View Full Version : NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2012 - 10:28 A.M.

01-14-2012, 10:28 AM
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</font><font size="4"><font size="6"><font size="4"><font color="#FF0000"><u><font size="6">NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
<font color="#0000FF">
<font face="Verdana">
</font></u></font><font size="4"><u>NEWARK STAR LEDGER</u></font><font size="4"><font size="3">

GIANTS' VS. PACKERS: FIGHTING THE WEATHER FALLS FOR ITS OWN GAME PLAN (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_vs_packers_fighting_the.html)

Excerpt: "</font></font>By the time Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning field goal went through the uprights
four years ago, Ahmad Bradshaw’s helmet didn’t have any Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) logos at all.

The running back, then a rookie, had been heating his helmet in front of a
sideline jet heater that can blast air with the power of 600,000 British thermal
units. Then, Bradshaw ran out onto Lambeau Field in the legendary sub-zero
temperatures of the NFC Championship Game.</p>

“The paint cracked right off the helmet,” recalled Ed Wagner Jr., the team’s
longtime equipment and locker room manager. “By the end of the game, he had no
insignias, or anything, left on the helmet.”</p>

Such are the perils of cold-weather football games, which always seem to be
most extreme when played in Green Bay, Wis., in January. Today’s divisional
round game between the Giants and Green Bay Packers is not forecast to be nearly
as Arctic as the teams’ last postseason meeting — a predicted high of 30 degrees
and low of 27, compared with minus-1 temperatures and minus-23 windchill four
years ago — but the weather will still be a factor.</p>

It’s up to Wagner’s staff, though, to minimize its impact. The Giants packed
about an extra 1,000 pounds of cold-weather gear on the team’s 767 plane, enough
for 46 active players, inactive or injured players, the entire coaching staff
and any sideline guests. </p>

When the charter landed in Wisconsin, a pair of trucks were waiting to
transport the jumbo-size trunks and bags, organized by clothing type, to the
stadium. Then there are the heated sideline benches, rented from a company in
Cleveland in lieu of the older model provided at Lambeau Field, and jet heaters
to flank both ends of each bench.</p>

What players actually use is up to them — and football’s unwritten
cold-weather code.</p>

“Good football players don’t stand by the heater in cold games, just so you
know,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “That’s a rule. They also don’t turn the
heat on in their house in wintertime.”
</p><font size="3">GIANTS PREFER PLAYING WITH ODDS AGAINST THEM</font> (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/beware_of_big_blue_dogs_r0t8e6BgGEy9zXzPnipdUM)

Excerpt: "More often than not since Super Bowl XXI, the Giants like it when, say, Jeff
Hostetler has replaced Phil Simms at quarterback and Joe Montana is on the other
side of the field in San Francisco desperately seeking a three-peat. Or when Jim
Kelly and his nuclear-powered Bills are standing between them and the Lombardi
Trophy the next week.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">

Or when Tony Romo and Terrell Owens get their popcorn ready at Texas Stadium
and can’t wait to beat them for the third time in the 2007 season. Or when Brett
Favre is daring them to come into Lambeau Field with a Super Bowl berth on the
</p>Or when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are eager to put an
exclamation point on an historic, perfect season in Super Bowl XLII.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">
So odds are the Giants have the Packers right where they want them tomorrow
night: in their historic haunted house of a home, armed with the MVP of the
league, Aaron Rodgers, favored by 7 1/2 points.

Underdogs? No.</p>


When asked if these Giants feel like underdogs, Justin Tuck said: “I would
probably say yes and no. We feel like an underdog because no one really expects
us to have a shot at this football game, but in this locker room as far as the
belief that we have in each other, no.”</p>

When asked if he remembered the mindset before Super Bowl XLII, Tuck said:
“That we were going to win. ... Similar to what the mindset is in this locker
room now.” Read more...</p>
</div><font size="4"><font size="3">
GIANTS VS. PACKERS: HAKEEM NICKS, GIANTS' RECEIVERS EAGER TO PROVE THEY ARE IN SAME CLASS AS PACKERS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_vs_packers_hakeem_nicks.html)

"</font></font>Eli Manning quickly recognized that his No. 1 target, Hakeem Nicks, was in
single coverage, and the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)
quarterback lofted the simple fade route from 4 yards out toward the back right
corner the end zone.

But as it floated through the air, it didn’t look like it would be so simple:
Nicks had Green Bay Packers All-Pro cornerback Charles Woodson draped all over
him, arguably to the extent that a penalty flag could have been dropped. </p>

It wasn’t enough.</p>

Despite having Woodson clinging to his left arm, Nicks extended his right and
made the one-handed touchdown catch. It was so impressive even Woodson, a
14-year veteran, acknowledged the effort by fist-bumping Nicks, who caught seven
passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns in the Dec. 4 game, after surrendering
the touchdown. </p>

“That says a lot about what players in this league feel about Nicks,” rookie
cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “It’s a sign of respect.</p>

“But (cornerbacks) Corey (Webster) and (Aaron) Ross told me that’s a no-no
around here.” </p>

With the extra point the touchdown cut the Packers’ lead in the teams’
meeting to 28-24. It was another significant play in a crucial situation for
Nicks. </p>

Five weeks later, just as it seemed Nicks, a 1,000-yard receiver each of the
past two seasons, was being overlooked with the emergence of Victor Cruz on the
opposite side, he provided another touchdown worthy of congratulations from an
opponent — and a reminder of the type of receiver he can be.
</p>Last week <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/hakeem_nicks_has_big_day_and_e.html">against
the Atlanta Falcons</a>, he showcased his shiftiness and breakaway speed,
eluding four Falcons defenders on the way to a 72-yard touchdown. He would go on
to catch six passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns — his first 100-yard game
since Week 12 against the Cowboys.

