Welcome to Wild Card weekend! The NFL regular season has come to a close, and that means it is playoff time.We will get two games on Saturday, January 7th and two more on Sunday, January 8th. The fourth and final of those games will be held at 4:40 pm EST on Sunday, as the New York Giants travel to Wisconsin to take on the Green Bay Packers. The Giants will enter as the first wild card team with an 11-5 record, as they hold the five seed, while the Packers claimed the four seed after winning the NFC North with a 10-6 record.
This is considered the best game of the weekend, as it many people are torn on who they expect to see come out on top. The Giants had their defense emerge this season after a complete overhaul in the offseason, and hold a Wild Card because they are in the same division as the best team in the NFL according to many. Meanwhile, the Packers suffered a mid-season slump before a seriously dominant run to end the season as they stole the division away from the Detroit Lions in week 17. The Giants are coming off a 10-10 win against the Washington Redskins, costing the Skins a playoff berth. The Packers won in week 17 as well, beating the Lions 31-24 to drop their rivals down to the six seed. The Lions would have missed the playoffs in favor of the Redskins had Washington beaten the Giants.
The Giants have had their ups and downs this season, but there is no denying the franchise has had its fair share of playoff success in the past with Eli Manning under center. Eli has led the team to two Super Bowl victories against the New England Patriots when the odds were stacked against him. So you can never count out Manning and the Giants, even if you see them as the lesser team. But they are not necessarily the lesser team, with a defense that has shown some very nice flashes this season. The defense was certainly a highlight this year, but the club also has a handful of solid offensive weapons as well. Odell Beckham Jr. is a playmaker who can take it the distance any time he touches the ball, while Sterling Shepard is an extremely impressive rookie. So do not expect the Giants to go down easy as they hunt for another Super Bowl.
Their opponents, however, may be the hottest team in the NFL. The Packers are on a six-game winning streak, and Aaron Rodgers is playing with some serious confidence at the moment. So while the Giants defense is good, it is almost impossible to stop Rodgers when he is on top of his game. And he has plenty of weapons at his disposal, and Randall Cobb will likely be back this week to add to the group Rodgers was working with last week. The team’s flaw comes in the form of their defense, which simply put, is not all that great. Their secondary suffered a few injuries in week 17 as well, so this could very well turn into a higher scoring affair.
This game sets up as a fun one. It should also be noted this is a rematch from week five, which saw the Packers win 23-16 at home. Look for Eli and Rodgers to trade scores a few times, in what could be a back and forth type of contest. But when all is said and done, I need to stick with a motto I am a firm believer in: Never bet against Aaron Rodgers, especially when he is playing well.
The winner’s opponent will be determined by the who wins the Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions game. If the Seahawks win on Saturday night, the winner of this game will need to take on the number one seed Dallas Cowboys. But if the Lions pull the upset, the Packers or Giants will be headed down to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons.
Line: GB -5, O/U: 44.5
Prediction: Packers 27 – Giants 21, Packers and the over