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NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2011 - GAMEDAY - 10:23 A.M.

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  • NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2011 - GAMEDAY - 10:23 A.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

    THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.

    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    GIANTS' GAMEDAY: GIANTS HOST PACKERS

    Excerpt: "Giants (6-5) vs. Green Bay
    Packers(11-0)



    Week 14
    Today, 4:15 p.m.
    MetLife Stadium, East
    Rutherford
    TV: FOX
    Radio: WFAN 660-AM




    THIS WEEK’S GAME REVOLVES AROUND
    ...

    The Giants’ pass rush




    After Monday night’s blowout loss, the Giants know firsthand how important it
    is to have an effective pass rush against an elite quarterback. The
    New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees
    wasn’t sacked once and rarely saw pressure as
    the Saints reeled off 49 points; the only time Brees was on the ground may have
    been when he dove into the end zone on his 8-yard touchdown run. It was another
    poor showing for a unit that led the league with 28 sacks through eight games,
    but has since recorded just three. As against Brees, the Giants need to disrupt
    Aaron Rodgers to have any chance of stopping the efficient machine that is the
    Packers’ offense. If not, Green Bay could also put 49 points on the scoreboard
    without a problem — if not more as they almost did in last year’s meeting with
    the Giants when Rodgers threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns as the
    Packers routed the Giants, 45-17.
    The task will be more difficult this week
    without defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who suffered a severe ankle sprain against
    the Saints, but the Giants need to mask their deficiencies in coverage without
    the luxury of an aggressive blitzing scheme.




    THE SAVVY FAN IS WATCHING …
    If Brandon
    Jacobs runs north-south and not east-west




    At 6-4, 260 pounds, Brandon Jacobs is as big as any running back in the NFL.
    He has made a career as a physical downhill runner, bowling over players to gain
    yards after contact. But he is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry this season
    and has heard boos from the home crowd in large part because he has been running
    more east-west than north-south. Part of the problem has been the offensive
    line, but he needs to hit holes quickly and use his physicality.




    PAST MEETINGS




    10. Dec. 20, 1986: Giants 55, Packers 24
    9. Dec. 19, 1987: Giants 20,
    Packers 10
    8. Nov. 8, 1992: Giants 27, Packers 7
    7. Sept. 17, 1995 at
    Green Bay: Packers 14, Giants 6
    6. Nov. 15, 1998: Packers 37, Giants 3
    5.
    Jan. 6, 2002: Packers 34, Giants 25
    4. Oct. 3, 2004 at Green Bay: Giants 14,
    Packers 7
    3. Sept. 16, 2007: Packers 35, Giants 13
    2. Jan. 20, 2008 at
    Green Bay (NFC Championship): Giants 23, Packers 20
    1. Dec. 26, 2010 at Green
    Bay: Packers 45, Giants 17




    Remember when ...
    The Giants shocked the world by winning
    Super Bowl XLII against the undefeated New England Patriots? To get to there,
    the Giants needed overtime to beat the Packers, 23-20, in the NFC Championship
    Game at Lambeau Field in Brett Favre’s final game in a Packer uniform. In the
    victory, the Giants relied on the run game — Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw
    each had a touchdown and combined for 130 of the team’s 134 yards on the ground,
    while the Packers mustered only 28 rushing yards on 14 carries. Eli Manning
    didn’t throw a touchdown, but also didn’t throw an interception, completing 21
    of his 40 passes for 254 yards.



    WHAT THE PACKERS DON’T WANT THE GIANTS TO
    KNOW




    1. Teams have been able to throw against the Packers
    The
    Packers defense has allowed the third-most total yards in the NFL, and the
    passing defense, which ranks 31st in passing yards allowed (3,166), has been the
    main culprit. At the same time, they face an average of 39.6 pass attempts per
    game, third most in the league because teams often find themselves playing from
    behind. But their 7.6 yards per pass attempt average is tied for 22nd in the NFL
    — a spot ahead of the Giants — and suggests it’s more than that. To sum it up:
    Eli Manning should be able to find some success today as he did last week
    against the Saints. It’s just a matter of turning the productivity into points
    and keeping with the Packers, which the Giants weren’t able to do against the
    Saints.




    2. Teams have been successful in getting to Aaron Rodgers
    Give most
    starting quarterbacks in this league enough time and they’ll make a defense pay.
    Allow an elite quarterback to stand in the pocket with time consistently — as
    the Giants did against Drew Brees — and you’re in for a long night. However,
    Aaron Rodgers has been able to light up defenses despite facing significant
    pressure. Rodgers has been sacked 27 times this season, which ranks seventh in
    the league — between Philip Rivers and Colt McCoy. The Giants’ pass rush hasn’t
    been the same lately, but for the Giants to have any chance to win today they
    need to get to Rodgers. But even if they do, it very well might not be enough.
    It can’t hurt, though.




    3. The Packers are not as good on the road as they are at
    home

    Sure, that’s the case with most teams, but there are only so
    many chinks in an 11-0 team’s armor. In their five games at Lambeau Field, the
    Packers’ average margin of victory is 20.6; in their six road games the margin
    shrinks to 8.8. On Wednesday, Tom Coughlin highlighted the Packers’ struggles in
    recent road games — if you can call going 6-0 on the road “struggles” — and said
    it was something the team was going to “cling” to going into today’s game. He
    may have been scrapping for any way to put a positive spin on the matchup, but
    he also may have a point. The Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings (2-9) by just
    six points in Week 7 and the San Diego Chargers (4-7) by seven in Week 9.