“That confidence is always with me,” Nicks said. “It was good to have that
performance in my first playoff game and set the tempo from the start, but we
got to keep it going.”</p>

Now he and the rest of the receiving corps — a healthy Mario Manningham, who
sat out of the teams’ first meeting with a knee injury, and the breakout star
Cruz — have their eyes set on a Packers defense more than vulnerable against
long pass plays heading into their second career playoff game.</p>

The Packers, as a product of their gambling nature in the secondary, allowed
a league-high 71 receptions of 20 or more yards. It’s high-risk, high-reward for
a defense that was tied with the 49ers for the NFL lead in takeaways (38) during
the regular season. </p>

“I think they’re looking forward to the challenge of not only beating the
Packers, but also proving that they’re in the same class as the Packers
receivers that everybody acknowledges as a special group,” offensive coordinator
Kevin Gilbride said of the trio. </p>

But the Giants know there is plenty of reward for them if they execute — they
had 67 pass plays of 20 yards or more this season, and it took all of three
plays from scrimmage for Manning to find little-used tight end Travis Beckum for
a 67-yard touchdown in the teams’ first meeting.</p>

“You just got to know it’s something you can take advantage of,” Nicks said
of the Packers’ aggressiveness in the secondary. “At the same time, you can’t
overlook them. It’s a good secondary, veteran secondary.”</p>

D'ALESSANDRO: GIANTS' KAREEM MCKENZIE HAS INGREDIENTS NEEDS TO DASH HIS CRITICS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/dalessandro_giants_kareem_mcke.html)</p>

"You could feel his contempt almost immediately. He didn’t have to say a word.
He turned from his locker to reveal a look of narrow-eyed revulsion, like he
thought you were a bag of kitchen waste, and then stood up straight and crossed
his arms in an I-Dare-You gesture. </p>

We stood firm. Maybe an 11-year-pro doesn’t like to be second-guessed, but
this had to be addressed with Kareem McKenzie, because we’re after the truth
here: His so-called “Taco Soup,” which can be found on some cooking sites (even
Rachael Ray’s), really looks like a highfalutin’ chili recipe, without the
cumin. </p>

“Absolutely not true,” McKenzie protested, before unwrapping his arms to hold
three fingers in the air. “Look here, we’re talking pinto beans, kidney beans,
black beans ...”</p>

Yeah, right — like nobody ever made a three-bean chili. Look, it’s a nice
presentation, but ... </p>

“Does chili ever include powdered ranch dressing? That’s the whole secret.

It went on like this for a while, and though we hesitate to share this
publicly, it was more than a little awkward. It almost came to blows. </p>

Needless to say, this was unexpected. McKenzie is the quiet man of the
Giants’ offensive line, as unassuming as a 6-6, 330-pound Jersey guy can be, and
one would think he takes more offense from other sources — like the
Twitterspheric taunts that say he can no longer move like he used to, that he’s
facing his final hours with the Giants, and that the right tackle position is
one that really could use an upgrade.</p>

Nope, no problems with any of that. </p>

“Remember, though, I don’t read anything during the season,” McKenzie said.
“It never made any sense to me to worry about strangers villifying you for your
performance, because realistically, does their opinion define who you are as an
individual? No. It doesn’t.” </p>

That’s just part of the profile, the part he’ll share. He’s always been
comfortable in his own skin. At 32, he isn’t the player he was at 28 — no
lineman can make that claim. But at this moment in the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)’ renascent devotion to power
football, his old vitality emerged in the second half against the Atlanta
Falcons. </p>

If you saw it, you can’t forget it: John Abraham, the superb defensive end,
had his way with McKenzie in the first half Sunday — blowing by him for a sack,
forcing Eli Manning up in the pocket for another flush hit, and standing his
ground twice to shed blocks and make two stops on run plays. </p>

This kind of thing happens. Abraham is an elite speed rusher, with six
seasons of double-digit sacks.</p>

But then, after halftime, McKenzie basically plowed the field with him,
allowing Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to run wild. </p>

“Nobody had to say anything — it’s a situation where you either play better
or you make plans to go home,” McKenzie said. “And I just decided to bring a
better focus that I had until that point. </p>

“Basically, (Abraham) made some moves that I hadn’t seen, I hadn’t matched up
with him in a while, and he played better than I thought. But it’s a constant
self-evaluation: You can’t dwell on the plays that didn’t go well for you,
because there are always plays to be made. Now, has there been a situation in
the past when I was as bad as that? In the first half of a must-win game? No,
not really.” </p>

Yet the ubiquitous experts on offensive line play seem pretty certain that
this has been a down year for him, and that the Giants have held their breath in
certain matchups. There will be more of the same trepidation tomorrow, when he
repeatedly matches up with Clay Matthews.</p>

But here’s something to think about when the Giants line up against Green
Bay: Excluding that first half against the Falcons, McKenzie has played perhaps
his three best games of the season in the past three weeks — all must-win
scenarios. Moreover, for the third straight week, he faces the prospect of
suiting up for his home state team for the final time: After four years with the
Jets and seven with the Giants, the Willingboro product will be a free agent.

“I can’t think in those terms,” McKenzie said. “I only think in terms of
making the best of what I have in front of me, playing with these great guys,
and taking advantage of the opportunity we have. I won’t drift too far past
that. </p>

“If this is my last game in a Giants uniform, that’s not the point right now.
The point is to play better than we did last week, and to reach the Super

He has missed only seven games in his past 10 years, just one constant on a
unit filled with them. The other bookend, David Diehl, puts it this way:
“Kareem’s not a vocal or emotional guy, but he’s a model of consistency. And
around here, it’s about accountability. So each and every week, he may not say
much, but you know he’s gonna be there for you.”</p>

We don’t know much more about him, other than he listens to Gospel music and
reads Scripture and is devoted to 12 nieces and nephews and hates taxes and
disapproves of cumin. </p>

He always struck us as a class act, with a countenance that sets him apart:
When he applies his rimless specs, he looks like your son’s astrophysics
professor. But actually, he’s just a courtly, unknowable sage of survival in a
violent world, a guy who takes his hits and keeps his mouth shut and answers the
bell every Sunday.</p>

Soon he’ll run out of Sundays — at least in Jersey. </p>

“It’s crossed my mind, but if you look at it with humility, I don’t think God
is preoccupied with seeing me play 11 years in one place and then saying, ‘OK,
time’s up, move on,’” McKenzie said. “Whatever happens, happens. There are other
things in life, other challenges that I hope make me a better person every
day.”</p>PACKERS' RYAN GRANT, A FORMER GIANTS' RUNNING BACK, CONTRIBUTES ON AND OFF THE FIELD (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/green_bay_packers_ryan_grant_a.html)

Excerpt: "Justin Tuck and Ryan Grant met their freshman year at Notre Dame, and although
the story gets scrambled after so long, Grant safely assumed Tuck tried to
tackle him.

