New York Football Giants: Best way to defeat Aaron Rogers is by keeping him on the sidelines..
Let the record show, that in his first campaign as head coach Ben McAdoo ended Big Blue's four year playoff drought, guiding them to a well earned Wild Card berth - considering, that is, the team punctuated their 11-5 record with two victories over this season's NFC East champion (and #1 seed) Dallas Cowboys.
That being said, let the second season begin!
The Giants will again trek to Green Bay's famed Lambeau Field where they'll resume their ongoing subarctic conflict against the Packers. This time led not by Tom Coughlin, but by Ben McAdoo who returns to the place where he helped create the beast Big Blue must slay named Aaron Rogers.
The Giants obviously emerged victorious in a pair of epic confrontations played at Lambeau during their 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl runs ... games Packer fans would much rather forget. Which is why Sunday every cheese head in Wisconsin will have nothing but revenge on their minds.
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But if the Giants are to be successful in Green Bay, and hopefully beyond, they'll need to gain a measure of ground control and clock management. They'll need to run the ball whether they like it or not. They must do so in order to keep the Packers defense honest, which is another way of saying keeping Eli Manning alive and maximizing play-action. Running the ball will help keep Aaron Rogers on the sidelines, and perhaps lessen the burden being placed on the Giants defense (minus JPP) when Rogers is on the field.
- Question: What is the single most factor differentiating these Giants from the Super Bowl champions of XXI, XXV, XLII, XLVI?
- Answer: Previous opponents were forced to respect a formidable Giants running game. Joe Morris and O.J. Anderson ran behind superb offensive lines led by all-pro center Bart Oates, while Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw rushed behind another superb offensive line anchored by yet another all-pro center, Shaun O'Hara.
Promising center (I'm being kind) Weston Richburg is good, and will get better. In fact, the Giants do their best running up the middle. However, he does not have the quality of personnel lined up to his left and right that Oates and O'Hara enjoyed. The performance of left tackle Ereck Flowers has been the most distressing of the lot. Otherwise, left guard Justin Pugh represents the best of the rest.
Having Shane Vereen on injured reserve combined with Rashad Jennings' unspectacular style and underwhelming performance only exacerbates the situation.
So what's a coach to do?
Everyone says the Giants should go right after Green Bay's weak secondary.
I could not agree more.
But I say do that by attacking Green Bay's more competent front seven. Sit a third receiver from time to time, and at least attempt to smash mouth a way through to daylight. Let Nikita Whitlock play like a true fullback. Give Green Bay some double tight end sets. Said another way, do what it takes to gain 3.5 yards per carry. Give Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh, and John Jerry, the help they need to make this happen.
But a coach must first try, and commit.
Because at this point rookie Paul Perkins is the most powerful and elusive runner the Giants have. Take that with a grain of salt, especially coming off a 102 yard performance during the season finale against a disinterested Washington Redskins defense. That game nevertheless marked the first time this season a Giants running back rushed for 100 yards in a game.
To his credit, Perkins has been consistent. He rushed 112 times this season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. He closed out the regular season on an uptick, rushing 47 times for 226 yards over the Giants final three games for an average of 4.80 yards per carry.
Run ... so Eli Manning can throw the ball to Miami Vice on his terms, not Green Bay's.