    POSITION BREAKDOWNS




    Quarterback
    Aaron Rodgers is playing on a whole other
    level. He leads the NFL in quarterback rating (127.7), completion percentage
    (71.8), and passing touchdowns (33) against just four
    interceptions.
    Edge: Packers




    Running back
    At this point, one would have to take any
    team’s running game over the Giants’, who remain last in the league in yards per
    carry (3.2).
    Edge: Packers




    Wide receiver/Tight end
    Hakeem Nicks is an elite receiver
    and Victor Cruz may now be Manning’s favorite target, but the Packers have an
    assortment of dangerous weapons at Rodgers’ disposal.

    Edge: Packers




    Offensive line
    The Giants offensive line shoulders much
    of the blame for the running game’s ineffectiveness, which continued last week
    against the Saints.
    Edge: Packers




    Defensive line
    The Giants pass rush didn’t record a sack
    last week and will be without Osi Umenyiora today, but there’s still plenty of
    talent on the defensive front.
    Edge: Giants




    Linebackers
    The Packers boast what may be the NFL’s best
    group of linebackers led by Clay Matthews, while the Giants signed Chase
    Blackburn this week for some help.
    Edge:
    Packers




    Secondary
    The Packers have allowed the second-most
    passing yards this season, but also have the most interceptions in the league
    and Charles Woodson looming.
    Edge: Packers




    Special teams
    Mason Crosby is 18-for-19 on field-goal
    attempts this season and rookie Randall Cobb is a big-play threat on both kick
    and punt returns.
    Edge: Packers

    FOUR DOWNS WITH ...


    Safety Tyler
    Sash




    1. A lot of your tweets include ‘GBNB.’ What does that
    mean?

    It’s something my grandpa passed down to my dad and my dad
    passed it down to me. When I was younger, like if I was going in to shoot
    baskets before a game in the morning and I didn’t want to get up at 6, he
    wouldn’t even say, “Hey, it’s time to get up.” He’d just be like, “It’s get
    better day, not get bitter day.” He just put it in my mind to look at everything
    in a positive way.




    2. How is you rookie year going so far?
    It’s been a
    learning experience for me in all areas. In college I never really played
    special teams so the whole special teams game is new to me. I played wing on
    punt in college one year and that’s it. I just had to contain and that’s the
    easiest job in the world. I’m just learning that now and playing to the best of
    my abilities.




    3. How have the veteran guys in the secondary been with
    you?

    They’ve been great from day one. Deon Grant’s been great with
    me; I kind of play a lot of the similar things he plays. And Kenny (Phillips)
    and Antrel (Rolle) have been helpful as well. They communicate with me what they
    saw and why they did something when we’re watching film and stuff. During games
    I’ll tell them some things that I’ll see like route combinations and stuff like
    that.



    4. The Packers and Saints have similar offenses, but are there any
    differences?

    Obviously, we’re playing one of the best, if not the
    best, quarterback in the NFL right now. And I know from sitting in meetings that
    guys are — I mean, they’re attentive every week — but this week it’s kind of
    like, “We need to get this done.” One thing they don’t have — I mean they have
    good backs don’t get me wrong — but they don’t have a guy like (Darren) Sproles
    that can hurt you with a run or on the swing pass. A lot of their backs stay in
    pass protection so that frees up one more defender in the passing game.




    ONE MORE THING ...




    Don’t expect Da’Rel Scott, who has been returning kicks and seeing some time
    at running back with Ahmad Bradshaw out, to get as many touches after fumbling
    in each of the last two games. This week, Tom Coughlin said the rookie’s
    mistakes were “bothersome” to him."



    GIANTS VS. PACKERS: JUSTIN TUCK HOPING "OLD TUCK" WILL SHOE UP IN TODAY'S CRITICAL GAME



    Excerpt: "The old Justin Tuck put both hands on Bryan Bulaga’s shoulders. He sensed
    weakness in his opponent, so he buried the crown of his helmet under Bulaga’s
    facemask, drove his feet and shed the rookie tackle. He reached out his right
    hand to grab Aaron Rodgers then brought the other around and dropped the Packers
    quarterback to the Lambeau Field grass last December.




    “Old Tuck feels great,” the Giants
    defensive captain said the other day. “Old Tuck feels like no one can block
    him.”




    New Tuck can’t do all of that, can’t use his neck in conjunction with his
    feet and arms — well, at least not one of them. He’s in pain, he’s frustrated
    and he’s starting to act like it. He’s reaching out for quarterbacks and seeing
    them slip out of his grasp. He’s looking at his stats (two sacks in seven games)
    and thinking he’s not getting the job done.




    He’s kneeling on the Superdome turf, watching Drew Brees shake off opponents
    to make a play — just like Old Tuck did — instead of chasing him down.




    He’s just having one of those years.




    But today against the Green Bay Packers, Tuck and the Giants’ defense have an
    opportunity to turn their season around. By getting to Rodgers, they can
    neutralize one of the league’s best passing attacks, something they were unable
    to do last week against Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Defensive coordinator
    Perry
    Fewell has challenged his pass-rushers
    to get after Rodgers, to “will”
    themselves to get through double teams and to not “pull up short” on plays
    before the whistle.




    Fewell didn’t name any names, but it’s clear who he wants to see today: Old
    Tuck, who fought through a triple team for a sack against the Philadelphia
    Eagles last year. And he just might get his wish.




    “Things get tough, you have to get tougher,” defensive end Dave Tollefson
    said when asked about Tuck’s mental state right now. “The longer you play this
    game, the more stuff like what’s happening to him now is going to happen. You’re
    going to have a drought.




    “He’s his own man. As far as what can we do to help him, we can just do our
    job and expect the most out of him. … It’s such a wishy-washy deal as far as,
    ‘Is he really playing bad?’ I don’t think so.” Read more...

    NY DAILY NEWS

    GIANTS' ELI MANNING TO MAN UP AGAINST PACKERS, PLAY PERFECT GAME TO HALT SLIDE AND RESTORE HOPE

    Excerpt: "Aaron Rodgers is
    having a better season than Drew Brees, maybe the
    best season for a quarterback in NFL history.



