leaving Rodgers what seemed like a number of minutes in the pocket. In the process, Rodgers was able to complete passes to a receiver who found an opening, or to rush the ball himself up the field for the first down.

As the season went on, the Giants defense, in all seriousness, has gotten scarier and more dominant than ever. Collins, Harrison, Vernon, Jenkins, and Rodgers-Cromartie went on to have All-Pro seasons. As their play progressed, so did their pressure on the quarterback. Since Week 5, the Giants defense has collected 31 quarterback sacks. In order to defeat Aaron Rodgers, the Giants must put him in a hole, knock him backwards, and the best way to do that is to call the blitz.

Manning Must Take Advantage of a Weak Packers’ Secondary

It’s the playoffs, which only means one thing. It’s “Playoff Eli” Time. It couldn’t come at a better time for the Giants. The Giants have the opportunity to finally get the pass game rolling on all cylinders against an otherwise weak Packers secondary.

Green Bay’s secondary has been injury plagued this season, resorting to a lot of Green Bay’s defense to play out of their ordinary positions. As a result, the Packers defense has given up 269.2 passing yards per game (2nd most in NFL) and 32 pass touchdowns (3rd most in NFL).

With Odell Beckham playing at his normal pace (in other words, RIDICULOUS PACE), Sterling Shepard emerging as the second receiver coming out of college, the veteran presence of Victor Cruz, and the unpredictable nature that Roger Lewis and Tavarres King can bring, Manning has so many options to impose his will on the Packers secondary. If the Giants offense can put up 20+ points and the defense can hold Rodgers off like they have to other QB’s this season, the Giants have a great chance of winning and advancing to the Divisional Round.

Feed Perkins the Ball

Paul Perkins has proven that he should be the unanimous starter for the Giants for the playoffs and for next season.

The Giants running back committee has been like a revolving door. Losing Vereen to a triceps injury earlier in the season, returned from injury, but was later placed on injured reserve after re-injuring his triceps. Jennings has been underwhelming this season, doesn’t show the type of cutting that made him dangerous last season, although performing well on the goal-line.

Perkins showed last week that he can be the bell-cow for the Giants, rushing for 102 yards on 21 carries. His 102 yard performance was the first 100+ rushing yard performance from a Giants running back this season, coming on the last game of the regular season. Perkins exhibited his speeds and cutting ability against the Redskins defense. Not only did it help the Giants move down the field, but it also helped the Giants kill the clock, something they were not able to do the majority of the season.

The Giants need to rid themselves the revolving door of RBs and give Perkins the bulk of the carries. It will only prove dividends for the Giants.

Let Beckham Return Punts

This one might be a strange request, for sure. What time of the season is it? It’s playoff season. Coaches use their best players in any situation that they find to be beneficial to the team. So why not let Beckham return punts during the game. We have seen this season the potential damage that Beckham can cause to the opposing team’s special teams.

Beckham did have two would-be return touchdowns called back by holding, but it was unbelievable to witness the speed that Beckham exudes on the return. It’s the playoffs and you do whatever it takes to win. So put Beckham out there and see what he can do. It could lead to a game changing play in the Giants favor.

Wing’s Superb Punting

Brad Wing was acquired last season in a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had a good showing. This season, Wing has been a true difference maker for the Giants. I know what you’re saying, “A Punter’s a Difference Maker? Really?” Yes, really.

Wing is a master at punting the ball inside the opposing teams own 20 yard line. Look back at Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys. Wing had five punts inside the 20 yard line, two of them forcing the Cowboys offense to start on their own three yard line. These punts helped give the Giants defense great field position to unleash terror on Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.

So, yes, Brad Wing is a difference maker for the Giants. Great punts lead to horrible field position for the opposition, which become much worse for them when the Giants defense trot onto the field and unleash their will.

If the Giants are able to do these five things against the Packers this Sunday, the Giants will be advancing to the Divisional Round to face the Dallas Cowboys. Get ready, this Giants-Packers matchup is going to be a good one.

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