Week 5 @ Green Bay Packers
The 2-2 Giants travel to Green Bay on Sunday night football after a convincing defeat to the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings (24-10). Odell Beckham Jr had his worst game of his young career, with only 3 catches for 23 yards, as the impressive looking Vikings defense held Manning and co to just 10 points. The Packers are coming back from a bye week and are currently 2-1, looking to chase down the Vikings in the NFC North.
The Packers are certainly not the offensive powerhouse that everyone thought they would be, but Aaron Rodgers is playing mistake free football at the quarterback position and the much fitter looking Eddie Lacy is starting to get back to his best running the ball. Lacy is coming off his best game in week 3 where he ran for 103 yards from 17 carries in the win against the Lions. Having lost a lot of weight in the off-season, Lacy is playing a lot more downs this season and looks near impossible to bring down when he breaks into the secondary. The Giants have been impressive vs the run so far this season, so it will be an interesting battle between Lacy and the Giants D Line, headlined by Damon Harrison.
The Giants are ranked joint last in the NFL with only 4 sacks through 4 games. JPP and Olivier Vernon are being asked to play on nearly every single snap so far this season, so it’s no surprise they haven’t been able to generate a lot of pass rush. On Sunday, pass rush will be very important, as the Giants can’t let Aaron Rodgers sit back in the pocket and have all day to throw, as he’ll tear the banged up Giants secondary apart.
Much has been talked this week about Odell Beckham Jr, following his worst game of his career and another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Vikings. Beckham has publicly said that he’s not enjoying his football as much anymore, this has to be a concern for the Giants, as they need their star wide receiver enjoying his football and ultimately playing at a higher level.
Hard to call it really, the Packers defense isn’t playing particularly well this season but the Giants offense still looks to be finding its identity. If Odell Beckham Jr can calm himself down and play the way we know he can then I think the Giants might just edge this game. The availability of cornerbacks Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could also be key as Trevin Wade looked horribly out of his depth against the Vikings on Monday night.
Giants 31-27 Packers
Player of the (Quarter) Season
We are at the quarter point of the season and I’ve listed 3 players who I believe to be the player of the season for the Giants so far.
Sterling Shepard WR- 20 receptions 263 yards 2 touchdowns
The 2nd round pick has enjoyed an excellent start to his NFL career, stepping up in this Giants offense that really needed another weapon besides OBJ. Shepard has shown off his incredible route running ability and his excellent hands, making him the most reliable target for Eli Manning.
Damon Harrison DT- 22 tackles
The Giants defense has improved so much from last season and Harrison has been a big part of that. Landon Collins nearly got my pick here as I feel he’s had a solid start to the season, but Harrison has been the best player on defense, helping the Giants to only allow 84.0 rush yards per game, which ranks inside the top 10 in the NFL.
Justin Pugh LG- PFF’s best ranked LG
The Giants offensive line is certainly playing at a higher standard than last year, with Eli Manning only being sacked 6 times and the run game looking a lot more threatening. Pro Football Focus has Pugh as the highest ranked LG through 4 games and it has showed, with Pugh playing at a Pro Bowl level right now. I’ve been most impressed with Pugh in the run game, his inside blocking has really helped create holes for the community of running backs the Giants have.