    Brees just humiliated the Giants by scoring 49 points and the Saints
    accumulated 577 yards of offense, the second most given up by the Giants in the
    87-year history of the storied franchise.




    Now for the really bad news: The free-falling Giants, who desperately need a
    victory to restore their shaky confidence and to re-establish themselves in the
    NFC East and wild-card races, have to stop Rodgers and end the Packers 17-game
    winning streak on Sunday afternoon.




    Green Bay has scored 20 more points than the Saints - they are averaging a
    league-best 34.7 points per game and have gone over 40 points four times in 11
    games. Rodgers has 33 TDs, only four interceptions and is completing 71.8% of
    his passes. When the ball hits the ground, it’s headline news. The Giants would
    be much better off if they were playing the Colts.




    So, unless the Giants defense shows some pride, doesn’t quit, the pass rush
    comes out of hiding and bounces Rodgers around a few times, then it could get
    really ugly at MetLife Stadium. Keep this in mind: 63 is the most points the
    Giants have ever given up in a game. Even as poorly as the defense played last
    week, the team record really shouldn’t be in jeopardy.




    Rodgers is the third Super Bowl MVP quarterback that Eli Manning, a Super
    Bowl MVP himself, is facing in the last five games. He outplayed Tom
    Brady
    in the Giants’ victory in Foxborough on Nov. 13. And even though he
    threw for 406 yards last week against the Saints, the second most of his career,
    the Giants lost by 25 points.




    The Packers have been perfect this season. The Giants need Manning to be
    perfect against the Packers. But he claims he never goes into a game thinking
    he’s got to match the other quarterback.




    “You never get into that,” he said. “You got to play the game. I’m playing
    against the defense, trying to make decisions off them and go out and run the
    offense efficiently.”




    The Giants have not scored a first half touchdown in four straight games. Not
    very efficient. If Rodgers starts piling up points, it will put pressure on
    Manning to do the same." Read more...

    GIANTS NEED TO MAKE ITS POINT ON OFFENSE IN ORDER TO TAKE DOWN UNBEATEN GREEN BAY PACKERS

    Excerpt: "They are about to face a loaded offense that averages a league-best 34.7
    points per game, and they’re going to do battle with Aaron Rodgers, the
    most accurate and efficient quarterback in the NFL.



    For the slumping Giants, the best defense against that high-powered Green Bay
    attack just may be a serious dose of offense.




    “Our defense is going to come to play,” said wideout Victor Cruz. “They’re
    going to do a good job. But the reality is they (the Packers) are going to put
    up points. . . . There’s a lot of pressure on us. We have to be able to
    withstand their run, withstand what they’re able to do and be able to put points
    up ourselves.”




    For all the criticism that the Giants defense has absorbed in the past week,
    their offense also enters Sunday’s showdown with the undefeated Packers in an
    equally frustrating slump. While the Eli Manning-led unit
    continually piles up yards, it has struggled to put points on the board during
    the three-game losing skid.




    And the defense must routinely play from behind, because the offense has gone
    four straight games without a first-half touchdown.




    “That’s a constant question,” coach Tom Coughlin
    said of the team’s first-half scoring drought.




    Coughlin still can’t help thinking back to Monday’s loss to the Saints and
    wondering what could have been, if only his offense hadn’t squandered a
    brilliant early opportunity. Even on Friday, he wondered how things might have
    been different if Manning hadn’t thrown an interception on the Giants’ first
    drive, if he’d found tight end Jake Ballard in the
    end zone.




    “We take it the length of the field, throw a touchdown pass, up 7-0 against
    this team (the Saints) at home,” he said. “But it didn’t happen. Of course
    (then), they drive it and score. That’s frustrating.” Read more...

    GIANTS REFUSE TO PACK IT IN

    Excerpt: "The Giants have talked amongst themselves, they’ve been lectured by a legend,
    and most recently they were thrashed by their own defensive coordinator. They’ve
    been analytical and they’ve been angry. They’ve been calm and they’ve been “too
    calm.”



    They’ve said all the right things, and a few wrong things. In the last few
    weeks, the Giants have said a lot.




    While they were yapping, though, their season took a disturbing nosedive to
    the critical point it has reached Sunday afternoon. The Giants (6-5) now have to
    beat the undefeated, defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (11-0) at
    MetLife Stadium. If they don’t, there’s a chance their entire season could die
    when they travel to Dallas next week.




    In other words, as defensive captain Justin Tuck said, “We
    have talked enough.” Now is the time for them to finally back up their
    words.




    “We’re going to find out a lot about all of us on Sunday. I know that — if
    we’ve got the pride and the heart and determination to make this right,” said defensive end Dave
    Tollefson
    . “Everybody wants to say the right things, but we’ve got to win
    and we haven’t been.
    “I want to find out that we’re in it to win it.”




    It’s both fitting and typical for this Giants season filled with
    fourth-quarter comebacks that they may have waited until the last possible
    moment to attempt to salvage their playoff hopes. They are one game behind
    Dallas (7-4) in the NFC East, and with the Cowboys playing at Arizona (4-7)
    Sunday they could be two back when the day is over. If that happens, the Cowboys
    would be in position to clinch the division when the Giants play at Dallas next
    Sunday night.




    For the moment, though, the Giants have much bigger problems. They are
    reeling from a three-game losing streak that has ruined a 6-2 start and seems to
    have heralded yet another second-half collapse. They’ve added defensive end Osi
    Umenyiora
    (ankle) to their lengthy injury list, further depleting a
    crumbling pass rush, and they could also be without receiver Mario Manningham
    (knee) in a game where they’ll need all the offense they can get.




