The Green Bay Packers, fresh off their bye week, are starting a critical three-game stretch this week. First up, are the New York Giants, who will invade Lambeau Field Sunday night.
Over the years, the Packers and Giants have played some great games. Three times, Eli Manning has started at Lambeau and two of three games were wins. Each victory came in the playoffs, while Green Bay won in 2010 in Week 16, which also helped the Packers get in.
This season, the two teams meet early. And even though the season is in its infancy still, it’s a big game. Green Bay is 2-1, while New York is 2-2. The Packers trail the Vikings, the Giants are behind the Eagles and Cowboys.
So as far as early-season games so, this one is pretty important. With that in mind, here are three keys for a Green Bay victory.
1 — Disrupt Eli Manning —
Of course, teams usually go as far as their quarterback takes them, but for the Giants and Manning, that’s especially true. When Manning has played well this season, the Giants have won. When he hasn’t, they haven’t.
In his two wins, he has a quarterback rating of more than 100. He also has three touchdown passes, compared to just one interception. In two losses, his passer rating is below 90 and he has just one touchdown and three interceptions.
The Packers only have two interceptions coming into the game and if they are going to emerge victorious, they are going to need one or two more.
2 — Get Lacy Rolling —
One of the most overlooked aspects of this Packers team so far this season, has been the effectiveness of running back Eddie Lacy.
Lacy and more specifically his weight, was a big talking point this offseason for the Packers, but so far, so good. In three games, Lacy has 43 carries for 214 yards, an average of five yards per carry. Yet, he hasn’t scored a touchdown and for some reason, Mike McCarthy has refused to feed him 20 carries or more.
Lacy doesn’t necessarily need to carry it 20 times in this game, but against the Giants top-10 run defense, he will need to continue his strong start and keep pressure off Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.
3 — Rodgers and Nelson need to keep it going —
It was no coincidence that Rodgers’ first really good game of the season, came in the same game as Nelson’s. After both players struggled in the first two games, the connection appeared as good as ever in the win over Detroit.
In the first two games, Rodgers targeted Nelson 20 times. Yet those targets produced just 11 receptions for 105 yards. That’s a completion rate of 55 percent and a yards per target average of just 5.25.
To be blunt, those numbers are terrible. But fear not, against the Lions, on seven targets, Nelson and Rodgers hooked up six times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. In terms of yards per target, Nelson’s average was above 14. Rodgers’ passer rating finished over 100.
Hopefully, that signaled the return of Rodgers and Nelson to their previous levels of production. That’s what this Packers’ offense needs and if both players can continue that level of play this week, Green Bay has a good chance of finding the winner’s circle.