Friday, November 15, 2013

Preview: Packers at NY Giants

In most previews I look at how the two teams have played over the past few weeks to get an idea of what to expect. However, there have been two big changes for each team and it's changed what to expect.
Mike McCarthy really likes what he's seen from QB Scott Tolzien, and I can understand why. While the complaints about him (not much of an arm, not very accurate) are legitimate, he's reading the field well and making good decisions. His game stats against the Eagles were poor (26.4 QBR) and it was because of two obviously bad plays.

2nd Quarter, 8:57, short left pass for WR Jordy Nelson intercepted. He made the right decision, throwing to Nelson in single coverage towards the front pylon, but he missed. He should have thrown it further in front or over the top (your choice as to which would have been better) but instead he threw it behind Nelson where the DB could make a play on the ball.

3rd Quarter, 9:19, deep middle for WR James Jones intercepted. This was a bad decision. Whatever his first option was, it was covered. He held the ball too long, moved to his left, and tried to zip the pass in-between several defenders. I'm sure McCarthy will be all over him this week about it, and he'll be better prepared about what to do when a play breaks down. He can't pretend he's Aaron Rodgers and he'll have to play it safe.

So the first INT was something he probably can't avoid because he's not accurate and he doesn't have the strongest arm, but he can avoid the second type of INT. If he plays like an average NFL quarterback, he'll be a lot better than Seneca Wallace and he'll gives them a chance to win.

The big problem is that I'm completely down on the defense. They're currently ranked No. 29 overall by Football Outsiders and they've been getting worse as the season's gone on. It's going to get better at some point, but it might not be this season and it might cost DC Dom Capers his job. The pass defense has been a mess with no immediate hope for improvement, but the return of a solid run defense would be a big help. They had been good against the run most of this season, but they've been dominated in the fourth quarter by the Bears and Eagles in consecutive weeks.

The Giants have a lousy run offense this season, but they've only had RB Andre Brown for one week and he was fantastic against the Raiders. His DVOA is currently at 17.4%, which would rank him among the Top 5 backs in the league if he had over 80 carries for the season. It's only one week, so take it with a grain of salt, but the fact that he's coming off a great week while the Packers' are coming off two disastrous weeks is a case of real bad timing.

The hope is that QB Eli Manning continues his turnover happy ways. CB Tramon Williams came to life as a playmaker for the first time this season against the Eagles, and LB Clay Matthews is getting rid of his club. If they could force two or more turnovers (something they haven't done since September 22-six games ago) they'll give themselves a chance to win. I don't care how they do it, but they need to find a way to win.

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