    That’s because the Packers are the highest-scoring team in the NFL (34.7
    points per game) and they’ve won 17 straight games – a streak that began the day
    after Christmas last year when they hammered the Giants in Green Bay 45-17. The
    Giants, meanwhile, aren’t exactly rolling into this showdown, coming off a 49-24
    beat-down in New Orleans on Monday night, a game in which their battered defense
    nearly set a franchise record by surrendering 577 yards." Read more...

    NY POST

    GIANTS RECEIVER VICTOR CRUZ ON PACE TO BREAK TEAM RECORDS

    "Victor Cruz began this season searching for his first NFL reception. He might
    end it putting up one of the most prolific seasons ever for a Giants
    receiver.



    “It’s crazy,’’ Cruz said.




    Cruz, as he did last week in New Orleans, will start today against the
    Packers, replacing injured Mario Manningham. Cruz has been on a tear lately and
    enters the game with team highs in catches (55), receiving yards (957) and
    touchdowns (seven). He is on pace for 1,392 receiving yards, which would surpass
    the franchise single-season record of 1,343, set by Amani Toomer in 2002.

    “He’s got that beat,’’ tight end
    Jake Ballard
    said. “We’ve got five more games left.’’



    Cruz said the idea of him amassing 1,000 yards this season never came close
    to entering his mind.




    “I try not to think about it so I can kind of stay focused,’’ Cruz said.
    “Family and friends remind me of it all the time. It’s pretty crazy, man, I
    never thought in my second year I’d be approaching a 1,000-yard season and
    having all this success. It’s been an adventure.’’





    * There is certainly incentive attached to being the first to knock of an
    undefeated team. The Packers are 11-0, and whoever pins loss No. 1 on them will
    get plenty of attention and accolades. As far as which team will feel the heat,
    safety Deon Grant said it’s not the Giants.




    * “There should not be any pressure,’’ Grant said. “We lost three straight.
    What kind of pressure is that going to be on us? The pressure’s on them, if
    anything. They’re trying to continue on with this undefeated season.’’




    * Defensive end Justin Tuck said he’s feeling better this
    week. Not perfectly healthy, but a bit better. The Giants could use vintage Tuck
    and not the facsimile that has been playing hurt this season. Last week against
    the Saints, Tuck was credited with four tackles and two quarterback hits. But
    after missing a sack on Drew Brees, Tuck admittedly stayed on
    the ground and didn’t bother to get up and chase down the play. He levied a fine
    against himself for that indiscretion. Defensive coordinator Perry
    Fewell
    said he had a talk with Tuck this week.




    “I’m very confident he will come out a different player and be a very good
    player come Sunday,’’ Fewell said.




    * The Packers are 6-0 on the road this season, the first time that’s happened
    in the rich history of the franchise. Including the playoffs, the Packers have
    won nine straight on the road. ... Of the 10 previous teams to start a season
    11-0, eight advanced to the Super Bowl."

    GIANTS NEED BOUNCEBACK VS. UNBEATEN PACK

    Excerpt: "The season doesn’t end today if the Giants, like everyone else in the NFL
    this season, aren’t good enough to beat the unbeaten Packers. The Giants can put
    a much better product on the field for their fans at MetLife Stadium than they
    did last week in New Orleans and still get clubbed by the mighty right arm of
    Aaron Rodgers.



    Of course, merely showing up and competing would be a stark upgrade from the
    embarrassing and non-competitive slop served up in the 49-24 rout by the Saints,
    the third consecutive loss for the free-falling Giants. A full game behind the
    first-place Cowboys in the NFC East and at the moment not in position for a
    wild-card playoff berth, the Giants (6-5) are reeling as the 11-0 Packers come
    roaring in.

    “I think we have great character on this team and guys who are very mature
    and understand we still have a shot,’’ quarterback Eli Manning said. “We still have to make a good run
    and it’s going to matter how we finish this season, how do we do it from here on
    out. It doesn’t matter what’s happened the last three weeks or the first three
    weeks. We have five games left. How we are going to finish this season is going
    to determine how our season goes.’’



    How they do this afternoon won’t necessarily determine anything, with two
    games remaining with the Cowboys. But what a jolt of confidence it would be if
    the Giants found a way to knock off the Packers.




    UPDATES FROM
    OUR GIANTS BLOG




    “We definitely know we’re not out of anything, but we know we haven’t put
    ourselves in the best possible situation either,’’ safety Antrel Rolle said. “We have to go out there with our
    minds right, understand they’re a great team. Not taking anything away from
    Green Bay, but they can be beat, just like any team in the NFL can be beat.
    That’s going to be my mindset today, tomorrow, come Sunday.’’




    A look inside the game:




    BEST BATTLE




    Packers WRs. vs. Giants DBs: Impossible to break down individual matchups
    here, as Packers have four receivers (Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones
    and Donald Driver) and one tight end (Jermichael Finley) who all take turns
    playing catch with Rodgers. The Giants secondary was confused and
    non-competitive last week in New Orleans — cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross at times looked disinterested — and will be
    embarrassed today unless there’s a dramatic change in attitude and
    performance.




    THE GREATEST?




    There is not enough time to extol the virtues of Rodgers, not enough space to
    list all the jaw-dropping stats that underline he’s having one of the most
    prolific season of any quarterback in NFL history. The Packers have averaged an
    NFL-record 28 points a game in his 58 career starts, and he’s posted a rating of
    110 or higher in every game this season. Here’s the best of Rodgers: He wins.
    The Super Bowl champion Packers are
    on a 17-game winning streak dating back to last season. In that stretch, Rodgers
    has thrown 47 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.




    SAFE SACKS




    After the Giants beat the Patriots in New England, they were leading the NFL
    in sacks with 28. Three games later — all losses — the Giants have dropped from
    first to sixth in sacks. They have just three in the past three games, including
    none against Drew Brees and the
    Saints, prompting defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to blast the guys up front and most
    everyone else on the unit. How the defense must find a way without Osi Umenyiora (seven sacks), who
    will miss a few games with a sprained ankle. Rodgers has been sacked 27 times
    this season.




