Fans of the Green Bay Packers have been buzzing since their upset win on national television over the Kansas City Chiefs last week. After a bleak start to the year, the Packers currently hold the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoffs.
Green Bay also faces an easier schedule the rest of the way, making the odds of a playoff berth look even more likely. The Minnesota Vikings are probably the most difficult opponent remaining and even they seem to be on the decline.
That said, the Packers can’t rest on their laurels and have to take each opponent seriously and that starts now as they travel to east to face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
APC sat down with Ed Valentine from our sister site Big Blue View to look at the Giants’ season and this week’s game.
1. The Giants played well under Brian Daboll and gave Daniel Jones a big contract. This year they’re one of the more disappointing teams in the league. What happened?
Lots of things. LT Andrew Thomas, an All-Pro caliber player, injured his hamstring during the first series of the first game and missed seven games. Starting from there, the offensive line was a shambles until recently due to injuries and some poor decisions. Daniel Jones, partly because of the awful offensive line, regressed. Then, he got hurt. Twice. Saquon Barkley got hurt. The Giants opened the season with three games in 11 days, two of those against the Cowboys and 49ers. They also had the Seahawks and Bills in the first six weeks.
It was really just an avalanche of things they couldn’t recover from.
2. Saquon Barkley has been injured a good chunk of the year but the Packers have also struggled to stop the run at times this year. Is he still a big threat and can he carry this team past the Packers?
He is certainly still a big threat. The offense goes through him, and I would expect the Packers to see a heavy dose of Barkley. He is still not 100% after his high ankle sprain, but he is always dangerous with the ball in his hands.
3. Tommy DeVito is not a name many fans are familiar with outside of New York. What does he do well and what doesn’t he do well? Give us a scouting report.
DeVito throws a nice ball. He can be accurate when he has time, and he isn’t afraid to throw the ball down the field. DeVito is a New Jersey high school legend, an Italian kid who still lives with his parents and has become a cult hero in the New York-New Jersey area. He plays with passion and energy, and he gave the Giants a jolt.
I don’t think DeVito has the biggest arm, and he can run but he’s not a real threat with his legs. He’s inexperienced, and a lot of the pressure and sacks he has taken in recent weeks have been on him. He tends to hold the ball and can be indecisive/unsure when his first read or first option isn’t there. He’s a young kid with a lot to learn.
4. Dexter Lawrence. He can be elite when healthy. How do you see the Packers doing against him given they’ve moved the offensive line around?
Can be elite? Dexter Lawrence IS elite. He’s one of the premier interior defensive linemen in the league. He is PFF’s highest-graded defensive lineman. His pass rush pressure percentage of 9.2 is best in the league among IDLs with 210 rushes or more. Only Aaron Donald has more pressures.
The Packers might not have to deal with him, though. He missed the Giants’ Week 12 game with a hamstring injury, and as of now there is no guarantee he will be ready to play. The Giants are definitely not the same defense without him.
5. The DraftKings Sportsbook has the Packers a near-touchdown favorite. Are their any prop bets that look intriguing to you for both teams and how do you see this game playing out?
I’m not big on the prop bets, but I would say if Lawrence doesn’t play Packers fans might want to look at rushing yardage props. As for the game, I’m picking the Packers. The Giants are 0-4 in prime time games this year, they have more to play for and I worry that the DeVito magic will run out.