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NFL Sunday Night Pick

John J. Raspanti


The Green Bay Packers roll into MetLife Stadium on the heels of a five game winning streak. Superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back to throwing touchdowns passes at an MVP rate. Rodgers has thrown for 27 touchdowns to just six interceptions despite leading the league with 32 sacks. Rodgers also leads the NFL with a passer rating of 107.3.

"I feel Aaron is having a very good season," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's what makes us go on offense."

The Giants and quarterback Eli Manning are on the other side of the spectrum. Two weeks ago they were manhandled by the Cincinnati Bengals 31-13. Manning has struggled to find the end zone. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since the Redskins game in October. Manning has completed 61 percent of his passes this season. The bye-week might have been the best thing to Manning and the Giants. Over his post-bye career, Manning has thrown for 10 touchdowns and only one interception.

"I think you just try and get rest and come back fresh," Manning said. "Obviously, I think having a week off just to get your mind off of football a little bit, then you come back and you're just excited, re-energized, have a great week of preparation."

The Packer defense will again be without stalwarts Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Charles Woodson (broken collarbone). Defensive coordinator Don Capers was forced to use six rookies during Green Bays 24-20 victory over Detroit. However, the Packer pass-rush has produced NFC-best 33 sacks. Manning has only been sacked 12 times.

The Giants will need to get maximum pressure on Rodgers. The unit was able to sack him four times during last year's playoff victory.

"We haven't rattled him yet," said Giant defensive end Justin Tuck. "We've had success against him, slowed him down in his progressions because of some different looks."

The Giants are home and rested. The Packers played a tough against the Lions last week. The game could come down to a battle of field goal kickers. Green Bay's Mason Crosby is slumping right now. He was wide left and right on two of his three field goals last week. New York's Lawrence Tynes has converted on 28 of his 31 attempts and leads the NFL with 109 points.

Most of our numbers have these two dead even from a handicapping standpoint. Giving the Giants a field goal or the home field would put at line right on the number. In other words, the line on this game is correct. However one method we use, our NFL model, has the Packers winning straight up and that's using several different time frames worth of data including season to date and last 5 games only. So we're going to go ahead and make a small recommendation here on the Packers plus the points, based on our model. Packers +3

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