    “It’s definitely going to be hard,’’ Dave Tollefson said. “We’ve won games without Osi,
    but any time you lose an all-pro guy, it’s not like a practice squad guy got
    hurt. Any time you get a little disenchanted, you start maybe feeling bad for
    yourself, then you lose your confidence. And confidence is the No. 1 thing for
    as a pass rusher. You can’t feel bad for yourself. Let’s get our job done no
    matter what it takes. That’s on us personally, not the coaches, not the upper
    management, that’s on us.’’




    INSIDE TRACK




    The Packers will be without two starters on their offensive line. Second-year
    Marshall Newhouse moves in again for injured Chad Clifton at left tackle, but the key change is
    the loss of the team’s top lineman, Josh Sitton, whose starting streak of 48
    games ends because of a knee injury. That means Evan Dietrick-Smith — the guy
    who had his arm stomped on by Ndamukong Suh on Thanksgiving — makes his first
    NFL start at right guard. Dietrick-Smith is an undrafted second-year player from
    Idaho, and the Giants would like to think Linval Joseph and anyone else on the defensive line
    will have an advantage here.




    HOLE IN THE MIDDLE




    For the first time the Packers will be without their two starting inside
    linebackers and leading tacklers, Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk. Neither has
    missed a game this season — Hawk hasn’t missed a game in his six-year career —
    but both are hurt with calf injuries. With the return of Ahmad Bradshaw, can the
    Giants rediscover their rushing attack against fill-in linebackers Robert
    Francois (weak in coverage) and undersized rookie D.J. Smith?




    PAUL’S PREDICTION




    There seems to be sentiment that an upset is brewing, but sometimes reality
    bites. The Giants on defense haven’t put the hammer down much all season, and
    you can’t hit what you can’t catch. Maybe Aaron Rodgers is due for a down day. We’ll believe
    it when we see it.




    PACKERS 34, GIANTS 26"

    MESSAGE TO CHAMPS SHOULD BE: WINCE, LOMBARDI

    Excerpt: "The Giants today try to show they can rise up off the canvas and fight, for
    60 minutes this time, all of them. They try to stiff-arm their latest
    second-half collapse and begin one last desperate push for the NFC East title.



    They try to show they are not Big Blue Marshmallows. They try to chase Aaron Rodgers from here to Lambeau
    Field, and hit him and every cheesehead every chance they get along the way.




    They try to rally around Eli Manning, hope Ahmad Bradshaw can be their Willis Reed. They try
    to derail this perfect green-and-gold train chugging towards history and the
    Holy Grail trophy that is named after the greatest coach in NFL
    history.

    Wince, Lombardi.



    Winning isn’t everything today for the Giants. But it is the only thing that
    can repair their fragile psyches at a time when another season stands teetering
    on the brink and careers, from Tom Coughlin’s on down, are at stake.




    So they need to play with pride and passion again, and be tough guys again
    whose shoulder pads thud with force loud enough for Ray Nitschke to hear up in Titletown heaven and tap
    his boisterous gap-toothed neighbor on the shoulder and warn:




    Wince, Lombardi.




    This is a day for the New York Football Giants to earn their paychecks. This
    is a day for them to stop cheating their fans, their owners and themselves.




    They shocked the world by shocking Tom
    Brady
    and a Patriots team that had won 18 in a row, on a neutral site.




    They will need to play the Superfect game for the Superfect Upset that would
    shock the world and a world-beater quarterback who has won 17 in a row —
    starting with 45-17 over the 2010 Giants — with all of New York watching.




    They will need Manning to shoot it out with Rodgers if need be and a maniacal
    defense that should be driven to show defensive coordinator Perry Fewell that there are no quitters in their
    midst.




    This isn’t about Manning ($8.5 million salary) or Jason Pierre-Paul
    ($475,000). It isn’t about Mathias
    Kiwanuka
    ($1.75 million), Hakeem Nicks ($575,000), Victor Cruz ($450,000),
    or Jake Ballard ($450,000). It isn’t about Justin Tuck ($3.45 million), even if
    he hasn’t been Tuck because his body won’t let him be. It isn’t about Ahmad
    Bradshaw ($1.5 million) or Michael Boley ($3.5 million) or Linval Joseph
    ($425,000) or Dave Tollefson
    ($685,000) or the rookie linebackers ($375,000 apiece) or Lawrence Tynes ($1.2 million).




    This is about too many of the others who ought to return their last two game
    checks.




    The buck stops here.




    How about Brandon Jacobs ($2.9 million) running over Packers the way he ran
    over Roman Harper in the Superdome
    behind Kareem McKenzie ($4.3 million) or David Diehl ($4 million) or David Baas
    ($1 million) or Kevin Boothe ($1 million) or Chris Snee ($950,000)?




    How about Corey Webster ($5
    million), Aaron Ross ($1.274 million), Prince Amukamara ($375,000), Kenny
    Phillips.($722,500), Antrel Rolle..($1.25 million) or Deon Grant.($910,000)
    covering Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver or Jermichael
    Finley a whole lot better than they covered any of the Saints?




    How about Steve Weatherford ($700,000) being alert when they call off a fake
    punt?




    How about Tuck, Tollefson, Kiwanuka, Chris Canty ($5.25 million) and JPP
    terrorizing the quarterback again?




    How about some Parcellsian motivation from Coughlin and his aides?




    I received an email from a disenchanted Giants fan who closed by writing: “As
    someone who owns 4 psl’s 2 mezzanine and 2 club this has become a business and
    the losses hurt more when we have so much money tied up.”




