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Preview: NY Giants at Tampa Bay

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This is the most interesting NFC Wild Card game from the Packers' perspective because they could play either of these teams next week. Still it looks more likely that they would host Seattle next week, and if you believe Mike Sando's column at ESPN.com they remain the Packers most likely opponent. He goes through what tendencies winning teams have and the top 2 are that winning playoffs teams usually allow the fewest regular season points and have a franchise QB. The team that has allowed the fewest points during the regular season have won 30 of the last 38 playoff games since 2000 according to Sando. Not surprisingly the best scenario for the Packers would be if both wild card teams upset on the road this weekend and they host the NY Giants.

Teams FO Ranking NFL Ranking
Tampa Bay Rushing Offense 5 11
NY Giants Rushing Defense 10 8
NY Giants Rushing Offense 7 4
Tampa Bay Rushing Defense 7 17
Tampa Bay Passing Offense 14 16
NY Giants Passing Defense 15 11
NY Giants Passing Offense 24 21
Tampa Bay Passing Defense 4 1
Tampa Bay Special Teams 12
NY Giants Special Teams 20
Tampa Bay Scoring Offense 18
Tampa Bay Scoring Defense 3
NY Giants Scoring Offense 14
NY Giants Scoring Defense 17

The first column is rankings from Football Outsiders.com while the second column is from NFL.com. I added two categories at the bottom that I don't usually include in my previews; scoring offense and scoring defense. Neither team scores a lot of points, but Tampa Bay is very stingy at allowing them. Although it might seem like the Giants are easily the superior running team based on the 5 yards per carry average of RB Brandon Jacobs, Tampa Bay is pretty good at running the ball too. Both teams should have some struggles against above average run defenses according to Football Outsiders. The bigger problem for the Giants is that their pass offense has struggled while Tampa Bay's pass defense is one of the best according to Football Outsiders. They also give Tampa Bay the edge on special teams too. Any Packer fan that has watched their last two home playoff losses knows that home field advantage isn't what it used to be, but Tampa Bay isn't just relying on it, they are the better team, and they should win on Sunday.