The Packers are not the high-flying offensive machine they once were — far from it — but Aaron Rodgers should be able to conjure up more than enough firepower to inflict punishment on a Giants defense that gives up big plays by the bushel and is getting progressively younger and less experienced. Daniel Jones will not have much time to operate in the pocket.
Packers 31, Giants 13
Packers outside linebackers vs. Giants offensive tackles
For just the second time since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982, the Packers have two players with double-digit sacks in the same season. Preston Smith has a team-leading 10.5 sacks and Za’Darius Smith has a career-high 10 sacks after getting just 18.5 sacks in four seasons with the Ravens.
The Smiths will be tough to deal with for left tackle Nate Solder and right tackle Mike Remmers. Daniel Jones was sacked only one time last week in Chicago, but it was a game-changing play — Khalil Mack beat Solder and nailed Jones for a strip-sack that gave the Bears the ball on the Giants 3-yard line. Injury-depleted again at tight end, there is only Scott Simonson and rookie Kaden Smith to use if the plan is to protect the tackles with an extra blocker.
No Medals For Trying: It is now official: Last week the odds were 25/1 on Daniel Jones winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but now he is off the board, according to BetOnline. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is the favorite at 1/2 odds, and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is next at 3/2. Jones has played reasonably well but the Giants continue to lose.
“It’s tough on everyone,” Jones said. “I mean, tough on me, you don’t like to lose, no one likes to lose, no one on this team likes to lose. I think we’ve responded well. We’ve had good practices, we’ve had people attacking the next opportunity and we’ve got to continue to do that and continue to improve.”
Mismatch Alert: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will look out on the field and see three rookies (DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine and Julian Love) and one first-year player (Sam Beal) in the defensive backfield, along with veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Strong safety Jabrill Peppers will miss his first game of the season with a fracture in his back. Big-time advantage, Rodgers.
“The play is not over until the whistle blows with him,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. “He’s going to extend plays, his knee is going to be 6 inches from the ground he’s going to throw the ball over this shoulder and make a great throw.”
Third Downer: Last week these teams combined for some of the worst third-down efficiency in history. Make that third-down deficiency. The Giants were 1-of-12 in a 19-14 loss to the Bears, and the Packers were 1-of-15 in a 37-8 pounding by the 49ers.
“We were terrible on third down,” Rodgers said. “The games we’ve got out and played well on offense, we’ve had a good run game. They shut us down for a good part of the night running the ball and we couldn’t really throw it either.”
Ready For This? After missing five straight games in the concussion protocol, Sterling Shepard returned last week with a quiet five-catch, 15-yard showing in Chicago. Everyone was relieved Shepard came out of the game healthy and clear-headed. With Golden Tate (concussion) and tight end Evan Engram (foot) out, Shepard is the focal point in the passing attack and, if he is capable of it, the Giants need more from their top receiver.