Shortly thereafter, a friendship was born. </p>

“Probably not that many collisions,” Grant said. “A little bit of talking,
yapping, and stuff like that but not as many collisions as you might think. He
looked after me in college.” </p>

In the offseason, they live in New Jersey within five minutes of one another.
Grant, a former Giants running back and Don Bosco Prep standout, trains with
Tuck and Victor Cruz in the offseason. </p>

Every Monday or Tuesday, they call each other on the phone to make sure the
other has physically survived the week, as a courtesy. </p>

But this week no phone calls have been made, mostly because Grant understands
how to approach potential hysteria better than many in this Green Bay locker
room. There can be no distractions or outside noise. </p>

Amid a seven-year NFL career, these are things he has learned from Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) and Green Bay Packers alike, all
helping to mold him into a player head coach Mike McCarthy sees as an essential
part of the locker-room dichotomy.</p>

Though the carries and yardage have decreased steadily since 2009, his stock
has remained high as a teacher while he has made the most of the opportunities
given to him. </p>

“He’s a stud individual, he’s a strong presence in our locker room, he’s a
strong personality and has a blue-collar workmanlike approach,” McCarthy said.
“And I’m sure that will be in play Sunday afternoon.”</p>

Grant said confidently he has learned, and grown, far more as a Packer than
he did during a brief stint with the Giants between 2005-07.</p>

The football memories in blue, of course, are marred with emotional and
physical scars. After spending the 2005 season on the practice squad, he missed
the following year after his arm fell into a champagne glass, cutting an artery,
a tendon and the ulnar nerve. He nearly bled to death and spent the year
coaching football at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington. </p>

The one thing that stuck with him, though, was poignant enough. </p>

“I learned from Tiki (Barber) to make the most of opportunities,” Grant, 29,
said. “When they come, just making sure that you’re ready, preparation, because
you never know when they’re going to come. He was good with me and Brandon
(Jacobs) our rookie year, he would talk to us a lot about different things on
and off the field.” Read more...</p><font size="4"><font size="3">PACKERS' DB TRAMON WILLIAMS SAYS MARIO MANNINGHAM WILL NOT FLY UNDER HIS RADAR (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/packers_db_tramon_williams_mar.html)

Excerpt: "</font></font>Tramon Williams knows that the Giants receiving corps offers a little bit of

"Big guys, small guys, quick guys, they have different dimensions about them
that you have to look out for each and every last one of them," he said. "So
that's kind of what brings the challenge, knowing what guy you go against."</p>
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right"><span class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><a class="bc_video"><span class="bc_video_overlay"></span></a> <span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span><span class="caption"></span><span class="view"></span> </span><span class="photo-bottom-left"></span><span class="photo-bottom-right"></span></span></span>

</div>But in terms of Mario Manningham, who hauled in four passes for 68 yards
and a touchdown last week, he knows exactly what to expect. Even though the
emergence of Victor Cruz has scrambled the ranks at wide receiver, he doesn't
expect Manningham to catch Green Bay's beleaguered secondary by surprise.

"I guess his injury gave Victor a chance to step in and be that guy and
Victor hasn't disappointed. Manningham is a good receiver, I think out of all of
them, he's the fastest. He's a real quick guy, he's definitely one that flies
under the radar. We've played them before, I know what he can do. He won't fly
under my radar."</p>

Even though Cruz makes that focus difficult.</p>

"The publicity Cruz has gotten, it's hard not to focus on him. Cruz is a
receiver who, he's good at the line and he's good at finding holes in the zone.
Eli's good at getting the ball to him when he finds those holes."</p>

Williams called his performance this season "average" and said that the
entire secondary is looking forward to moving on from a season where they
finished dead last in passing defense, giving up just a hair under 300 yards per
game. </p>

"I definitely see this as a clean slate to start off with and we're going to
leave it all out on the field," Williams said." Read more...</p>GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW SAYS MEDICATION IS HEALING HIS STRESS FRACTURE HEAL (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_ahmad_bradshaw_says_med.html)

Excerpt: "Ahmad Bradshaw says his back issue that appeared on the injury report this
week is no big deal.

Oh, and the stress fracture in foot is doing just fine, thank you very

“I’ve been taking something called ‘Forteo,’” the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants)' running back said today after being
limited in practice. “It’s like a steroid or a protein that helps you grow
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right"><span class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><a class="bc_video"><span class="bc_video_overlay"></span></a> <span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span></span><span class="photo-bottom-left"></span><span class="photo-bottom-right"></span></span></span>

</div>The Forteo website (http://www.forteo.com/Pages/index.aspx)
says the product is designed for "men and postmenopausal women with osteoporosis
who are at high risk for having broken bones."

Yeah, I believe they have a new market on their hands.</p>

“The foot looks great, the fracture’s filling in with bone and we’re excited
about it,” said Bradshaw, who’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the
Packers. “(Forteo) helps with pain and fills the fracture with bone.”</p>

On another note, Bradshaw is a physical runner, so <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_offensive_linemen_claim.html">B.J.
Raji’s comments about the offensive line</a> not being physical enough surely
didn’t sit well with him.</p>

“We know how tough we are,” Bradshaw said. “We bring physicality to the game
every game we play. They’re great guys, the guys up front they take pride in
what they do. We’re not worrying about what they’re talking about over
there.”
</p><font size="4"><font size="3">GIANTS' STEVE TISCH SAYS HE HAS THE SAME CONFIDENCE IN THE TEAM AS HE DID IN 2007 (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/steve_tisch_says_he_has_the_sa.html)

"</font></font>Even Steve Tisch couldn’t help but conjure up one similarity between the 2011
Giants and the 2007, Super Bowl-winning team. And it has nothing to do with the
players on the field.<div class="entry-content">

“I do because it’s the same leadership,” Tisch, the Giants Chairman and
Executive President, told reporters today when asked if he has the same
confidence in this team as the 2007 squad. “I think Coach [Tom] Coughlin has
prepared this team for the Packers game. I can’t talk about beyond the Packers
because I just don’t want to go there, but I think we’re ready for Green Bay in
Green Bay Sunday afternoon and this is a very well-coached, well-prepared, very
focused, extremely united team.”</p>

Tisch admitted that he had “personal frustrations” when the team was mired in
a four-game losing streak and then lost to the lowly Redskins at home following
a huge win at Dallas. He believes the win over the Jets was the turning

“In a way, just because of the competitive nature of our relationship with
the Jets, in its own unique way, it was kind of like a mini Super Bowl and it
was a very important game,” Tisch said. “There was a lot more at stake than just
a regular season game against the Jets. New York City; pride; Jets fans, Giants
fans; two different cultures; two different mythologies. It was their home game
[so it] added just an extra level of ‘we did it, we’re good, we’re moving on,
let’s go.’”</p>

