These two teams meet for the first time since the New York Giants shocked the Green Bay Packers when they eliminated them from the 2012 playoffs in the divisional round (8.25pm ET, Sunday).
Despite being favored by three points on the sportsbooks, New York doesn’t exactly have a reason to feel confident about this game. Not only are they on a two game losing streak, but Green Bay meanwhile is on a five game winning streak. Plus, there is a little matter of what happened last year in the first round of the playoffs.
For the Packers, Revenge Matters
You won’t hear Aaron Rodgers say it, but it is certain he and his teammates are bitter about how their season ended last year. At the hands of the Giants, the 15-1 Packers were handed their worst loss of the season as New York dominate all facets of the game to win 37-20.
This year, once again the Packers possess the better record. Once again, Green Bay is looking strong to make the playoffs while a second half sputter of the Giants looks as well to be setting in. Much is the same but there is added motivation for the Packers. And in football, added motivation can be the deciding factor between two above average teams.
If the Packers do in fact avenge their tough loss, not only will they have succeeded in their goal but at the same time, will make their road to the postseason that much easier. The win will put them at 8-3 and in a good position to potentially pass the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers for a better playoff seed.
Which Quarterback is Truly “Elite”?
Over the course of the past few years, the brilliant minds behind the NFL QB rankings found themselves shifting the places on the all-important top five. After his dominant 2011 season that rivals some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers topped the list. Drew Brees and Tom Brady were once again in the perennial top five but replacing brother Peyton was Eli Manning of the Giants.
Manning cemented his status as one of the best in the game as he proved in 2011 that he was the most clutch quarterback in the fourth quarter. He orchestrated game winning drives and was a big part of why New York was able to win yet another Super Bowl over the New England Patriots.
So with recent years showing these two playing their best football of their careers, both have risen to the ranks of the elite. The only question is, which QB will actually appear elite Sunday night?
- Aaron Rodgers 2012 Stats: 107.3 RAT, 2,619 YDS, 27 TD
Despite the monstrous numbers, Rodgers’ 2011 campaign did not get off to a smooth start. He threw for over 225 yards just once in the team’s first three games and had three touchdowns to two interceptions. The Packers as a result, fell to a 1-2 and then 2-3 record. Chicago was at the time, undefeated and it didn’t look good for the Packers to repeat as NFC North Champions.
That all changed however when Rodgers put together back-to-back great starts. He passed for over 330 yards in both games and had nine touchdowns with not one interception. The Packers won both games.
Since reaching the record of 4-3, the Packers have been undefeated. Rodgers gets most of this credit despite his numbers being just good and not really elite. In the past three games, Rodgers has thrown for just 640 total yards. He also has eight touchdowns and two interceptions in that time.
It is tough to use numbers that solid against Rodgers’, but after what he did last season, the level of his play is judged more against his previous body of work than his competition. Compared to last year, Rodgers’ has not been elite. He has certainly not been bad however as his stats are still good enough for tops in the league. Although he has already matched his interception total for 2011, he is the only quarterback to not have thrown more than one in a single game this season.
- Eli Manning 2012 Stats: 81.8 RAT, 2,641 YDS, 12 TD
The course of Manning’s season has actually been going in the opposite direction of his competitor as his numbers actually were better than Rodgers’ at the beginning of the season. Manning got the Giants off to a 6-2 record which included five games of which he eclipsed 280 passing yards and six games in which he threw one or less interception per game.
Last year’s most clutch quarterback wasn’t able to keep up those numbers or that mantra as he began to uncharacteristically struggle in the third and fourth quarter of games. This has resulted in a two game losing streak as Manning, who is without a touchdown in his last three games and his last 99+ passing attempts, has been unable to bring the team back when they have been staked to deficits.
Who is Elite?
Just like Rodgers’, Manning has shown glimpses of the elite quarterback that won his second Super Bowl ring last year. He has shown flashes but ultimately, has not been able to maintain strong numbers.
Because these two teams are so evenly matched on offense and defense, the quarterback that emerges as the better signal caller could easily be the one to win the game for his team.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants Betting Picks Advice
The Giants and Packers really complement each other in a lot of ways. Both teams have marquee passing offenses and both have feared defensive ends. The way the Giants have been playing as of late, I have to pick the Packers to beat the spread. Rodgers may have cooled down but his Packers are still hot and with another expected solid performance, will get their sixth in a row and will do so by more than a field goal.
- So the value wager looks to bet on the Green Bay Packers +2.5pts @ +105 with BetOnline Sportsbook. Interestingly, Bovada’s odds are pretty different currently as they go GB + 3pts @ odds of just -130.
- NOTE to Non-Americans: Place this bet with Bet365.