The senario is eerily similar. The Green Bay Packers, rolling merrily along toward the playoffs, head to New Jersey a week after winning in Detroit to meet the suddenly scuffling New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. A year ago, the Packers beat the Lions on Thanksgiving to make it 12-0 on their remarkable run, while the Giants were in the throes of a three game losing streak after a 6-2 start. Sunday night, Green Bay will seek a sixth consecutive victory while the Giants will try to snap a two game slide coming off their bye week. In each of the past two regular seasons, the winner of this matchup used the victory like a chunk of flint to spark them into a raging fire of a Super Bowl title run. Let's do it again. At 7-3, the Packers have found some semblance of consistency in spite of the mounting injuries. The young secondary has more than held down the fort in the absence of Charles Woodson and Sam Shields, the re-tooled offensive line had some rough patches against Detroit but figured it out for a late, game winning drive. Both groups will be tested mightily again. The New York front four may be even more formidable than the Giants, they come in with 25 sacks with Jason Pierre-Paul leading with six and a half, Linval Joseph and Osi Umenyoria have four and Justin Tuck has three. They have Rocky Bernard, Adrian Tracy and Marvin Austin in reserve. If this group is on, the Giants are on. Overall, New York has been spotty since their impressive 26-3 win at San Francisco a month ago. The offense appears muddled, Eli Manning has thrown four picks without a touchdown in the last two games and the defense has given up an average of 25.5 points in the four games before their bye. Still, neutralizing Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield to lesson the play action game will give the Packers young DB's like Casey Hayward, Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings a fighting chance against the deep threats of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Cruz has picked up where he left off in last year's breakout season with 60 catches and 7 touchdowns but Nicks has battled injury to catch only 36 passes and finding the end zone only once so far. The Giants achillies heel on offense has been on third down (37.3 %) and the red zone (26th). Both teams need a victory to maintain their divisional holds. After Washington spilled the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, New York (6-4) is a game and a half up on both of those teams. The Packers have just the tiebreaking edge on the Bears for the moment and a win would keep them no worse for wear. A loss won't damage either team's plans but New York's schedule looks daunting with a trip to the resurgent Redskins awaiting next week, followed by games with New Orleans at home and on the road at Atlanta and Baltiimore. The Packers finally come back home for three of the next four with an NFC North trifecta awaiting, the Vikings and Lions at Lambeau and the Bears in Chicago. If the win streak hits six Sunday night, the Packers could parlay that into a division clinching run. Don't expect to see Greg Jennings Sunday night, even though he's practiced on a limited basis this week, the Packers are going to be very careful with him, same for Clay Matthews, my guess is next week at the earliest. In each of the past 8 meetings between these teams, dating back to 1998, including the two playoff games, the road team has come away the winner. Let's hope it reaches 9 Sunday night. On the link below, comments from Mike McCarthy and a few of the guys on how they see this one playing out.
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