Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants: Essential matchups
Eli Manning versus Packers’ Pass Rush
Big Blue’s offense was out of sorts against a fearsome Minnesota defense. Manning seemed to be solely focused on getting the ball out as quickly as possible to avoid getting sacked which often resulted in rushed throws his receivers weren’t ready for.
This week, the Packers get Matthews back as he’s completely healed from a hamstring injury that put him on the shelf in Week 3.
But Green Bay’s pass rush was a force to be reckoned even without “The Claymaker” as Nick Perry has turned into a week-to-week dynamic force that’s putting every one of his opponents on alert. In three games, the fifth-year outside linebacker has 3.5 sacks and five hurries.
The 36-year-old Julius Peppers also performed admirably in the absence of Matthews by using his considerable length and raw power to collapse the pocket.
And although Datone Jones has been quiet of late, rookie edge rusher Kyler Fackrell has shown serious signs of progress in recent weeks by employing deceptive moves in beating the blocker in front of him.
At this point in the season, the Packers rank sixth in sacks (10) despite playing one fewer game than every other NFL team with the exception of the Eagles. The prediction here is for Dom Capers’ front seven to add on to their impressive sack total considering the poor job Giants’ left tackle Ereck Flowers has done in pass protection.
Flowers’ sloppy footwork and a tendency to narrow his base is often the reason why the 2015 first-round pick (yes, that’s not a misprint—he was really a first-round pick!) has to resort to holding his opponents, which earns him his fair share of penalties.
The strength of New York’s offensive line lies in the interior with Justin Pugh and John Jerry at the guard positions and Weston Richburg at center. All three will have their hands full in stopping the indomitable force known as Mike Daniels, who’s currently sits third overall among interior defensive linemen with a PFF score of 84.9.
No one has come close to outleveraging the inside enforcer. The Giants may want to consider double-teaming him.