Hakeem Nicks cannot catch a ball in the end zone while defended by Green Bay Packers corner back Davon House. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports photograph
The Green Bay Packers go on the road this week and face the 3-6 New York Giants. The Packers will once again be without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien will get his first NFL start in Rodgers’ place, despite Green Bay signing Matt Flynn this week.
Tolzien had a decent NFL debut in the loss against Philadelphia after Seneca Wallace left the game following the first series, but the Packers will need more production out the young quarterback when they travel to New York and face a Giants defense that ranks 22nd in the league.
The Packers will also be looking for improved play on the defensive side of the ball this week. Their defense has given up key drives late in the fourth quarter the past two weeks and continues to struggles this season in forcing turnovers. Their secondary currently ranks last in the league in interceptions with only two on the season (Mike Neal has the team’s third one).
This all may change Sunday when the Packers defense will face Eli Manning who’s thrown a league-leading 16 interceptions this year. Clay Matthews may also play wearing a brace on his hand instead of a club. This will allow him to use both hands in the game and should make him a more effective pass rusher.
Having said this, there are still a lot of unknowns heading into the Packers’ week eleven matchup against a Giants team that seems pretty unpredictable at this point in the season.
We put Joe on the hot seat, and here is what he had to say. Enjoy his insight.
Packers vs. Giants Q&A with Joe Tufaro
Tracy Porter breaks up a a pass intended for New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports photograph
1) The Giants began the season 0-6. Now, they’re on a three-game winning streak. What has been the key to their turnaround? What do you expect from them going forward?
Actually the biggest difference has been the play of the defense, but not turning the ball over at an alarming rate has helped. Here is the difference. The defense limited Adrian Peterson and forced Josh Freeman to beat them, and he couldn’t. They stopped LeSean McCoy cold and forced Michael Vick out of the game and Nick Foles to falter. They stopped Terrell Pryor from running, and he failed passing the ball. The defense has given up one touchdown in three and a half games, and that was on a fumbled kickoff where the drive started on their own 4-yard line. The defense with Jon Beason, and Antrel Rolle back in his natural position at safety has been magnificent.
Jared Allen grabs Eli Manning. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports photograph
2) Eli Manning appears to be having a down year this season and leads the league in interceptions with 16. Manning is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and has gotten the best of the Packers in the past. Briefly explain his play this season and tell us what we should expect from him this week against Green Bay.
Eli has been a disaster. At first it was the O-Line that let him down, then some receivers running poor routes, but overall his decision making has been poor and he has taken too many hits. Any week you expect Eli to be Eli, and with Andre Brown back he has a balanced attack to help him run the offense the correct way. I always expect him to find all his weapons and spread the ball around.
3) The Giants received linebacker Jon Beason from the Panthers earlier this season via trade. What has been his impact to this team?
The Giants had been missing an experienced linebacker for a few years now. Just to have someone who has called the signals before for the defense is a plus. His toughness and smarts have secured the middle of the field for the Giant defense.
Justin Tuck puts pressure on Michael Vick during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O photograph
4) With Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants used to be known for their ability to pressure the quarterback. Currently, they rank 30th in league with only 14 sacks. In your opinion, what’s the main reason for this decline?
First, there have been health issues for both of them, but teams adjust to quicker routes, shorter drops, and extra protection too. Both have benefitted recently by the push up the middle from the likes of Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, and Linval Joseph. Also, I think the stats don’t tell the entire story. Holding calls, intentional grounding, forcing bad throws or throwaways keep sack numbers down, but they still accomplish the mission.
Reuben Randle. Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports photograph
5) Give us one Giants player on each side of the ball we may not know a lot about but could impact the game this Sunday.
Reuben Randle on offense and Trumaine McBride on defense. Randle is a safe punt returner and a very good wideout. He has better speed than Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz and catches the ball with his hands. He may be the reason the Giants can play a little hardball with Nicks when his contract is due at the end of the year. McBride has been around but has stepped in for Corey Webster and been steady of not spectacular. Safety Will Hill might catch your eye as well as the amazing story of Terrell Thomas coming of three ACL surgeries on the same knee.
6) In your opinion, what is the most favorable matchup for the Giants against the Packers this week? What is the least favorable matchup?
Not sure how mobile Scott Tolzein is, or what he has seen as far as blitzes and coverages. I would say that is to our advantage. Least favorable is your pass rush vs. our bad offensive line.
7) Give us your game prediction with a brief explanation, final score, and any other closing thoughts you’d like to leave with us.
Giants need this one to make the Dallas game mean something. I think they come out and stop the run eventually and see if Tolzien can beat them. Giants win this one 31-17
I would just like to thank Joe from GMen HQ for taking the time to answer our questions about this week’s Packers-Giants matchup. Check back in here at Lombardi Ave for our live game day chat, beginning fifteen minutes prior to kickoff.