Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants: Essential matchups

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Green Bay Packers fans, by and large, understand that early bye weeks are frowned upon due to the belief that most teams are healthier in the first month of the season than they will be at any other point.

But a one-week break may have come at the right time for the Green Bay Packers this year given the fact that they will get two key defenders back in the fold on Sunday night in the form of safety Morgan Burnett and all-world pass rusher Clay Matthews.

Both will be needed to keep a multi-faceted Giants’ passing game in check.

Last time we saw the boys from Packers News in action, they came off a second-consecutive performance in which one of the opposing team’s wide receivers went off and tore Green Bay’s young secondary to shreds.

Their Week 5 assignment doesn’t get any easier against a trio of wideouts in Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard that are all capable of snagging a short toss and taking it all the way to pay dirt from any part of the field.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers has to continue spreading the ball among his weapons and make a concerted effort to get Randall Cobb more involved in the flow of the things, particularly without the presence of Jared Cook occupying the middle of the field.

But more importantly, the Packers will need to employ the same type high-tempo attack the Vikings implemented at various times to put the G-men on their heels Monday night. Big Blue’s defense, in fact, seemed especially vulnerable against the no-huddle.

Look for Rodgers and company to keep their feet on the gas pedal early in hopes of bludgeoning their NFC East foes in the second half with a power running game featuring Eddie Lacy, just as they did when finishing off the Lions in Green Bay’s Week 3 home opener.

Although Giants’ cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple should both be back at full strength, Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is woefully thin at safety as both Nat Berhe and Darian Thompson continue to battle head and foot injuries, respectively.

Exploiting matchups over the middle becomes crucial, but that’s only one aspect of this meeting we should focus on in developing a clear idea about which side is better prepared to claim victory.

Here are your essential matchups.