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Giants-Packers matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the Week 16 game between the Packers and Giants at Lambeau Field.

Giants WRs Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan vs. Packers CBs Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields

After doing major damage running the ball in the previous two games, the Giants’ offense shifted gears in their 38-31 loss to the Eagles in Week 15, bombarding the Eagles with a high-powered passing attack featuring Nicks and Manningham, who had a combined 14 catches for 176 yards and three TDs (two by Manningham).

Giants QB Eli Manning normally likes to identify early on the weak link in the secondary he will be facing and then repeatedly attack that link. Look for him to especially test both Woodson, who has had more breakdowns than usual this season, and Shields, who was beaten last week on Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez’s second TD catch, which turned out to be the game-wining score. 

After missing two games with a lower leg injury, Nicks has registered 13 catches for 159 yards and a TD in the Giants’ last two games. Big, strong and explosive, he is currently tied for sixth in the NFC with the Rams’ Danny Amendola with 75 catches for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Manningham had his best game of year against the Eagles (8-113–2) and has seven TDs this season. He manages to consistently get separation and find the soft spots in zone coverage.

Hagan, who has taken over in the slot for the injured Steve Smith, had three catches for 36 yards last week and has 16-142-1 in five games. The Giants’ slot receiver normally gets 30-40 snaps per game.

Green Bay’s pass defense did a solid job holding Patriots WRs Wes Welker and Deion Branch in check in Week 15 (combined five catches for 75 yards). Woodson had a strong outing against New England and set the tone with two really good early plays. But he also had a shot at an interception that would have been a big play but failed to hold on to the ball. Williams continues to provide consistently excellent coverage.

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