I am not a big fan of everything that Mike Francesa says, but I was listening to him give his monologue Friday and I think he made a lot of very good points:
1) The Giants are a big play team. They are #1 in the league in plays for 30+ yds. Do not try to make them a possession/run team.
2) The Packers have won their last 13 in Lambeau. This is not going to be an easy game in any scenario.
3) The Giants do have a shot, a credible shot. (Of course..) They will need the pass rush to win this game.
4) Look for some no-huddle from the Packers at certain times when they like what they have vs the Giants defensive package, ie w/o Osi (who is playing more on passing downs) and Tuck on that particular snap.
5) Of course the Giants will run for balance. But they do not have an effective running game. It shows in how weak they are in short yardage. Despite their run success in recent games, asterisks abound, ie Giants run yardage piled on vs ATL later when the game was already getting out of reach.
6) Aaron Rodgers is special. It will take a very strong effort to win against him.
7) Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are always well prepared. Their OL may be coming back from injury, but they'll make sure they are ready.
8) Re the bye, in the old days, it helped the #1 and #2 seeds. But in today's game, every team is so close in talent that the bye is working in favor of the teams that have to play through the wild card round.
9) Relaying a conversation from another NFL coach, Mike passes along the coach's comment that "the Giants, when they come out on the field, they are MEN."
10) I think that earlier in the week, Mike also said the following- you cannot dig a hole vs Rodgers and the Packers.
Andy here. Usually I agree with a majority of Mike Francesa says because he obviously knows a lot, but typically I will disagree with him on one or two points somewhere. Not today. Today, everything he said was pitch perfect. Namely, the Giants have a credible shot in this game, but do not go thinking this is the Giants game to lose. It is ultimately the Packers game to lose. If the Packers play their 'A game' and the Giants play theirs, it will be a great game, a close game. But the edge will go to Aaron Rodgers/Packers because he is the best in the game.
Mike Francesa's point about not being a possession team does NOT contradict what we have been saying about small ball. We advocate "Small ball" so that Eli can be in more of a rhythm so that he can be fluid for the big play. You get more opportunities for more big plays when you move the sticks. And since we agree that the Giants run game is not who the Giants are, we say that you use the 'small ball' passing game to your RB and TE as a way to give the offense the same balance that you would otherwise get from a more effective running game.
Can the Giants win? Definitely. I do not agree with the point spread, as I feel that America wants to put their money on the cheeseheads to buy a piece of the champions. That is Vegas, balancing the money (which incidentally, did get bet down to 7.5, but is back to 8).
I would make the spread somewhere between 4 and 6 points. This is where Mike's point about the bye (#8) is so true... the Colts won as a team that did not have the bye. The Giants won w/o the bye. They lost when they had the bye. AZ came oh so close to winning the Super Bowl, and they were w/o the bye. Green Bay won last year as the wild card. So the Giants have to use that rhythm of playing through to remain competitive and get off to a great start in Q1. Attention Kevin Gilbride- do not have any ideas of taking Q1 off, like your offense did vs the Jets and Falcons.
The reason why the Giants had so much competitiveness vs GB in the first game was because they hit Beckum for a TD early and were there for 60 minutes. Anything less will not be enough on Sunday. They can win this game but it will not be with too many mistakes. So many on this blog are remembering the Dallas '07 playoff matchup. GOOD. Remember that it took a lot of luck AND 60 minutes to beat them. (Maybe this time, if we have the lead with 9:27 left in Q4, we won't go prevent, eh Kevin???!)