The 29-14 victory over their fellow MetLife Stadium tenants also did more
than set the momentum the Giants have carried over since.</p>

“I think emotionally it solidified a lot of feelings,” he said.</p>

Despite the competitiveness between the “two cultures” and “mythologies,”
Tisch said he didn’t take pleasure in watching the Jets implode as they have
since failing to advance to the playoffs.</p>

“No, the Jets aren’t the enemy,” Tisch said. “We’re partners in this stadium,
we are co-hosting a Super Bowl in 2014, we both have great football teams, great
coaching, great players. A fan base that is divided amongst Jets fans and Giants
fans. They’re our partners, not our enemies.</p>

“I’m thrilled where we are right now, where we find ourselves on the eve of
traveling to Green Bay. The other seven teams that are in the playoffs this
weekend I’m very happy for. It’s going to be great. This is a great weekend for
football fans and for football players and for the eight teams at this stage of
the playoffs. And I’m thrilled for those of us that get to play this

Of the eight teams remaining, four have Super Bowl MVPs at quarterback – and
knowing one is his gives him additional assurance going into Sunday’s game at
Lambeau Field.</p>

“Let me break that down by saying I have tremendous confidence in Eli,
week-in, week-out,” Tisch said. “Preseason, regular season, postseason. Knowing
Eli does have the experience and that Eli has a great capacity to not get
frustrated and to not get flustered and we’ve seen that for the last couple
seasons. How focused he is. He’s finding his receivers and he’s playing with a
tremendous level of confidence. I’m thrilled that he’s our guy and that he’s our
quarterback and he’s taken us into the playoffs this weekend and hopefully
beyond.”</p></div><font size="3">GIANTS' OFFENSIVE LINEMEN CLAIM TO TAKE PACKERS B.J. RAJI'S QUESTIONING THEIR PHYSICALITY IN STRIDE</font> (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_offensive_linemen_claim.html)

"Chris Snee was apparently really troubled by Packers defensive lineman B.J.
Raji’s saying the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants)’ offensive line
<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/green_bay_packers_bj_raji_brin.html">isn’t
very physical</a>.

“I didn’t sleep all night,” Snee said today. “B.J. was just in my mind.”</p>

Okay, so I’m not exactly Sheldon Cooper. I can sense sarcasm pretty well, and
I feel a lot of it right here.</p>

“All kidding aside, no one cares what B.J. had to say,” Snee said.
“Sometimes, when you’re young, you make it to the Pro Bowl, you make it to the
Super Bowl, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxYJb2ScuXM">you have your
own commercial</a>, you feel the need to talk. We’ll do our talking on

That was the gist of what the offensive linemen had to say. Well, that and
the fact they don’t care.</p>

“I don’t care,” center David Baas said.</p>

Yeah, I know I was just saying…</p>

“Honestly, I don’t care,” Baas said again. “I’ll do my talking on Sunday,
with my pads. I don’t care. He can say whatever he wants to say. It doesn’t
matter. I don’t care.”</p>

Right, as I was saying…</p>

“Don’t care,” Baas said.</p>

So he doesn’t care.</p>

“Because I don’t,” Baas said. “It doesn’t matter, truly. We’re going to do
our talking on Sunday, period. End of Story. That’s all I’ve got.”</p>

Could there be a worse insult for offensive linemen than saying they’re not
physical enough?</p>

“Sure, there’s a whole bunch of things,” Boothe said. “Dirtbags. I think <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_justin_tuck_most_people.html">(Justin)
Tuck will let you know about that</a>.”</p>

Boothe claimed Raji’s comments would have no effect.</p>

“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. This is America,” he said. “We
have to play on Sunday and we’re happy to be in the position we are.</p>

“If you need extra motivation this time of year there’s something wrong with
you. He said it, that’s fine, but it doesn’t change our preparation.”</p><font size="3">GIANTS-PACKERS GAME PREVIEW: CAN GIANTS PULL UPSET IN GREEN BAY?</font> (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants-packers_game_preview_ca.html)

"I probably should’ve added the words “sort of” to the headline because this
is going to be a catch-all kind of entry here.

It’s been a crazy week and the increased coverage means we’ve already broken
down most of the angles associated with the game. Plus, Jorge will be along on
Sunday with another solid gameday breakdown of all of the matchups. So rather
than repeat myself, I figured I’d clean everything up and provide you with some
of the stuff we weren’t able to squeeze in over the past few days.<span class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-photo"><span class="adv-video"><span class="video-data"><span class="title"></span></span></span></span></p>* * * *

SUNDAY’S GAME: at Packers, Lambeau Field, 4:30 p.m., Fox</p>


Offense: RT Kareem McKenzie didn’t have the greatest of days
the last time he faced LB Clay Matthews. By my count, he gave
up two pressures plus the sack and forced fumble.</p>

This past weekend, Troy Aikman said offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride
wanted to provide LT David Diehl with some help. On Sunday,
look for the opposite.</p>

In the meeting between the teams on Dec. 4, the Giants often had TE
Jake Ballard to McKenzie’s right to provide help on Matthews,
especially when they wanted to take a shot downfield. They even had a funky line
on a third-and-6, with Diehl basically serving as the tight end on the right
side with Ballard as a wing next to him. That plan worked perfectly, as Matthews
slanted to the right and got washed all the way to the inside. QB Eli Manning
was hurried on the play because CB Charles Woodson got inside of Ballard to
flush him out, but once Manning escaped Woodson, there was no one else there. He
delivered a strike for an 18-yard gain.</p>

Long story short, watch for the Giants to provide some help with Matthews.
And when Ballard stays in to block, see if it’s because they’re trying to take
that deep downfield shot. Also look to see if the Packers learned from the film,
use Matthews as sort of a decoy and bring pressure from the other side.</p>

Defense: I think we’ve covered the matchups here from front
to back, so here’s something that didn’t make <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/catching_aaron_rodgers_will_be.html">my
story today on the race to QB Aaron Rodgers</a>: Michael Strahan’s scouting
report on the Giants’ pass rushers, courtesy of a conference call held by Fox
the other day:</p>

On DE Osi Umenyiora: “He relies more on finesse, more on
beating you around the edge. More edges and corners. Occasionally, he'll bull
rush just to keep you honest, to let you know he has power. But he's gonna work
your edges and try to strip the quarterback.”