    “Let’s, as a group of fans and players, just give everything we got on
    Sunday, and whatever happens, happens,” Tollefson said.




    But you feel confident you guys will do your part?




    “Yeah, hell yeah,” Tollefson said. “If we don’t, get us out of here. Boo us,
    if we don’t.”




    If you don’t what?




    “If we don’t give what we can,” Tollefson said. “If they see something out
    there they don’t like, they paid for the ticket — let us know they don’t like
    it.” Read more...


    THE BERGEN RECORD

    GIANTS - PACKERS MATCHUP

    "At MetLife Stadium, Today, 4:15



    TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN-AM 660




    Line: Packers by 6




    What’s at stake?




    Giants: A chance to save their spiraling season. The Giants could "shock the
    world" as Justin Tuck put it and right a second half that has turned ugly with
    three straight losses. But the Giants will have to fix a defense that left Perry
    Fewell ranting and Michael Strahan giving a pep talk to the defensive line.
    Ahmad Bradshaw expects to return to boost a running game that ranks last in
    yards per game (82.3) and yards per carry (3.18). Michael Boley likely will
    return after missing two games to bolster a struggling linebacking corps. Eli
    Manning again will have to carry the offense in what expects to be a shootout,
    although WR Mario Manningham (knee) likely will not play.




    Packers: The opportunity to clinch a playoff berth as well as to continue an
    undefeated season. Green Bay has won 17 straight and boasts MVP frontrunner
    Aaron Rodgers, who is on pace for a record-breaking campaign (71.8 completion
    percentage, 3,475 yards, 33 TDs, four INTs, 127.7 passer rating).




    The Packers also rank first in scoring (34.7 points per game), fourth in
    total offense (401.3 yards per game) and employ an aggressive, gambling defense
    that leads the league in INTs (22), but is prone to big plays (31st in passing
    yards, 287.8). CB Charles Woodson (second in the NFL with six INTs) and Westwood native B.J. Raji also will give the Giants
    trouble. On offense, WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson (a combined 102
    receptions, 1,617 yards, 17 TDs) will test Corey Webster and Aaron Ross.




    Key matchup




    Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Packers LT Marshall Newhouse




    Give credit where credit is due: Pierre-Paul leads the Giants with 10 1/2
    sacks and has shown more hustle than his teammates. This game falls on his
    shoulders more than any other Giant, except Manning. If he and an ailing Tuck
    don’t get pressure on Rodgers – especially with Osi Umenyiora (sprained ankle)
    out– the Giants face another embarrassment like they did in New
    Orleans.

    How they’ll win



    Giants: If the suddenly invisible Giants’ pass rush doesn’t find its groove
    (just one sack the past two games), Rodgers will cut them apart just like Drew
    Brees did. Fewell promised they would get after his "[butt]." Manning has to
    avoid the four interceptions he threw last December in Green Bay’s 45-17
    victory. Bradshaw needs to give the offense a spark and help the Giants keep the
    ball out of Rodgers’ hands as much as possible. And Webster, Ross and the
    linebackers need to keep up with the Packers’ many weapons.




    Packers: Rodgers aims to pick apart the Giants’ secondary. Woodson and the
    aggressive defense will look to create turnovers. But Green Bay will be without
    linebackers A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop due to calf injuries."




    — Jeff Roberts



    MANNING'S LEADERSHIP A KEY IN BIG GAME VS. PACKERS



    "The text messages came from a mysterious number, leaving no clue as to who
    was behind them.






    The anonymous ridicule was directed at Jake Ballard, criticizing him last
    month for a rather stoic appearance on ESPN.




    But even more jarring than the texts was the culprit behind them, the Giants’
    second-year tight end soon would discover: A Super Bowl MVP. An elite
    quarterback. And a noted vanilla interview in his own right, the publicly
    reserved Eli Manning.




    “Him telling me to show more emotion?” Ballard asked. “Then he made fun of me
    for saying what he told us on the last drive [of the victory over the Patriots].
    I might have added something he probably didn’t say.




    “But I’m just adding to ‘Eli, The Legend.’ ”




    Ballard doesn’t need to embellish.




    Manning is doing fine writing his own legacy this season — on the field, as a
    leader and as the team’s occasional source of comedic relief.




    He has been unfazed by the challenges facing him in 2011, putting together a
    career year despite an offense with a young receiving corps, a rebuilt,
    struggling line and the utter lack of a running game.




    “It’s never going to be easy,” Manning said.




    Although most of the attention today will be focused on Aaron Rodgers and his
    record-breaking season as the Packers (11-0) visit the Meadowlands, lost is just
    how well Manning has played.




    If the Giants (6-5) are going to turn around what appears to be their latest
    second-half swoon following three straight losses, it will be Manning who leads
    them.




    “He expects to be great,” Ballard said. “I think that’s what sets him apart.
    He wants to be the top quarterback in the game. I think that has to do with him
    coming from a football family, watching his dad [Archie] playing and his brother
    [Peyton] playing.




    “He wants his number retired [in MetLife Stadium] when he retires. And the
    way he’s been going, it will be.”
    The questions that hung over Manning in
    training camp have long been answered.




    Yes, Manning is elite. Yes, he’s a leader. No, he doesn’t need Steve Smith or
    Kevin Boss.




    Packers coach Mike McCarthy has been “very impressed.”




    “He’s an experienced champion,” he said.




    Manning has thrown for 3,358 yards, putting him on pace to surpass 4,000 for
    the third time – no other Giant quarterback has done so more than once.




    And one season after leading the NFL with 25 interceptions – including four
    in last December’s 45-17 loss to the Packers — he has just 10 in 11 games with
    20 touchdown passes.




    “The interceptions bothered him personally, professionally,” offensive
    coordinator Kevin Gilbride said.




