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NFL Best Bets for Divisional Playoffs
January 13th 2012- Old Man Winner             

NYG + 7.5 vs. GB

The Giants are healthy, they are peaking, and I like how they match up with Green Bay.

When you look at the recent competition that these two teams have played there is a stark contrast. In their last ten games the Giants have played five playoff teams (3 of the bye week teams plus the Saints and Falcons), and only one team with a losing record. They had the most brutal schedule I've ever seen in that stretch. And, during that stretch, they were fighting to get into the playoffs. In essence, they have been in playoff mode for a couple of months already.

On the other hand, the Packers schedule was been a cake walk. They played only two teams in the playoffs (both wild card teams) and seven teams without winning records. Then, they sat idle for a week. In my not-so-humble opinion, this does not help team's get ready for the playoffs.

Let's break it down

Although many would say that the weather will not be a factor - no rain, snow, or crazy wind, I believe the cold will have a slight impact that favors the Giants. When it gets cold throwing gets just a bit tougher. The ball tends to die a bit quicker, a solid grip on the ball is more difficult, and receivers typically have more drops. Although I do not want to get crazy with this point, I do believe it favors a better rushing team - which the G-men clearly are.

While we're on the subject of rushing the ball, did you know that in the last three games, the Giants have averaged over 130 yards rushing per game and the Packers have averaged less than 90? And, almost exactly inversely, the Giants are relinquishing less than 75 rushing yards to their opponents while the Packers are allowing over 135 yards a game. This tells me that the Giants will try to make this a black n' blue game. They will try to get close to a 50/50 run/pass ratio. A game plan that tends to eat the clock and will allow them to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

Looking at the passing game over the last three games, although the Packers average throwing for 60 yards more per game than the Giants, The Giants are allowing over 125 yards less vs. their opponents than the Packers. In other words, both teams throw the ball effectively, but only the Giants have a shot at defending. And, the main reason why the passing yards against the Giants opponents has fallen recently is because their pass rush is back . . . WITH A VENGEANCE!

This Giants defense should be the difference in the game. If Rodgers is regularly pressured, and Eli is not, coupled with the Giants ability to run, I like the Giants chances.

This game feels eerily reminiscent of 2007 when the Giants played the undefeated Patriots tough on the last game of the season, thereby gaining confidence, before beating them in the Super Bowl. This year, a little over a month ago, the Giants played the undefeated Packers tough (losing 38-35) and will now meet them again as a substantial underdog.

This game should be close and I expect fewer points to be scored than the line indicates. I like the Giants plus the points and the under.

NYG 24 GB 23

 


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