On DE Jason
Pierre-Paul: “JPP is still raw. Jason's gonna run in, bull rush you,
try to slip off and take whatever you give him. He's more a guy who's out there
off of raw talent and natural ability and just taking what the offensive line
give you. If he rushes you and he feels like you're leaning inside, he'll go
outside. If he feels like you're leaning outside, he'll go inside.”

Justin Tuck: “Tuck is a guy who will set you up. Tuck is very
smart and understands the best thing to do with his body. He's big enough to
play inside, where he can control and use his speed as well as strength on
attack on offensive guards. ... On the offensive tackle, he uses more of his
power and more of his ability to set up his power. And then when the guy is
ready for the power, Tuck has a great ability to slap your hands away and beat
you around the edge.”</p>

Intangibles: I spent a good portion of the morning <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/137276828.html">providing the
opposing view</a> for my pal Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, so
check it out. We addressed some intangibles in there, such as the effect
Pierre-Paul’s alleged guarantee.</p>

THE LINE: Packers by 7½. Over-under 52½.</p>

THE PICK: Maybe I’m a bit too influenced by ’07 here but to
me the NFL playoffs are about momentum and confidence more than anything these
days. And the way the Giants are playing on defense, I truly believe they can
slow the Packers down just a tad. Field goals instead of touchdowns would be
enormous. Perhaps I’ll regret this one on Monday but I can’t help it: Giants 26,
Packers 23.</p><div class="entry-content">

ONE MORE THING: Usually, this is a game-specific thing but
this week we’ll break form because I promised an update on former Giants’ OLs
Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert, who were awesome in helping me with my
retrospective look at the Giants’ victory in Lambeau four years ago.</p>

Neither player is officially retired, though both are leaning that way. In
fact, that’s exactly what O’Hara said.</p>

“Some weeks, I feel like I can get out there and still do it,” he said.
“Other weeks, I don’t.”</p>

Asked if this will be one of the weeks he’ll feel he can do it, O’Hara
replied, “Yeah, I’m sure.”</p>

Meanwhile, Seubert has moved to California. His neighbors don’t know who he
is and he joked they wonder what he does for a living that he can drive the kids
to school and come back home for the rest of the day.</p>

“I tell them I’m looking for work,” he said. “It’s the truth.”</p>

Seubert, who said he plans to hunt prairie dogs in Cali (I'm not sure if he
was serious), didn’t want his knee to tell him when he’s done playing. That
might very well wind up being the case. If so, that’s plenty fine for a guy who
battled his way to one honorable NFL career."</p></div>GIANTS' LB MARCH HERZLICH IS ONLY PLAYER RULED OUR FOR SUNDAY (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2012/01/giants_lb_mark_herzlich_only_p.html)


The list is down to one.</p>

LB Mark Herzlich, who has been sidelined since fracturing his ankle against
the Saints on Nov. 28, was the only player not practicing today and has been
ruled out for Sunday. During the portion of the session open to the media,
Herzlich was on the side doing some light jogging and agility drills.</p>

He said it was the most work he's done since injuring the ankle and if the
Giants win Sunday he hopes to practice next week.</p>

"Last week when I tried to do some running, it didn't really work out too
well," Herzlich said. "This week felt really good, pain-free."</p>

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/back), as expected, was practicing and is listed as
probable for Sunday. It has been standard for Bradshaw to sit out of practice
until Friday since he came back from a fractured foot, though this week was a
bit more complicated due to a back injury he suffered against Atlanta. Tom
Coughlin, however, said it was just a sore back and will not hinder Bradshaw.

S Deon Grant (quad) and CB Corey Webster (hamstring) are both practicing
after being listed as limited for Thursday's session. Both were limited today
and are listed as probable for Sunday.</p>

DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) was also limited and is listed as probable.</p>

CB Aaron Ross (concussion) and D.J. Ware (concussion) practiced fully and are
listed as probable."</p><font size="4"><font size="3">http://www.nj.com/giants/

</font></font><font size="4"><u>NY DAILY NEWS
GREEN BAY TRIES TO BE CUTE BUT PACKERS AND THEIR FANS ARE JUST TOO CHEESY IN COMPARISON TO NY GIANTS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/t-hack-pack-article-1.1006047)

Excerpt: "The Green Bay Packers are supposed to be all warm and cuddly, full of
small-town, winter-wonderland charm. In reality, they are a dastardly,
untrustworthy group of bullies.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><div class="story-body">

Here are 10 good reasons you should not fall for their aw-shucks, Midwest

1. Their fake stock.</p>

We enthusiastically endorse public ownership of all professional teams, and
love the notion of a nonprofit sports enterprise, but the Packers’ current
“stock offering” to fans at $250 per share arrives with a litany of legal
disclaimers taking all the cuteness out of community proprietorship.</p>

“The Packers have no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase
Packers stock.</p>

“The Packers believe offerrees (columnist’s note: is “offerees” even a word?)
and purchasers of Packers stock will not receive the protection of securities
laws with respect to any offering or sale of Packers stock.”</p>

Plus, there is a $25 handling charge per transaction, for mailing a piece of
paper to your home.</p>

2. Not all of their fans are as loyal as advertised. The Packers have a
season-ticket waiting list of about 86,000, and a turnover of about only 90
tickets a year — meaning it might take nearly 1,000 years to get a seat. But
plenty of greedy Green Bay fans this week have been reselling their playoff
tickets on StubHub and similar secondary market sites.</p>

There were still more than 1,600 tickets for sale Friday on StubHub alone,
ranging anywhere from $139 to $12,936 for Suite 4000, whatever that is. In fact,
that concept is so obnoxious it becomes our next reason . . .</p>

3. The Packers have a Suite 4000, not a suite-for-thousands.</p>

4. The Packers “own” the letter ‘G.’ Let’s say you want to put a slightly
flattened ‘G’ on your helmet, or on any team logo. First, you have to go deal
with the Packers’ legal staff. The Packers were granted the trademark on that
style ‘G,’ soon after it was dreamed up by equipment manager Gerald Braisher (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Gerald+Braisher) in
1961. The University of Georgia had to go begging, helmet in hand, in order to
employ something similar.</p>

And speaking of that G . . .</p>

5. Where’s the “B”?</p>

An organization must be pretty arrogant to believe one letter is good enough
to represent two proper nouns. Can you imagine the Yankees’ logo with just an
“N”? The Royals’ with just a “K”? The Rays’ with just a “T”?</p>

