One week after the Green Bay Packers got off to the worst start imaginable against the San Francisco 49ers, they flipped the script against the New York Giants. Following a quick three-and-out that the Packers’ defense forced, Aaron Rodgers led the offense down for a quick touchdown drive, giving the Packers an early 7-0 lead.
With the weather quickly deteriorating in the Meadowlands, the opening 8-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams seemed to set an early tone for the game. However, a fourth down conversion by the Giants on their next series set up a Daniel Jones-to-Sterling Shepard touchdown pass to tie the game, making it clear that the Giants would hang around and make the game interesting.
But with the Packers leading just 17-13 midway through the third quarter, the game seemed to change on a big play from Rodgers. Green Bay was facing a fourth-and-10 at the Giants’ 35-yard line when Rodgers, under duress and taking a hit, lofted a pass to Geronimo Allison for 15 yards and a critical conversion. After an Aaron Jones touchdown came off the board for a holding call on Robert Tonyan, Rodgers found Davante Adams for their second touchdown connection of the game, stretching the lead back out to two possessions.
Following up that series, Daniel Jones brutally overthrew Sterling Shepard, lofting the football right into Darnell Savage’s hands for the Packers’ second interception of the game. Green Bay found the end zone again on a short field, putting the game out of reach with a touchdown from Rodgers to Marcedes Lewis to make the score 31-13.
While Adams led the way with a pair of touchdowns, Allen Lazard put up a career day. Lazard hauled in a 43-yard pass on the opening series — on what Aaron Rodgers seemingly thought was going to be a free play — then caught a 37-yard touchdown on Green Bay’s second series after shaking free of the Giants’ secondary. Lazard would end up with his first career 100-yard game, finishing with three receptions for 103 yards.
Meanwhile, after two series and 15 minutes of play, Rodgers was 6-for-7 for 103 yards of his own, totaling just one fewer passing yard than he accrued in the entire game against the 49ers on 33 attempts. He would eventually finish with 21 completions on 33 attempts, racking up 243 yards and four touchdowns and a passer rating of 125.4. He added a 38th touchdown recipient to his career total in the fourth quarter, finding tight end Marcedes Lewis for the final score of the contest.
Rodgers’ production was critical with no semblance of a running game going all game for the Packers. Aaron Jones had just three carries for 18 yards in the first half and finished 11 for 18 on the ground with four receptions for 13 yards. The offensive line was at fault for several carries for losses by Jones, particularly in the third quarter, though Jamaal Williams was able to churn out some yardage late and finished with nine carries for 38 yards.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay defense seemed to settle in after allowing a Giants touchdown on New York’s second drive. Kevin King allowed that score on a tough double-move by Shepard, but came back on the next series with an interception on ball that Daniel Jones threw right to him. Despite getting some key third-down stops, however, the Packers did allow three fourth-down conversions before halftime, leading to the Giants putting another field goal on the board before the break.
The Giants would not find the end zone again, managing just three points in the second half. Their only field goal after the break came following a 43-yard pass from Jones to Cody Latimer, after which the Packers held immediately. The Packers’ defense found its opportunistic nature once again after that, intercepting Daniel Jones twice more to put the game well out of reach. Darnell Savage’s pick on an overthrow led to a 31-13 lead, and Tramon Williams made a tremendous play for the team’s third pick with about six minutes left.
Throughout the game, Za’Darius Smith was a wrecking ball, consistently applying pressure on Daniel Jones. He had four hits on Jones by halftime alone, finishing with five. And although he was unable to bring Jones down for a sack, Smith caused multiple incompletions with his pressure.
The Packers will head into the final quarter of the season at 9-3 and still sitting in the driver’s seat for an NFC North title. Ultimately, they did what they needed to do — and what everyone expected them to do — against one of the NFL’s worst teams. They will have another opportunity for the same next week against Washington before running the gauntlet through the NFC North to close the season.