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Giants-Packers matchup of the day: Thursday

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Giants CBs Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara vs. Packers WR corps

In Green Bay's wild, last-second 38-35 win over the Giants in Week 13, communication problems and blown assignments by the Giants' secondary proved to be particularly costly.

What's different this time around is a dramatically improved Giants pass rush — with DEs Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora all turning it up a notch down the stretch — that could make it easier for the Giants' corners to keep up with the dangerous handful of WR weapons (Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones and rookie Randall Cobb) that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will have at his disposal. It's quite likely that all three primary Giants safeties — Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant — could get involved in covering the Packers' wideouts in the "Big Nickel" (two CBs, three safeties) defense that coordinator Perry Fewell likes to use.

It will be interesting to see how Jennings, who had seven catches for 94 yards and a TD on 14 targets in Week 13, looks after missing the Packers' last three games with a knee injury. Also expected to be back for the Pack is Cobb, who missed Green Bay's last game with a groin injury.

Webster, a big, tough defender who has been playing at a Pro Bowl level and has been more physical as of late, will be entrusted with primarily matching up against the Packers' No. 1 WR. But whether Jennings or red-hot Jordy Nelson (9-162-3 in the regular-season finale vs. Detroit) fills that role, remains to be seen. Keep a close eye on wily Packers veteran Donald Driver, who had a TD in Week 17 and a pair of TD catches vs. the Giants in Week 13.

Ross, who is more of a finesse player than Webster, suffered a concussion in the wild-card win over Atlanta, but apparently will be able to play on Sunday, which has to be a welcome relief for the Giants. Ross often needs help from the safeties. Amukamara, the Giants' first-round pick this season, has been exposed more often than not after playing catch-up most of the year because of an early injury.

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