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Giants at Packers

NFC Divisional Playoffs

Pick With Analysis

1/15/12

The Final playoff game of the weekend is an NFC Divisional round matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. The high powered Packers offense opened as -7.5 point favorites over the Giants, rose briefly to as high as -9 and has settled back down to -7.5 at betonline. The total, as you might expect, is the highest of the weekend, at 52.5 points.

Let's face it, this game holds some intrigue. It does so, because you can make a case for the underdog Giants here. The ingredients are there. You have a Giants team, with experience in all the right places, seemingly coming together at just the right time. You have to respect what the Giants have done over the course of their last 6 games. Actually, in those 6 games, were 2 games with not as much meaning. Their 1st game against the Packers wasn't a must win and their game against the Skins was meaningless.

But when you look at the 4 games they had to have, two against the Cowboys, one against the Jets and then last week against the Falcons, you have to be impressed. This team has essentially won 4 playoff games and they did so in what was for the most part, dominating fashion. In other words, they put some distance between themselves and their opponents in all but one of those games, the one in Dallas where they came from behind late to win.

The Giants have a QB in Eli Manning who has been there and done that. He's performed on the biggest stage of them all and won. Heck, he's performed on THIS stage, in Green Bay, in the NFC Championship, and won. The guy can put the team on his back without question. He's a winner. Combine that with a pass rush and a defense that seems to have found it's way home along with receivers like Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks making big plays. If you're a Giants fan, you have hope.

You have hope because the Packers aren't exactly a defensive powerhouse. This Packers team gives up some big time yardage. How about 411 yards per game on average! Even worse in home games at 422 yards per game and giving up 6.5 yards per play. You have to like the chances that your team will be able to move the ball and score some points on Sunday.

Lastly, the Giants are in a groove. We've see this happen before. A team like the Packers wraps up home field advantage early. They have essentially been off for 3 weeks now. Starters sat the last game of the year, then last weeks bye, which leads to this weeks game. Meanwhile, the Giants have been playing playoff games every week for a month. Might the Pack be a little rusty?

Now the case for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is playing out of this world. He's having the season of a lifetime and that's saying something considering he won the Super Bowl last year and was the MVP. No one has been able to stop this Packers offense and that doesn't figure to change this week.

As far as the Packers defense goes, consider this. The Packers defense may be ranked 32nd, but they also lead the NFL in interceptions and by a wide margin. Maybe they aren't all that bad after all. Also consider that, some of those bad defensive numbers may be inflated. When you're up by 2 or 3 TD's with regularity, teams are going to throw the ball more and you're going to allow them to do so, under certain circumstances. We're not saying this Packers defense is really a great defense in disguise. Just saying that they may not be as bad as advertised and you can't ignore the interceptions.

The Giants yards per point numbers on the road are 15 on both sides of the ball. The Packers numbers at home are 10.4 on offense and 19.7. Very good. A big edge for the Packers if you take into account each teams entire season. The Packers may give up some yards, but they don't give up the points to go along with those yards.

Lastly, our NFL model predicts a 40-23 Packers win.

We love underdogs and would love to back the Giants here. But, we see this game going to Green Bay. You don't go 15-1 in the NFL (8-0 at home) without being damn good. Expect this one to be a good, entertaining game. But also expect the Pack to pull away in the 2nd half and expect turnovers to be key. Just as in the Ravens game, we aren't willing to lay more than a TD. So, if you get -7 naturally, buy it. Packers -7

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