    Manning, 30, is on pace to set career highs in passing yards (a projected
    4,884), passer rating (95.6) and yards per pass (8.4), and his completion
    percentage (62.9) would tie a previous best.




    And while Drew Brees got the attention last week in the Saints’ 49-24
    victory, Manning threw for 400 yards for the second time (406) and completed 33
    of 47 passes — including 21 consecutive at one point, shattering the team
    record.




    He also has been clutch, leading the Giants to five fourth-quarter victories
    when they were tied or trailed.
    But it’s not just his play on the field.




    Manning runs two weekly meetings himself, one with running backs and another
    with receivers, designing the film clip packages that are shown. Gilbride and
    quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan call him an extension of the coaching
    staff.




    “It’s what he does, but almost as importantly, how he does it,” Sullivan
    said.




    Gilbride is “proud” of Manning for being a “catalyst” in the development of
    Ballard and Victor Cruz.




    “I’m the guy who’s been here eight years. I feel it’s my responsibility to be
    a mentor,” Manning said. “You always try to make guys think on every play they
    have a great chance to get the ball.”




    But he does more than that.




    In September, Manning quietly approached Cruz and delivered a boost of
    confidence. The receiver had made a drive-killing drop in the season-opening
    loss to Washington, and three days later, the Giants signed Brandon Stokley.




    Cruz – who had no career catches at that point — said the talk was
    “huge.”




    “He said, ‘You’re a big-play guy. We know that,’” said Cruz, who leads the
    team in receptions (55) and yards (957). “He just kept me upbeat, man. It was
    definitely good for my young career to hear a guy like that let me know that I
    was good.”


    NY TIMES

    IS IT BAD STRATEGY FOR FANS TO BOO?

    "In a little bit of turnabout, Giants and Jets fans have been booed
    recently.



    Giants running back Brandon Jacobs voiced
    his displeasure about jeers:






    “We go out there and give our all. We practice hard every day; we do our best
    to go out there and win and give our fans a good show. We don’t want to hear
    that. We don’t want to hear anybody, as we’re trying to work hard and overcome
    adversity already, and they make it even harder to overcome adversity when they
    do things like that. As a player we don’t want to hear that.”




    Jets safety Jim Leonhard, in an interview with WFAN earlier this week,
    was unhappy about the booing of Mark Sanchez
    before last Sunday’s game
    against the Bills:






    “I think we have a great crowd. I think probably for one of the first times,
    I was kind of disappointed. Our starting quarterback gets booed in
    introductions.
    “As players, you kind of turn to each other and say, ‘You know
    what? I guess we’re in this one today by ourselves. We can’t rely on the crowd
    to give us that energy because it’s already started off on a bad note.’
    “So I
    will say that this past weekend was really the first time that I’ve been kind of
    frustrated going into a game, which is bad.”




    Brian Bassett of The Jets blog said fans were making a
    mistake:





    “I’m sure there will be those who will protest Leonhard’s comments and say he
    has no business talking or it was a motivational ploy or what have you, but he
    does bring up a valid point. The last thing the players need to hear is booing,
    especially before the game, whether it be for a single player or the whole team.
    The crowd serves as an extra energy source for the players and, as we have seen
    time and time again, has the ability to shift momentum.”




    Of course, It should be mentioned that:
    1) It
    costs more to attend
    a game at MetLife Stadium than it used to at Giants
    Stadium, in some instances quite a bit more.
    2) Booing is not exactly new in
    these parts.
    3) It’s usually not a good idea
    for players to tell fans when they can boo.




    But is booing before a game simply a case of bad strategy — if in fact you
    want your team to win?




    Then again, if fans knew it was hurting their team, maybe they would still
    boo; something else is probably at work here.




    If you doubt the power of boos and cheers, read the opening and ending
    passages of this
    recent Sports Illustrated cover article on sports in America.




    Extra point A few things seem to be coming together today
    for the Giants. They desperately need a victory; the Packers don’t. The Giants’
    defenders were embarrassed in their last game, and their
    toughness and effort were challenged by their coordinator.
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    may be back. And as Sam Borden points out, it’s
    not as if they haven’t pulled off this kind of stunner before
    . Is anyone
    willing to call an upset over the
    Packers?"


    GIANTS 101

    GIANTS VS. PACKERS: NFL WEEK 13 GAME PREVIEW

    "Coming off of three straight losses, it doesn't get any easier tomorrow
    afternoon for the New York Giants when they host the undefeated Green
    Bay Packers
    at MetLife Stadium. After their embarrassing Monday night loss
    in New Orleans, the Giants seemed dejected. Tom Coughlin and his team agreed
    that the preparation was great all week, with everyone working hard and on the
    same page – but the product on the field was the complete opposite.



    This week, there has been less talk from the players, and more of an attitude
    of "we just need to get a win". Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on the other
    hand, had a lot to say – calling out his players for a lack of fight against New
    Orleans.




    So the stage is set. A sputtering Giants team in need of a win to get back on
    track in the NFC East and Wild Card races, against the dominant defending
    champions who are looking to lock up the NFC North.




    GAMEPLAN




    Make limiting big plays on defense the #1
    priority




    The Giants can ill afford to get into a shootout with a team that's clicking
    on all cylinders like Green Bay is. You got proof of that just a few days ago in
    New Orleans.




    The Giants could not force Drew Brees into dinking and dunking the football,
    but instead gave up eight plays of over 20 yards in one football
    game. New York
    knows it can't have this happen on Sunday. The Packers are going to score – but
    the Giants need to make sure they aren't allowing big strikes over the top, and
    more importantly – they absolutely have to finish their tackles in this
    game.




    If New York
    can limit the big plays for the Green Bay offense, this game will become
    shorter, there will be less pressure on the offense, and the Giants won't find
    themselves having to battle back from 2+ possessions down at the start of the
    fourth quarter. If Green Bay is hitting 20 and 30 yard plays regularly in the
    first two quarters – this game will start looking very similar to Monday night
    by the third quarter.




