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Bay Packers vs. New York Giants Pick.
Green Bay Packers (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. New York Giants (6-4 SU, 4-5-1 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date/Time: Sunday, November 25th, 2012, 8:20 p.m. EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +3/NYG -3
Over/Under Total: 51
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The Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants have played some exciting, back-n-forth games in recent years, especially late in the NFC playoffs, so it’s no wonder the suits at NBC picked the Packers-Giants clash in MetLife Stadium as their feature primetime game this week on Sunday Night Football.
Green Bay comes into Sunday Night riding a five-game winning streak, including a last-minute come from behind victory over Detroit last weekend, 24-20. But with each week the wins get less and less impressive and the Packers continue to lose more and more players to injury, and with key players like Charles Woodson, Clay Mathews and Greg Jennings still on the shelf it has many people wondering if they’ll have enough to knock off the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants.
For the Giants last weekend’s bye couldn’t have come at a better time. The G-men were coming off a very disappointing showing in Cincinnati, losing 31-13 for their second loss in a row, and it turned into the perfect time to rest some injured players and get refocused on the final six games of the season.
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With Dallas somehow only a game behind them in the NFC East standings, the Giants can’t afford to play like they were before the bye week, what players in the Giants looker room termed as “cocky” and sort of just “expecting” to flip the switch whenever they wanted. If New York takes that same approach this week, there’s no doubt reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will make they play for their nonchalance.
What makes this Sunday Night primetime game even more interesting is the line movement since the opening point spread was released. Originally opening with the Giants as mere 1-point favorites at home, the number has gone up to minus -2.5 or even -3 at a few offshore sportsbooks, even though a huge portion of the early money has been coming in on the Packers (up to 80%). The Packers are always one of the public’s favorite teams to wager on, but even with so much money on Green Bay the steam is going against them.
The over/under total opened at 49 and has moved all over the map since its release. As of mid-week you can find the total as low as 49.5, and as high as 51.5, and just about every number in between lots of 50s and 50.5 too), so you can really manipulate the total up to a point and the hook in either direction if you want to do so.
With two of the best teams in the NFC, and NFL for that matter, going at it on the gridiron the game itself will likely turn in one of a few key areas.
Green Bay is dealing with so many injuries in their defensive secondary and linebacking core that the Giants should be able to capitalize using Eli Manning and the passing game (256 ypg - 9th). Injuries to Woodson and Sam Shields has forced Green Bay to use rookie Casey Hayward and second-year player Devon House on the corners in the nickel package, and they already are starting a rookie at safety (M.D. Jennings), so if Manning doesn’t use Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Martellus Bennett to their fullest this weekend they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Plus, with Mathews still nursing a bum hamstring the Packers are without their best and most consistent pass rusher, meaning they might have to blitz to bring pressure and put all of those young corners on an island against Manning.
Green Bay has also been forced to play musical chairs along their offensive line too, bringing in backup Evan Dietrich-Smith to play guard and bump starting guard T.J. Lang out to right tackle. Last week the combo had issues against the Lions strong defensive front, so they might have to protect Rodgers with fullbacks and tight ends against a Giants front led by the dangerous Jason Pierre-Paul. Extra protection means the Packers won’t be as dangerous in their four- and five-wide sets, which would normally be the ideal way to attack the Giants weak secondary (258 ypg - 25th).
What is somewhat surprising is that home field has meant very little in the head-to-head series over the years. Last year Green Bay beat the Giants in MetLife in early December (38-35), only to lose at home in the divisional playoffs to the Giants, 37-20. In fact, Green Bay is 4-1 SU in New York since the 1995 season, while the Giants are 3-2 SU in the games played on the frozen tundra. Not only is the road team a solid wager (6-2 ATS in L8), but the underdog has gone 5-1 ATS in the last six head-to-head as well.
But with a fishy smelling betting line, the safest and best wager for Sunday night might just be the over. Not only is the over a perfect 5-0 in the last five meetings, but it’s also a solid 3-0-1 in the last four meetings played in New York.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The public is hammering the Packers hard yet the line has moved from -1 to -3. This is a red flag which cannot be ignored. I’m betting the Gmen minus the points.
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