The Giants are lucky to catch the Packers while Aaron Rodgers is hurt, and most people expect a win to get to 4-6 today. But the Giants have worries of their own, particularly on offense and special teams. Eli Manning and Steve Weatherford almost cost us a game against an easy Oakland team. If we’re going to keep the winning streak going, the defense is going to need a little help from the other units.
Here’s what I’m keen on watching today:
The Defensive Line — If Pierre-Paul plays, it’ll be worth watching how effective he can be with an injured shoulder. If he doesn’t, it means more snaps for our rookie 2nd and 3rd round picks, [DT] Jonathan Hankins and [DE] Damontre Moore. Both players have impressed in limited action, and the match up against Scott Tolzien is a perfect time to unleash the young blood on the league. For Hankins, the task will be stopping fellow rookie [HB] Eddie Lacy, who will be shouldering the load for the Green Bay offense. For Moore, getting after Tolzien in passing situations is a dream come true, and if he carries over the success he’s had on special teams he could start stealing snaps from the veterans.
The Halfbacks — Not many people are expecting much from Brandon Jacobs, who is making a return from hamstring and knee injuries. I think he’ll be splitting carries with Brown, and that we’ll be leaning heavily on that one-two punch to ground out the win today. Having a stable running attack is what the Giants have sorely lacked, and this will be the first time all season we can feel good about both the strength and the depth of the backfield. Expect 25+ carries and 120+ yards between Brown/Jacobs.
The Punting — If all goes well, we won’t even have to see Weatherford much throughout the game. But if we do, it’s very important that he bounces back from his worst game of the season. Right now there can’t be a ton of confidence in our “franchise” punter, and I honestly believe we’ll have to start exploring other options if he can’t get it together. It’s time our defense was given a helping hand with regard to field position. When opposing offenses have a longer field, the opportunity for takeaways increases, and Weatherford needs to do his part.