Giants – Packers Preview: Diary of a Giants Fan
After two losses and a bye, the Giants will host the Packers this week on Sunday Night football.
On this Thanksgiving weekend I'd like to take a second and give thanks for a few things. First: Eli Manning, for, despite the past few games, continuing to be the quarterback we can believe in. Second: Chase Blackburn, for telling me, as Journey did for so long, to never stop believing - that you can go from substitute teacher to most consistent and dependable defensive player on a reigning Super Bowl champion in less than a year. And third: The comfort food I've relied on to help me through the team's latest November swoon.
Though the week 11 bye has kept the media vultures from picking too ferociously at the lifeless carcass that showed up against the Bengals last time out, the truth of it is that the Giants have not played well of late, and two straight losses have them well on their way to another second half collapse and me well on my way to finding an NBA team to root for.
And yet, despite the unsettling prospect of forthcoming Knick-fandom, I confess myself cautiously optimistic. Perhaps, in what seems like year ten of this hellish trend, Big Blue has finally begun to recognize the late season flop as a reality and are taking steps to put it down early.
At the start of the week, the team held a players-only meeting to address their various issues - an airing of the grievances, if you will. Out of it came a rejuvenated Justin Tuck who called out his team for having been overconfident throughout the season, Eli Manning with "more pop" in his arm, and at least one fan with a little more pep in his step.
The prospect of a date with the Green Bay Packers has said strut well below Saturday-Night-Fever-level, however, as Aaron Rodgers and company come in riding a five game winning streak and averaging 30 points per game in that span.
Despite the gaudy numbers, however, the Packers have shown significant weaknesses. Their defense is little more than decent, they're near last in sacks allowed, and their running game is the only one in the NFL that could accurately be described as a vast and far-ranging black hole of nothingness.
And so it seems - as it always, always does - that the fate of this game may very well lay in the hands of the recently outspoken Justin Tuck and his defensive line mates. With no running game to speak of, the Packers offense will one again become the Aaron Rodgers show, and with only massive holes to speak of concerning the Giants secondary, all signs point to it being one hell of a spectacle - unless Tuck and the gang can take advantage of that suspect offensive line and put the sensitive QB on his back.
And for some reason, I think they will. Perhaps I'm a homer, perhaps that sense of defiance I fans reveled in last season has rekindled in me in 2012, or maybe I'm just being stupid, but I like what I've heard from this team this week, and I think Tuck, Umenyiora, Pierre-Paul and others play an inspired game this week.
Offensively, I still believe in Eli Manning, and expect his 2011/2012 self to show up on Sunday rather than the far less impressive 2004 variety. He, Cruz, and what should be a healthy Hakeem Nicks will revive the offense we know and love and help turn things around for this Giant team.
It will be a close, high scoring game, but I think the G-men get it done. Giants 34-31.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates throughout the week - including the game wrap-up - and like the Cover 2 Facebook page for podcasts and show updates. And as always, Go Giants!