The Packers’ lonely “G” has created many misperceptions among chronically
confused commentators such as Tiki Barber (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tiki+Barber), who once
decided on-air that the “G” stands for “Greatness.”That would be even more
arrogant, if it were true. By the way, the inventor of the logo has the initials
“‘GB.” Probably has that trademarked, too."
</p></div></div>GIANTS' CHRIS SNEE STRIKES BACK AT RAJI (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-chris-snee-strikes-back-packers-article-1.1006025)

"Chris Snee (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chris+Snee) selected
sarcasm as his weapon of choice when defending himself and fellow Big Blue
offensive linemen from Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/B.J.+Raji)’s rip that the
Giants’ line is not that physical.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><div class="story-body">

“He’s a beast out there,” the right guard said, tongue firmly in cheek. “I
was upset about it all night, tossing and turning. B.J. was on my mind.”</p>

Snee, a former Pro Bowl starter, quickly turned serious and said that he and
the Giants would do their talking on Sunday when the Giants visit the Packers at
Lambeau Field.</p>

“All kidding aside, no one cares what B.J. had to say. Sometimes when you’re
young and you make it to the Pro Bowl and have your own commercial, you feel the
need to talk. We’ll do our talking on Sunday.”</p>

Raji, a Queens product whose parents are ministers at the Bethel Holy Church
of Deliverance in Harlem, has played against the Giants twice during the regular
season — in 2010 and again on Dec. 4. The Packers won both meetings.</p>

“Not saying they’re soft,” Raji said Thursday when asked to assess the
Giants’ O-line, “but it’s not the toughest group I have been against.”</p>

A former first-round pick who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time
this year, his third season, Raji has struggled since a fast start, tallying
just 14 tackles for a defense that ranked dead last in the league.

<a title="David Baas" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Baas">David
Baas</a> echoed Snee by dismissing Raji’s tweaks.</p>

“I don’t care, honest. He can say whatever he wants,” the Giants center

Raji differentiated between the offensive line and the Giants’ hard-charging
running backs when talking about physicality, allowing that tailbacks Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw) and
Brandon Jacobs (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brandon+Jacobs) make
a formidable tandem in the backfield. Bradshaw, meanwhile, stood by his blockers
on Friday.

“We know how tough we are,” Bradshaw said. “We bring
physicality to the game every game we play. They’re great guys, the guys up
front, they take pride in what they do. We’re not worrying about what they’re
talking about over there.”

Giants offensive lineman <a title="Kevin Boothe" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kevin+Boothe">Kevin
Boothe</a> was asked a simple question: Could there be a worse insult for
offensive linemen than saying they’re not physical enough?

“Sure, there’s
a whole bunch of things,” Boothe said. “Dirtbags. I think (Justin) Tuck will let
you know about that.”

Boothe was referring to Tuck’s criticism last week
of the Atlanta Falcons’ illegal blocks, and claimed Raji’s comments would have
no effect.

“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. This is America,”
Boothe said.

“We have to play on Sunday and we’re happy to be in the
position we are.

“If you need extra motivation this time of year there’s
something wrong with you. He said it, that’s fine, but it doesn’t change our

Snee, for his part, studied Raji’s comments earlier in the
week about the Packers maintaining silence in getting ready for the

“But he’s giving the quotes,” Snee said. “I don’t understand the
double talk there, but whatever you have to do to get yourself psyched up.</p>

“Personally, it’s the divisional round, so that’s what I’m excited
about.”</p></div></div>GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW PUTS FOOT DOWN, INSISTS HE WILL PLAY ON SUNDAY (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ahmad-bradshaw-puts-foot-insists-ll-play-giants-packers-article-1.1006052)

"Giants tailback Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw)
returned to practice Friday morning after sitting out recent sessions, and
brushed off any possibility of not playing against the Packers on Sunday.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><div class="story-body">

Bradshaw, who carried the ball 14 times for 63 yards before leaving last
week’s 24-2 win over the Atlanta Falcons, has “struggled a little bit” with
soreness in his back this week, according to Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin).</p>

Bradshaw was sidelined or limited in practice for several weeks due to a
stress fracture in his foot. He was limited in practice again on Friday.</p>

“The foot looks great, the fracture’s filling in with bone and we’re excited
about it,” said Bradshaw, who’s listed as probable for Sunday’s game.</p>

“I’ve been taking something called ‘Forteo.’ It’s like a steroid or a protein
that helps you grow bone.”
Forteo’s website describes the product as designed
for “men and postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are at high risk for
having broken bones.”</p>

Steve Tisch, the Giants chairman, said
he was “thrilled” with team’s progress this season, and admitted experiencing
“personal frustrations” during a four-game losing streak late in the campaign.
He noted that the 29-14 win over the Jets was the turning point.</p>

“In a way, just because of the competitive nature of our relationship with
the Jets, in its own unique way, it was kind of like a mini Super Bowl and it
was a very important game,” Tisch (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/JETS+Steve+Tisch) said.</p>

“There was a lot more at stake than just a regular season game against the
Jets. New York City; pride; Jets fans, Giants fans; two different cultures; two
different mythologies. It was their home game (so it) added just an extra level
of ‘we did it, we’re good, we’re moving on, let’s go.’ ”</p>

Tisch declined to label the Jets “the enemy.”</p>

One year after interviewing for four head
coaching vacancies, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Perry+Fewell) is
drawing little interest on the coaching market – a side effect of seeing his
unit slip from seventh to 27th in the league rankings.</p>

There is some speculation that could change, though, if the Giants are
eliminated on Sunday.</p>

His name has been mentioned in reports as a possible candidate in Tampa Bay,
where the Buccaneers are searching for a replacement for the fired Raheem Morris (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Raheem+Morris).</p>

So far, according to an NFL source, the Bucs have not asked the Giants to
interview Fewell.</p>

They have reportedly already interviewed four candidates, including former
NFL head coaches Mike Sherman (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mike+Sherman), <a title="Marty Schottenheimer" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Marty+Schottenheimer">Marty
Schottenheimer</a> and Brad Childress (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brad+Childress). And
they had hoped to talk to Wade Phillips (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Wade+Phillips), who
withdrew from consideration on Thursday.</p>

