There is not a single more important two weeks in football the the Divisional playoff round and the Super Bowl game coming in the final two weeks of the season. In the final two games of the NFL season a team will either make history or one team will stop history from being made. The Green Bay Packers have set themselves up to be in the middle of that. A win against the NY Giants this weekend could put them in position to be that team to stop history from being made. First, though, they must knock off the NY Giants who are on a roll right now, and that brings us to the five keys of the game. If the Packers are able to follow these 5 keys, they will win.
1. Passing Game: The Packers have had a very successful passing game all season. It has been at its best however, when they aren’t forcing a lot of deep passes early on. The Packers receivers have been top notch in yards after the catch. Brett Favre will have to remain patient as he has done for the most part all season and not try to take the ball deep to often early on in the game. With a good passing attack, the Packers should be able to take advantage of the Giants’ depleted secondary.
2. Balanced Offensive Attack: As a passing team, the Packers rely heavily on their run game to open up passing lanes. Early on in the season it seemed that was going to be a problem. With the emergence of Ryan Grant, however, they have been able to balance out their attack a lot more. The NY Giants defense likes to rush the QB. If the Packers can not get the ground game going they will have a hard time doing much of anything else. If they can keep their attack balanced, they should be able to keep the defense on their toes and that should keep them from over committing to the blitz and being successful as they were last week against the Cowboys.
3. Protect Brett Favre: Even the best QBs in the league run into problems if their offensive line isn’t providing adequate protection. It’s not enough that they keep Brett Favre from being sacked, they need to keep Brett Favre on his feet even after the pass. The NY Giants love to rush the QB, and that isn’t going to change in Packer country. The more time they can a lot Brett Favre so he can make his reads the more times he will be able to rip the defense apart for a score.
4. Get Pressure on Eli Manning: It’s true, Eli Manning has been able to play mistake free football in the post season, but despite what everyone is saying he hasn’t been perfect. Last week, in drives he was sacked, the NY Giants had to punt. If you can get to Eli Manning often enough, you will throw off his rhythm and he will make mistakes.
5. Special Teams Coverage: The NY Giants do not have a bad offense. They can put up points rather easily, especially if you make it easy for them. Last week against the Cowboys they were able to get a lot of good field position, often starting around their own 40 yard line. Domenik Hixen and RW McQuarters have been outstanding so far in the playoffs, and could give the Packers trouble if they aren’t tight enough on their return coverage. Covering Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress will become even harder if they only have 60 yards to go for a score. A successful defense will have to start on special teams.