PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush presents the first of five key matchups in the Packers' divisional playoff game vs. the Giants Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Giants RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Packers' run defense
The Giants' league-low ranking in rushing yards is more than a little misleading. Beginning with their Week 13 barn burner against the Packers in the Meadowlands, when they gained 100 yards on the nose on 20 carries in Green Bay's 38-35 victory, they have rushed for at least 100 yards in five of the last six games, counting last Sunday's wild-card win over Atlanta. In that game, Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 152 of the Giants' season-high 172 rushing yards in the Giants' dominating 24-2 victory over the Falcons. Pounding inside the tackles with occasional cutbacks that put the Falcons' defenders back on their heels, Jacobs (14-92, 6.6 ypc) was primarily responsible for opening up the Giants' offense.
With his quick-slash ability, Bradshaw (14-63 rushing) provided a very effective counterpunch vs. the Falcons. The Week 13 game vs. Green Bay was Bradshaw's first back after being out for a prolonged period with an injury. In that game, Jacobs had eight carries for 59 yards and a one-yard TD run, while Bradshaw ripped off 11 carries for 38 yards and had two catches for nine yards operating vs. a Green Bay LB corps that was missing both starting ILBs A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop due to injuries. Also missing in that game was Giants C David Baas.
A key to stopping the Jacobs-Bradshaw duo for the Packers will be strong efforts from burly Ryan Pickett, who has played more on the nose than at left end this season, and Bishop and Hawk. Pickett must clog the running lanes, and Green Bay's inside 'backers must stay disciplined and do a good job adjusting to the contrasting styles of Jacobs and Bradshaw.