Injury updates: Safety Aaron Ross (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Aaron+Ross+%28Football%29)
(concussion) and D.J. Ware (concussion) practiced full. Defensive backs Corey Webster (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Corey+Webster) (quad)
and Deon Grant (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Deon+Grant) (hamstring)
were limited. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Osi+Umenyiora) was
limited, as well ... Rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Herzlich) (ankle)
was ruled out for Sunday."</p></div></div>GIANTS' HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN ATTEMPTS TO FILL SHOES OF MENTOR BILL PARCELLS BY WINNING A SECOND SUPER BOWL IN 8TH SEASON (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ny-giants-head-coach-tom-coughlin-attempts-fill-fill-shoes-mentor-bill-parcells-winning-super-bowl-eighth-season-article-1.1005439)

"Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin) and Bill Parcells (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Parcells) are not
best buddies, but there is no denying the Big Tuna’s influence when you examine
Coughlin’s long and winding run with the Giants.<div class="story-body">

Parcells, the greatest Giants coach of them all, won his first Super Bowl in
his fourth season and his second Super Bowl in his eighth and final year. Who
knows how many more he might have won for Big Blue if he had stayed around?</p>

Coughlin won a Super Bowl in his fourth season as the Giants’ head coach.
He’s now trying to win another in his eighth season and would take a giant step
toward that goal with a victory Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs
against the defending champion Packers at Lambeau Field.</p>

Coughlin comes from the Parcells coaching tree, serving as Tuna’s wide
receivers coach with the Giants from 1988 through 1990. If Parcells possessed
the qualities that you would envision for the coach of the New York Football
Giants, then there’s a lot of Parcells in Coughlin.</p>

“I just think he’s always been a very, very solid football guy,” Parcells
told the Daily News this week. “Hard working, determined, competitive and he’s
definitely his own guy as a head coach. I thought he had tremendous ability to
lead when he was an assistant coach. I could tell when he organized our
receivers. I thought he would have a chance to be a good head

Although it seems like Parcells was around forever and that
Coughlin has just gotten here, they have now coached the Giants for the same
number of years. Coughlin is the oldest current head coach in the NFL at 65. All
indications are he will surpass Parcells next year and become the second longest
tenured coach in Giants history behind Steve Owen (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Steve+Owen), who coached
them from 1931-53.</p>

Just like Parcells was nearly fired by the Giants after he was 3-12-1 in 1983
in his first season, Coughlin was nearly fired after the 2006 season. He changed
his ways, lightened up with his players and won the Super Bowl the next

When the Giants were in the midst of their annual second-half collapse this
season, I felt Coughlin’s time with the team should be up if the Giants didn’t
make the playoffs after their 6-2 start. It got as bad as 6-6 after a four-game
losing streak, but then Coughlin saved his job and the Giants’ season by winning
three of the last four.</p>

It was the third time the Giants have won the NFC East with Coughlin. They
won it three times with Parcells, too.</p>

“When you’ve had a little slump like he had it, it’s tough to dig out,”
Parcells said. “You’re just on a week-to-week basis. One bad outing or one bad
play and you’re going home. It’s very hard to hold a team in there. He did it,
to his credit.”</p>

The players showed their respect for Coughlin by not quitting on him. They
might not have given maximum effort after the game got out of control in New
Orleans, but they came back the next week and fought hard in the 38-35 loss to
the Packers.
</p></div>That game might have been the turning point in the season. Even though the
Giants lost on a field goal on the final play, the game gave them confidence
going into the next week in Dallas, where they overcame a 12-point deficit in
the final minutes.<div><div class="story-body">

There are 15 players remaining from the 2007 team that went into Green Bay
and beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. That means the Giants will
not be overcome by the mystique of Lambeau.</p>

The lasting impression is not only Brett Favre (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brett+Favre)’s overtime
interception to Corey Webster (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Corey+Webster), but
the bright red frozen cheeks of Coughlin. He toughed it out in the sub-zero
temperatures, setting the tone for his team.</p>

They rallied around Coughlin, just like the old Giants did for Parcells. He
and Coughlin speak about once a year. “He will write me a note. We get along
fine,” Parcells said. “He would regard me as a friend. We’ve never had any
difference of opinion. I like him. He’s just not outgoing. He keeps to

So is he a Parcells guy?</p>

“He’s his own guy. He’s had his own coaching career,” Parcells said.
“Philosophically, I don’t think there’s a lot of difference.”</p>

The Jersey guy coached three teams after he left the Giants and then ran the
Dolphins for a few years, but he’s still a Giant at heart. “I would think so. I
grew up there. That’s the team I watched when I was young,” Parcells said. “I
root for them.”
Can they beat the Packers?</p>

“Sure, c’mon,” he said. “They are going to have to play pretty good on
defense and get after the quarterback. It’s the same stuff. You can’t give up
big plays. Take advantage of the opportunities you get. Time of possession is
important for the Giants. Do I think they got a shot? It was 38-35 the last
time. They got a shot.”</p>

It doesn’t surprise Parcells that Coughlin has lasted this long with the
Giants. I asked Parcells if Coughlin is an old-school coach like he was. “I
think Tom is pretty open-minded,” he said. “There’s certain things he believes
in like all of us. Tom, (Sean) Payton, (Bill) Belichick, they’re about the same
guys. It just shows up different. They think the same way.”</p>

They all earned a Master’s Degree from the Parcells Graduate School; they’re
all in the playoffs this week and they’ve all won it all in the past. But now
Coughlin is trying to win his second for the Giants, just like Parcells, the
greatest Giants coach of them all."</p>

GIANTS VS. PACKERS: INSIDE THE MATCHUPS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/nfc-wild-card-weekend-matchups-ny-giants-atlanta-falcons-article-1.1001546)</p>

Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) has it much
easier than <a title="Aaron Rodgers" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Aaron+Rodgers">Aaron

Where the Giants have looked to turn short completions into
big plays lately, the bomb will be back this week for Big Blue. Green Bay’s
secondary can be beaten for big plays down the field. In the December game
between these teams, Manning tested the Packers from the first possession, when
he hit little-used TE Travis Beckum (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Travis+Beckum) for
a 67-yard strike on the third play of the game.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Dom+Capers) is a 3-4 guy,
but he lacks the personnel in the secondary to get the most out of what was a
more aggressive defense when the Pack won the Super Bowl and the secondary was
considered among the best in the game. While Capers still has the courage to
play a lot of man coverage on the corners, his safeties have continually vacated
the middle, leaving QBs with easy throws to single-covered WRs down the seams.
The Packers’ D seems always to be looking to make the big play, but their
gambling exposes them. Manning’s pump fakes will be big weapons in his

Of course, all that gambling does eventually hit a jackpot. The
Packers led the league with 31 interceptions, averaging almost two per game,
including one of Manning that Clay Matthews (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Clay+Matthews)
returned for six points when Manning was under pressure from a blitz.

