Here are my keys to a Packer victory today against the Giants. If the Pack win the majority of these battles, we'll be heading to the NFC Championship game to face the San Francisco 49ers.
Protect Aaron Rodgers
The Giants have a legitimately scary pass rush, and they don't have to blitz. They have the luxury of keeping people back in coverage while rushing 4 and still getting to quarterbacks. If Rodgers doesn't have time to throw, we'll be in big trouble. McCarthy needs to mix in some running plays (I'm still fairly sure he knows that it's legal to run in the NFL) with some screens as well as quick passes. None of that 5 or 7 step drop crap; 3 steps, get the ball out to one of your playmakers and let them make people miss.
Pressure Eli Manning
The Packers lead the NFL in interceptions, and the knock on Eli is that he throws a lot of them. He's felt pretty comfortable the last few games, though, and hasn't been throwing it to the other team as much as he normally does. If we can't force a few Eli mistakes, the game may be too close for comfort. The key to forcing those mistakes? Pressure, pressure, pressure. Something our defense hasn't been so great at lately. It's time for Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji to step up and play like superstars and get after the quarterback.
Win Special Teams
Games that are close, especially in the playoffs, tend to turn one way or another on a big special teams play. A blocked field goal, a big return, a forced fumble, something like that. If our special teams have more big plays than the Giants, and it only takes 1, we should be in good shape. Calling Randall Cobb.
Win the Big Play Battle
My guarantee comes right here: The team that has more big, momentum-changing plays wins this game. Deep passes, huge run, turnovers, returns, etc. If Rodgers hits on a few deep passes, the Lambeau crowd will be going nuts. If the Giants start making big plays, it will shut us up real quick. Momentum will be huge in this game, and you can only get that with big plays. We need to have more of them than they do.
Start Fast and Use the Home Field Advantage!!
This is the biggest key in my opinion, hence the underlining, italics, and exclamation points. The Lambeau crowd will be wanting any reason to start going nuts and let the Giants know we're there. If Rodgers can throw a TD pass on the first possession and we can take an early lead, the crowd will be insane. We can't let the Giants make a big play or take a big lead early in the game, ask the Saints how that worked out for them. We have to at least stay close through the 1st quarter until everyone settles in. If we get out to a fast start and take, say, a 14-0 lead right away, game over.