The Packers rallied to beat the Lions 24-20 last week for their fifth straight win following a 2-3 start, and they are now tied with the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North. This is also a big revenge game for the Packers after losing to the Giants at home as a big favorite in the playoffs.
The Giants seemed on the verge of running away with the NFC East, but consecutive ugly losses to the Steelers and especially the Bengals before a bye last week now have them just one game ahead of the Cowboys. And yet, the Giants are favored by -3 (+105) with the total set at 50.
1. Why Green Bay will cover the spread: Two keys to a Green Bay cover both have to do with line play. The offensive line has to pass protect well to give Aaron Rodgers time to find his receivers vs. a suspect New York secondary downfield. That was an issue in the playoff loss when the Giants’ defensive line spent much of the time in the Green Bay backfield. Also, the improved defensive line has to put pressure on the struggling Eli Manning. That pass rush has been the most improved aspect of the Packers team compared to last season, as Green Bay is second in the NFL with 33 sacks, just two sacks behind the Denver Broncos, with Clay Matthews leading the way with nine sacks in nine games.
2. Why New York will cover the spread: Two keys to a Giants cover are both on the offensive end beginning with Manning needing to snap out of his funk. Eli at one point led the NFL in passing yards this season, but for whatever reason he looked entirely lost while passing for less than 200 yards in each of the last three games, averaging a lowly 164.4 passing yards over those contests. A second key for the Giants is running the ball effectively to slow down the Green Bay pass rush, and that is where the bye week could have been a big help with Ahmad Bradshaw nursing a foot injury through much of this season.
3. Total Talk: The Packers have that look right now of a team determined to go undefeated the rest of the year all the way through the Super Bowl, and we do expect the offensive line to hold up much better than it did in the playoff encounter. We also think that the Giants will score their share of points here as we think the offense used the bye week to straighten itself out, and besides the sacks, Green Bay still ranks only 21st in passing defense.
We expect a high scoring affair, looking for this game to go ‘over’ even the high total of 50. We also like the Packers to win the game because we would never bet against Aaron Rodgers as an underdog as hot as the Packers are right now.
4. Betting Trends for PACKERS/GIANTS: Aaron Rodgers is 10-5 ATS as an underdog, and he is also 20-9 ATS on the road when not favored by more than 6½ points. The ‘over’ is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings.
Green Bay 31 – New York 27
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