Game notes: Giants-Packers

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Let’s talk Giants-Packers. Five things that stood out from my perspective in Green Bay’s 45-17 win over New York at Lambeau Field.

Click here to read my Jets-Bears post game notes.

1. Rodger’s production: If you want to come to the stadium with a game plan that is heavy in blitz-pressure, you better compete in the secondary vs. the Packers’ QB. When the Giants played off-man technique, Rodgers threw the inside breaking routes (think the 3-step slant and the option route). Show press at the line of scrimmage and you will get the vertical passing game from the Packers. Even when the Giants had good coverage close to the hip of the WR, Rodgers put the ball on the up field shoulder—away from the defender. He was accurate, played big in the red zone—again—and never stopped challenging this secondary. The numbers: 25-37 for 404-yards and 4 TDs. Can you get any better than that in a must-win situation?

Clay MatthewsMatthews and the Packers' defense forced six turnovers today at Lambeau.

2. The Packers’ defense: Forced six turnovers. That is going to win at any level of football and especially in a late December game in the NFL. The two fumbles were strictly effort plays. Charles Woodson strips Ahmad Bradshaw as he is engaged with a blocker, but he gets the ball out. Clay Matthews, in a trail position, gets down the field and punches the ball from behind Brandon Jacobs. Two plays that are strictly effort over talent—and should end up on offseason coaching tape. The picks? This is how this team is coached. Compete for the ball. The type of defense that can win and create field position.

3. Green Bay X's and O's: Let’s go back to the first Packers’ TD and talk some quick X’s and O’s. With Green Bay aligned in an empty set, WR Jordy Nelson runs the skinny post vs. 2-Man. In any route scheme vs. a two-deep look with the underneath defenders playing a trail-man technique (sit hard inside and play to bottom hip), the middle of the field becomes a target zone. Nelson wins at the line of scrimmage and splits the safeties. The result is an 80-yard TD pass because the Packers catch the Giants in the right call.

4. The Giants’ game plan: Could it have been different for New York? Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has developed into a very aggressive coach since I played for him back in Buffalo. He wants to pressure—both zone and man schemes—and force the QB to make quick decisions with the ball. Tough when you run into a hot quarterback like Rodgers. But, why didn’t we see more Cover 2 or maybe some Cover 6 (quarter, quarter, half)? Zone defenses that force the ball to go underneath. That buys you some time as a play caller and allows you to pick your spots to pressure. Plus it can protect your secondary.

5. Kuhn in the red zone: We have to look beyond the total rushing yards for the Packers’ running back when we talk about what he can do for this offense, because it is all about red zone production with Kuhn. His ability to run the ball inside if the 10-yard line today is so important to the overall success of this football team. I agree that Rodgers is special in the red zone, but with the Bears coming to Lambeau next Sunday—and a possible spot in the playoffs—the Packers will have to run the ball with production once they get into scoring position. This guy is a football player.

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