    Take advantage of the Packers aggressiveness in the secondary
    with double moves and play action




    One thing we know about the Packers defense is that they take chances in the
    secondary – and in turn they make, but also give up big plays. Look for the
    Giants to use Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks on several double move patterns down
    the football
    field in an attempt to get easy points on the scoreboard in this game.




    Charles Woodson may be the most aggressive defensive back in the unit,
    showing a tendency to not only look to guess and jump intermediate routes, but
    also to attack the line of scrimmage against the run. The Giants will likely
    look to draw a hesitation out of Woodson and get a big play in behind him if
    they can get a few good chunks of yardage out of the running game early in this
    game.




    Get physical with Aaron
    Rodgers
    at every opportunity possible




    Look, Aaron
    Rodgers
    has seen it all. Press man, cover-3, zone blitzes, overloads –
    regardless, he's torched every single defensive unit he has faced this season.
    The only way to knock a quarterback like this out of rhythm is to hit him, hit
    him, and hit him again. Forget the sacks for a minute, if the Giants have a
    split second to put a shot on Rodgers after he releases the football
    they better put that shot on him and make sure it hurts. If this intimidating New York
    defensive front can get a few good hits on Rodgers in the first half – it will
    go a long way to keeping this Green Bay offense under control.




    THE GIANTS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF…




    They get a dominant effort out of their pass rush and can avoid trading
    touchdowns for field goals when they get down into Packers territory. My biggest
    concern with the Giants offense as of late is its ability to move the ball up
    and down the field – but not come out with touchdowns. On defense, the Giants
    are built on getting to the quarterback with the front four. If the Giants
    continue to struggle to get pressure as they have over the past month – the
    result will likely be the same, a loss.




    BIG GAME CANDIDATE – QB Eli
    Manning




    You think Eli
    Manning
    is a little annoyed with hearing about Aaron
    Rodgers
    being the greatest thing since sliced bread all week? Manning is the
    true leader of this Giants football team, and has carried a group depleted by
    injuries, with a struggling running game and inconsistent defense to a chance to
    win their division. You put an average quarterback behind center on this Giants
    team and they might not have 4 wins at this point.




    You know Manning has been studying this defense, a defense that can be beat
    through the air, very carefully this week – and I expect to see #10 come out
    fired up (in his own Eli
    Manning
    fired up kind of a way) and play another excellent game.




    PREDICTION




    I think you're going to see a very fired up Giants football
    team this Sunday afternoon. I expect the defense to leave it all out there, and
    the Giants offense has a chance to hit some big plays on this Green Bay defense
    and I think they will put an emphasis on doing so.




    That said, unless the pass rush completely dominates the Packers offensive
    line, it is going to be very tough for the Giants to get in the way of what
    Green Bay is doing on offense this season. It's hard to see everything coming
    together at once for the Giants this week.




    Packers 31, Giants 21"

    BIG BLUE VIEW

    CAN LIGHTNING STRIKE AGAIN? GIANTS HOPE SO

    "Dec. 13, 1998. The 5-8 New York Giants vs.
    the 13-0 Denver Broncos at
    Giants Stadium. Final score: Giants 20, Broncos 16.



    If you are old enough
    to remember that game you know that no one gave the Giants a chance to beat the
    mighty Broncos, who would go on after that to finish the season 14-2 and win the
    Super Bowl. Lightning struck, though, when the hardly immortal Kent Graham
    heaved a 37-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer
    with less than two minutes to play, giving the Giants an improbable 20-16
    victory.




    Feb. 3, 2008, Super Bowl XLII. The New England
    Patriots
    enter 18-0, fully expecting to finish a perfect season with a Super
    Bowl title. Final score: Giants 17, New England 14.




    The Giants have cut down Goliath before. Can they do it again today?





    Forgetting the Super Bowl for now, probably the more apt comparison is the
    1998 game against the Denver Broncos. It occurred at a similar point in the
    season, with the down-trodden Giants not given much of a chance against the
    mighty Broncos of John Elway, Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe and Co.




    Sure the Giants had Toomer, Tiki Barber and
    Michael
    Strahan
    . It was early in the careers of those players, though, and -- aside
    from Strahan -- they had not become the stars they would be in later years.




    That day Graham outplayed Elway, going 21-of-33 for 265 yards and two scores,
    while Elway went only 19-of-36 for 180 yards and interception.




    The Giants used that game, which turned into their second straight victory,
    as a springboard to finish the season with four straight wins and wind up
    8-8.




    We know this Giants' team is not as good as the Packers' team
    that will be on other sideline Sunday afternoon. Can this Giants team, with
    vastly superior talent on offense than that 1998 team had -- Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks,
    Victor Cruz --
    pull off a shocker like that 1998 team did, though? Can it, at least, play well
    in this game and come away with some positive momentum heading into the
    season-defining final four games?




    That, likely, is what everyone connected with the Giants is hoping. That, win
    or lose, the team can get its groove back in this game against the best team in
    the le
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2011 - GAMEDAY - 10:23 A.M.

    Thanks RF
    Fondue the cheese heads!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2011 - GAMEDAY - 10:23 A.M.

      13-0 Broncos, 18-0 Patriots, whose next?

      Giants defense hopefully kept in mind that Rodgers can be a mobile QB.

      Eli Manning should understand he needs to play mistake-free football on the offense for the team to be able to win against top tier opponents.

      Whose hasn't been on the Victor Cruz bandwagon? All aboard!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2011 - GAMEDAY - 10:23 A.M.



        thanks Roanoke!




        the Giants can stop this streak by the pack!




        at any rate, hope for a great game and no injuries.

        sigpic

        Comment

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