1) Packers will win this game because the Giants will try to run it constantly early on and this will fail. Then, Eli will need to start throwing and that will fail. If the Giants open up with some early passing and a balanced attack, the GB defense could be in for a difficult first half anyway. But most likely, the Giants will try to overpower the Packers on the ground and this strategy will not work. Eli will struggle to be effective because he’ll be intimidated by Lambeau and a lively secondary. Look for LOTS of incomplete passes and loser faces.
2) Special Teams – The flow of this game could be interesting as lots could happen in the beginning as each team tries to set the tone. It’s likely both teams open up with a score, but then a Packers special teams return will change the game. The Packers special teams unit has gotten virtually no attention at all as experts analyze this game. It will be special teams that helps give the Pack the early lead, which will be critical in this game.
3) Pack receivers on Giants secondary. The Giants secondary would have trouble with just Driver, Lee and Jennings, not to mention Robinson, Jones, Martin, Grant and the big surprise Sunday – Korey Hall. If Favre is able to throw the ball at all (I was just outside and it’s 10 degrees and windy and miserable), the Pack could have their way with the Giants.
4) Grant being more involved in the screen game. This would help counter the pass rush of the Giants, especially when they get extra aggressive and blitz linebackers/safeties.
5) Field position – punting. Hopefully Jon Ryan has a big day because getting first downs might prove to be difficult. Feagles is one player who could be severely affected by the cold weather – just imagine your grandpa out there trying to punt. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say he either has a shank or a blocked punt or something like that as frigid weather is particularly tough on osteoperosis.
6) Coaching – McCarthy’s team came out fired up last week, but promptly went down 14-0. There is no way McCarthy will let that happen in this game. No way. This team will score very early in the game and McCarthy will be insistent on grabbing the early lead. Coughlin may have a trick or two up his sleeve, but it likely won’t work out. McCarthy also may be aggressive and try a memorable trick play, but given the weather, it too, likely won’t work.
6.5) Weather – the younger team will deal better with the weather – advantage Packers.
7) The most important key: Favre is not alone this year. Over the past 10 years, Favre has placed the burden of winning largely on his shoulders. But he finally has a coach who has effectively reassured Favre, and the rest of the team, that there are 44 other players who can AND will contribute. If Favre screws up, the defense can get the ball back with a nice turnover play or special teams can provide decent field position or Grant can break an 80 yard run, or Driver (Jennings, Jones, Martin, Robinson or Lee) can break 3 tackles to get in the end zone or a rookie kicker can make a 50 yard field goal. This may be the key of the season – less pressure on Favre.