3.) Deal with the cold. Green Bay did a great job of handling cold weather last week against Seattle. Unfortunately, they did a terrible job of it in Week 16 against the Bears. The Packers have been practicing with frozen footballs all week. Green Bay needs to turn the weather into an advantage.
Run Offense: Ryan Grant is a much better running back than any one player on the Giants. The Giants have more depth, however, and can mix things up in the running game with the one-two punch of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. So I’ll give a slight edge to the Giants. ADVANTAGE GIANTS.
Pass Offense: Brett Favre is at the top of the games, and has superior weapons at his disposal. Eli Manning has been solid in the playoffs so far, but the cold may throw him off. He’s not quite as used to it as Favre. ADVANTAGE PACKERS.
Run Defense: Both teams have excellent run defenses, with great run-stoppers on the defensive line and fast, aggressive linebackers. ADVANTAGE EVEN.
Pass Defense: Both teams have a great pass rush. In fact, New York’s might be a little bit better. But Al Harris and Charles Woodson may be the best cornerback tandem in the league, while the Giants’ injury-riddled secondary will have difficulty covering Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Donald Lee. ADVANTAGE PACKERS.
Special Teams: Packers rookie kicker Mason Crosby led the league in points this year, and has great distance. He hasn’t been quite as good in cold weather, though. The Giants’ Lawrence Tynes may be more accurate, but he doesn’t have the distance of Crosby. Both special teams units have good but not great return and coverage units, and punters who can be on or off. ADVANTAGE EVEN.
Key Players–The following players have the greatest opportunity to help their team this week.
Green Bay: Ryan Grant, Brett Favre, Atari Bigby, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Mason Crosby
New York: Plaxico Burress, Antonio Pierce, Osi Umenyiora, Ahmad Bradshaw, Aaron Ross