QB can’t lose sight of the linebackers, or even a guy like nose tackle <a title="B.J. Raji" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/B.J.+Raji">B.J.
Raji</a> dropping into coverage, because Capers loves to zone

EDGE: Giants</p><div><div class="story-body">

It’s amazing
how the loss of one safety, Nick Collins (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Nick+Collins), early in
the season, could change everything about the Packers’ secondary. But it has.
It’s not only that the secondary has been continually out of position but,
without Collins as a security blanket Tramon Williams (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tramon+Williams) has
gone from shutdown corner to pigeon.

Some feel as though Williams has
been trying to do too much. Combine some poor technique with, like the rest of
the secondary, a compulsive gambling habit, and the same guy who came up with
big plays in every playoff game last year has been giving them up, as he did
against the Giants’ diet of post patterns in the first game.

With a
healthy Hakeem Nicks (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Hakeem+Nicks), <a title="Victor Cruz" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz">Victor
Cruz</a> and Mario Manningham (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mario+Manningham)
(also as good a blocking trio of WRs as there is), the Giants can attack the
whole field. Cruz, who gets out of his cuts so sharply, has been in sync with
Manning, while Nicks took advantage of the attention Cruz was getting from the
Falcons last week to post a breakout game.

The Packer DBs will have to
tackle well, and when you think of that, you think of the veteran Charles Woodson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Charles+Woodson). He
may not be the standout he once was in man coverage, but he has a knack for
knowing where to be. He is a big-game player and will be on Cruz, when the
nickel package is on the field.

That’s an optimum situation for the
Giants, who would rather see Woodson isolated wide on a receiver.


The Giants have their two
big backs, Brandon Jacobs (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brandon+Jacobs) and
Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw),
running downhill with power. If the Giants can continue to set that kind of
physical tone against the league’s next-to-worst run defense on Sunday, then
Rodgers will be on the bench and Manning, who is so masterfully adept at
play-action, can start outmaneuvering those Packer DBs.

In addition,
Capers doesn’t blitz until the Packers begin stopping the run (he loves to send
inside linebacker Desmond Bishop (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Desmond+Bishop)) so
the domino effect can be huge.

The Giants’ running game is varied and the
blocking schemes are often built to leave the backs one-on-one with the poorest
tackling DB. It’s going to be up to the Packers’ inside linebackers, Bishop and
<a title="A.J. Hawk" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/A.J.+Hawk">A.J.
Hawk</a>, to scrape and penetrate so that they get to the spot first and don’t
allow Bradshaw and especially Jacobs, to get their shoulders squared and their
legs churning. The Giants ran to the right a lot last Sunday, which is straight
in the direction of Green Bay’s best big-play OLB, Clay Matthews.

unclear whether Brad Jones (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brad+Jones) or <a title="Erik Walden" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Erik+Walden">Erik
Walden</a> will be thrown into what has been a revolving-door spot opposite
Matthews at ROLB.

One other thing the Giants will try to exploit is the
weakness of Hawk and Bishop in pass coverage. The Giants might have to use
Bradshaw as a third-down back with D.J. Ware questionable with a

EDGE: Giants

The Packers were 27th in sacks this year and never developed a
counterpart to Matthews. Nevertheless, they have to feel they can get a few
things done against RT Kareem McKenzie (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kareem+McKenzie).
Not only did Matthews give McKenzie trouble in the first game, including a
strip/sack, but the once-formidable pass protector allowed early pressure from
the Falcons’ John Abraham (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Abraham) last week
and blew his assignment on the James Sanders (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/James+Sanders) blitz
that caused Atlanta’s safety.

The Giants like to get their receivers into
patterns. If they have to give McKenzie help, it will take away from their
ability to islolate a receiver downfield.

The real battle up front will
be when the Giants run the ball against the Packers’ 3-4 formation. C <a title="David Baas" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Baas">David
Baas</a>, who missed the first game between these teams in December, had been
considered a weak link, but the Giants have been able to run a lot of power
stuff inside lately. Against the Falcons’ 4-3 last week, the Giants’ athletic
guards, Chris Snee (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chris+Snee) and an
increasingly impressive Kevin Boothe (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kevin+Boothe), were
able to get out in front of the play, bringing back memories of the Giants’ 2008
Super Bowl O-line. The Giants even dusted off the counter trey for a big gain by
Jacobs last week. One key for the Packers is having Ryan Pickett (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ryan+Pickett) back at
DE. The Packers, who allowed 4.7 yards per carry over the season, were gouged by
second-string personnel of the Bears and Chiefs.



Let’s start with this: Aaron Rodgers completed 68.3% of his
passes for 45 touchdowns with six INTs this season. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP
knows how to raise his game. He has seen and beaten every sort of coverage, and
against some good pressure. He can make every throw, running to his right or
left, across his body, with people in his face, etc.

The Giants’ defense
has the ability to affect Rodgers’ performance better than any team he will face
in the playoffs, but they played

01-14-2012, 12:32 PM
Thanks RF! It's been a looooooong week, but the game is almost here. And I like their chances.

Let's go giants! Time to go ALL-IN! [B]

01-14-2012, 02:44 PM
thanks Roanoke!</P>

already pumped and ready it to take to the Pack!!!!</P>

all we need is a chance!!!</P>

01-14-2012, 03:38 PM
thanks Roanoke!</p>

already pumped and ready it to take to the Pack!!!!</p>

all we need is a chance!!!</p>

We have it within our grasp. We bring our A game and there is no reason we can't win.

01-14-2012, 03:39 PM
Thanks RF! It's been a looooooong week, but the game is almost here. And I like their chances.

Let's go giants! Time to go ALL-IN! [B]

The players have the right mental outlook and they definitely have the talent to get it done.

01-15-2012, 08:07 AM
thanks Ro....</P>

hope the Giants are too giddy that the Niners won thinking its an easier task then the Saints if they beat the Pack today....</P>

need the right frame of mind......</P>

01-15-2012, 09:53 AM
thanks Ro....</p>

hope the Giants are too giddy that the Niners won thinking its an easier task then the Saints if they beat the Pack today....</p>

need the right frame of mind......</p>