We definitely cannot sleep on the Packers just because Aaron Rodgers has been ruled inactive. Granted, the Packers are a completely different team with Rodgers at the helm, but all the offensive weapons are still pretty much the same.
And as for Scott Tolzien, other than two interceptions last Sunday against the Eagles, he actually didn’t do too bad. But the Giants’ defense is playing much better than the Eagles’ defense.
The key for Big Blue will be stopping the Packers’ running game led by Eddie Lacy and James Starks. The defense has done a great job all year of containing some of the league’s best running backs, so if they continue that trend, the ball will be placed in Tolzien’s hands to try to make plays. I’m pretty confident that if that’s case, the Giants will be in good shape, at least defensively.
As for offense, sure it was great to see Andre Brown go off against the Raiders, but a more balanced attack of Brown and Peyton Hillis will go a long way. And of course, Eli Manning has to limit the mistakes (we’ve been saying this all season).
The Giants’ defense will keep them in this game as Manning tries to put together a few scoring drives. Especially if the G-Men can prevent big plays, they’ll be poised for their fourth straight win. Giants 24, Packers 17
It always comes down to strengths vs weaknesses. The Packers' offense has been excellent all year. But that was behind All-World QB Aaron Rodgers and a healthy O-line. With no Rodgers today and two of the five starters on the line battling knee injuries (C Evan Dietrich-Smith and RT Don Barclay), Green Bay will be hard-pressed to have much success against the suddenly staunch Giants defense.
As Jim mentioned above, the Giants have shut down some of the league's top RBs and Eddie Lacy, a straight-ahead style back, could be in for a long day. That would put the onus on Tolzien to beat the Giants through the air on the road. Hard to see that happening.
This game will come down to what every Giant game comes down to: turnovers. If the Giants play a clean game today, they'll walk out of here winners. Then again, the Giants have been shooting themselves in the foot all season long so it's difficult to imagine them playing a turnover-free game.
On the flipside, expect the Giants to force Tolzien into errors. Eli Manning should have little trouble finding his targets this afternoon (they're the ones in the blue shirts, btw) especially with CB Casey Hayward out. Giants 31, Packers 20.