Around the NFL  

 

Fast Forward: Showtime for New York Giants' defense

Gregg Rosenthal watches as much Game Rewind as he possibly can all week. He uses that information to look ahead to the weekend's biggest matchups.

This is the spot where the New York Giants usually make us look like fools. The defending Super Bowl champions couldn't have looked worse the last time they suited up, in a blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Eli Manning is going through the worst slump of his career since he was a rookie. New York's back seven is springing leaks. On paper, the Green Bay Packers have the weapons to make the Giants look bad.

Poor linebacker group

Chase Blackburn, Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka have not played great as a unit for New York. This has been true all season, but the problem only has grown worse in recent weeks. The Packers are excellent at getting advantages in matchups. Someone will need to handle tight end Jermichael Finley, who is coming off a strong game against the Lions. If the Packers get Randall Cobb on a linebacker or a safety, you could pretty much count on a big play.

Struggling cornerbacks

Giants cornerback Corey Webster's up-and-down career is back in a down cycle. He takes the opposition's best receiver and has been beaten routinely this season. The Packers expose thin defensive backfields better than any team in the league. Someone has to cover Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Finley and Randall Cobb when the Packers put them all on the field together. Prince Amukamara has been solid this year, but Webster and rookie Jayron Hosley really have struggled. The Packers will have serious matchup advantages, if Aaron Rodgers has time to take advantage.

Will the real Giants pass rush show up?

Jason Pierre-Paul already might be the best run-stuffer in the league. He also has been disruptive as a pass rusher this season, but he has disappeared for some games, like he did against the Bengals. The rest of the Giants' pass rush has been a disappointment. Justin Tuck is not enjoying a great season. Osi Umenyiora has been decent. The defensive tackles haven't been great. Kiwanuka and Boley have been non-factors.

This Green Bay offensive line is begging to be taken advantage of. Marshall Newhouse is a weak left tackle; T.J. Lang had to move to right tackle after Bryan Bulaga's injury. The Packers did a nice job adjusting to the new line by getting the ball out of Rodgers' hand quickly last week in Detroit (for the most part). Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level.

The Giants dominated last year's playoff game against the Packers by winning upfront. That Giants squad showed an ability to get "up" for big games, like in San Francisco. It hasn't happened enough this season, but this Sunday's game should be a game they are ready for.

Big Blue usually plays its best just when everyone expects them to lose.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15