October 8, 2016

Packers, Giants Primed for a Sunday Night Shootout

Two of the NFL’s most depleted and undermanned secondaries face off Sunday night against quarterbacks with a combined three Super Bowl titles, three Super Bowl MVPs and nine Pro Bowls. Expect fireworks, scoring and lots of big plays.
Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers
Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers face off on SNF
7:30 p.m. on NBC

Green Bay’s pass defense ranks 29th in passing yards surrendered while opposing quarterbacks have tallied the fourth best QB rating against the Packers (105.3). No one is surprised – no. 1 corner Sam Shields will miss his third straight game with a concussion, Damarious Randall has been bothered by thumb and groin injuries that he’ll play through and safety Morgan Burnett returns from his hamstring issue.

Green Bay’s defensive back field has looked confused, clumsy and at times completely incapable of stopping above-average receivers. Detroit’s Marvin Jones and Minnesota’s Stefan Diggs shredded the stat sheet with gaudy numbers in two consecutive weeks – what will one of the league’s most explosive WRs do? Odell Beckham Jr. wants to shut up his critics and what better time than Sunday Night Football against a under-performing Green Bay secondary?

For New York, it might be worse. Eli Apple, the first round CB taken in this year’s draft did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday – his chances to play are slim.

Same goes for the Giants’ other starting CB, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin), who was active against the Vikings but only for emergency purposes. Fill-in Trevin Wade started and Sam Bradford completed multiple big plays against him in the Vikings’ 24-10 win. And lastly, two Giants safeties – Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) haven’t practiced this week and are not likely to play.

Among the Packers WRs, Randall Cobb is off to an underwhelming start to 2016, 12 catches for 132 yards and no touchdowns. Expect that to change Sunday night. Cobb shines when the lights are bright and with Jordy Nelson seemingly back to near full juice, Cobb should have more room underneath to exploit New York’s below average linebackers.
Randall Cobb Sick Catch Against Detroit Lions
Randall Cobb is poised for a big game Sunday night

If the Packers can establish and commit to running the ball early, it will create single coverage and open up big play opportunities for the WRs. The over/under is a mere 48,which I believe will be easily eclipsed.

Green Bay pushes on the gas pedal and wins a shootout, 45-31 on the shoulders of another 4 TDs from Aaron Rodgers and a big day from Randall Cobb (100+ yards receiving, 2 TDs). Beckham Jr. gets his too, with 150+ receiving yards and 2 TDs, but multiple New York turnovers are impossible to overcome in front of the giddy Sunday night Lambeau crazies.

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