THE GAME: The Giants (2-2) at the Green Bay Packers (2-1) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday, Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET.
THE WEATHER: Call it the not-so-frozen tundra this time. It'll actually be a nice day in Green Bay with the temperature getting all the way up to 60, but when the sun goes down the temperatures will drop to the mid-40s.
WHAT IT MEANS: There is beginning to be the feel of chaos around the Giants, mostly due to the Odell Beckham, Jr. circus, but the two-game losing streak hasn't helped. The game in Minnesota was predictably awful, but between the penalties and the out-of-sync offense and the lack of sacks and turnovers from the defense a bad pattern is beginning to emerge. So again, it's too early for this to be a must-win. Let's call it a must-stop-the-bleeding game for the Giants. A three-game losing streak could be the beginning of a bad downhill roll, especially if the Giants' play doesn't improve.
PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Eli Manning. Yeah, I know. Odell Beckham. We'll get to him, I promise. But Manning has had some fantastic games in his career against the Packers, including two brilliant performances in Green Bay (in the playoffs … his one regular-season game there was a four-interception disaster in 2010). And the Giants need a big game from him. Nothing is working around him. The offensive line isn't offering a ton of protection. The game plan -- perhaps forced by that, or forced by the defense -- has become small ball. His receivers are out of sync. This is where the franchise quarterback has to step up and carry his team.
There are vulnerabilities in the Packers' secondary, particularly with cornerback Sam Shields out. Manning has to find a way to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers and he really has to find a way to get at least a few passes into their hands downfield. Mostly, though, he has to make sure the offense stays out of trouble. Turnovers here will put a very dangerous offense back on the field and turn this into a very long night for the Giants.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Giants WR Odell Beckham against Packers CB Damarious Randall. With Shields out with a concussion, the promising young Randall figured to be the guy glued to Beckham all game. But he's been dealing with a groin injury, so now it's hard to say what the Packers will do. If they're forced to go only with second-year pros Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter and rookie Josh Hawkins, this could be an absolutely huge day for Beckham. Randall would certainly seem to be their best option to contain him.
The real question, though, is, how will he (or anyone else) try to do that? Will he man up and show some courage and just play football against Beckham, the way that Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan practically begged defensive backs to do? Or will he follow the lead of Josh Norman and Xavier Rhodes and their successful strategy of getting under Bekcham's skin and getting him off his game? It's safe to say everyone is watching to see what happens -- including the Giants, the league, and every future defensive back Beckham will face.
INJURY REPORT: The Giants' secondary remains a mess with two safeties out again -- Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) -- and two corners listed as questionable -- Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin). It's hard to say if either of the two corners will play, though Apple sounded very uncertain of that earlier this week. RB Rashad Jennings (thumb) is also questionable again, and it's a good bet that even if he does return you'll still see plenty of Orleans Darkwa as the workhorse back and Bobby Rainey and rookie Paul Perkins as the third-down back in for the injured Shane Vereen (triceps/IR). Right tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf) is again out, so Bobby Hart has to fill in for him again. And tight end Larry Donnell is out with a concussion, leaving Will Tye and rookie Jerrell Adams to handle all the tight end duties themselves.
For the Packers, cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) is out again, which is a big blow to their already questionable secondary. And TE Jared Cook (ankle) won't be playing, either. Randall, meanwhile, is nursing a groin injury but he is expected to play, as is LB Clay Matthews, who has ankle and hamstring issues.
THE PICK: This is a Packers team that is pretty dangerous based on the talent on its roster, but it certainly doesn't look like the same old dangerous Packers based on the way they've played. The passing attack has been shockingly low octane. And if that continues, the Giants could be in great shape because the Packers' passing defense is full of holes and now it's banged up a bit, too. But here's the thing: The Packers have averaged under 200 yards passing per game, and there's almost no way that a group that includes Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will continue to be held in check like that for long.
Against a Giants' defense that has lacked a pass rush and is very banged up in the secondary, this could be just the game for them to get back on track. Of course, the same could be said for the Giants' too against the Packers' defense. And I do think they'll get back on track a little. But they have looked so out of sync lately in the passing game and that's worrisome. They also will almost certainly have trouble running the ball against the No. 1 rushing defense in the league that is allowing a ridiculous 42.1 yards per game (and an even more ridiculous 1.8 yards per carry). I think the Giants' play will improve in this game and I think Beckham will get his game back on track, too. In the end, though, and on the road I just don't think it will be enough. … Packers 32, Giants 27.
MY RECORD: 2-2.