Green Bay Packers (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. New York Giants (3-6 SU, 3-6 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date and Time: Sunday, November 17, 4:25 pm ET
Where: MetLife Stadium
by Evergreen, Pro Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB+6/NYG -6
Over/Under Total: 43
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It was only a couple of years ago that a tilt between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers would have been one of the best matchups on the schedule but injuries and poor play have put both these squads in a bit of disarray heading into their Week 11 game. If the playoffs started next week, both New York and Green Bay would be left out yet each is somehow still alive in their division and someone is going to grab a W on Sunday and feel pretty darn good about it no matter what. The Giants are still on life-support at 3-6 but they are looking for a fourth win in a row and the NFC East leading Cowboys and Eagles are on bye this week so New York can sneak to just one game back. Green Bay is just a game back in the NFC North but in dire need of improved quarterback play as Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien have proved the gap between Aaron Rodgers and his backup is too much to overcome so far.
The Rodgers injury has made the betting information a little crazy for a second week in a row with the online betting sites opening this game with the Giants as little as three point favorites to as much as eight point overs. The line has solidified a bit and Green Bay plus six or seven is most common although you can still find a five or even four point line depending on where you look. I checked the Sunday night lines for this game and found pick ems and New York underdog point spreads so dont forget to check your bookie if they offer those earliest lines, you might get a lucky and find a gem.
The nuts and bolts of this game really boil down to Green Bays ability to score some points, something they havent done without Rodgers, as it appears their defense has regressed or is simply feeling the full effects of numerous injuries. New York has not played particularly well on offense this year, especially Eli Manning, but they should be able to put up 20-23 points at home against an underperforming defense. That point total will really stress the Packers in terms of winning this game outright as Scott Tolzien, or even the recently signed Matt Flynn, will find it tough to move the ball against a pretty good Giants defense that should be able to concentrate on stopping the run and putting the ball in the hands of an inexperienced signal caller.
Tolzien actually played pretty well last week after being pressed into action on just the second series of the Eagles game. He wound up completing 24 of 39 throws for 280 yards with one touchdown against two picks. The one interception was bad as it occurred in the endzone and the throw needed to be aimed to the back pile on or simply thrown elsewhere but the overall body of work was good enough to get the start this week. Tolzien looks to be an efficient game manager so if the run game produces, the pass should be available, at least enough to move the chains. An entire week of preparation will help as well as last weeks gameplan was a scramble to get Wallace up to speed coming off a Monday Night game.
I would certainly not say that New York is any better than what their record indicates but a good amount of time has passed and losses to Carolina, Kansas City, Chicago and Denver shouldnt be viewed as horrible now that those teams have proved to be playoff contenders. Eli Manning was turning the ball over at a career worst rate and the injuries in the running game left the Giant offense in a very bad situation but Andre Brown is back to help the ground game and take the pressure off Manning. Brown should find running room against a Packers defense that has been ripped in consecutive weeks by Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy and Green Bay simply looks confused in the secondary. Nick Foles and Josh McCown converted plenty of easy throws so Manning may be able to look like the Eli of old and get something going with Cruz, Nicks and Randle. Green Bay has just three interceptions on the year and Clay Matthews wont likely get one playing with a club on his hand. Have you seen that thing?
The Giants defense has been relatively stingy in allowing yards but the offensive turnovers have put them in bad spots and the points have been too easy to come by for opposing offenses. If Green Bay is forced to drive the length of the field, New York should have success at holding them in check as the Packer run game is built to grind out yards rather than gouge defenses and has struggled without Rodgers as the extra defender is often present in the box. Mike McCarthy may have to add some wrinkles to help the offense out but look for New York to be in control of the line of scrimmage as Green Bay will again be sending out a patchwork offensive line.
Bottom line, even a crummy version of the New York Giants should be able to win this game at home. The amount of things that Aaron Rodgers covered up for the Pack is becoming very apparent and those things dont seem to stop on the offensive side of the ball. They dont play them on paper but Green Bay is in a bad situation if they cant find a way to be plus-2 or more in turnover margin or change the game with a special teams play. I think that eliminates any good feelings I have about calling a straight up upset but the Giants arent exactly built to blow anyone out so the points here start to be prohibitive on their end. This game should be pretty short with both teams looking to feature run-first gameplans and there are certainly enough limitations with each squad to turn this one into a 20-17 type of game that may be sloppy at best. I think a safe, controlled gameplan is executed by the Giants and they find a way to outlast the Pack in this one but there is enough from Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy to take the Packers and the points. New York 22 Green Bay 20
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay