The bye week is over, the team is back in town and it’s time for Week 5 of Packer football. This week it’s the Giants who are in town, the nemesis of the earlier portions of this decade, and you know that Aaron Rodgers wants to take them down with authority.
The biggest question is whether they will be able to impose their will on both sides of the ball. Wit a few big injuries still on the roster, there will be some tough challenges for a team that is superior on paper, but hasn’t had much success in recent years against this team. That leads us to this week’s edition of 3…2…1…
For those of you who didn’t read here last year, the 3…2…1… series is a countdown of things the team needs to do to win. I highlight 3 key players (usually not big name guys), 2 bold predictions, and 1 key stat that the Packers need to win. But before I jump into it, let’s take a quick look at last week. Once the regular season starts, I’ll start keeping track week to week to see if I have been effective in predicting the Packers keys.
3 KEY PLAYERS
- #24 Quinten Rollins
- With Damarious Randall banged up and Sam Shields still out, Rollins is the best healthy corner on the roster. And while Randall is expected to play and will likely draw Odell Beckham, Jr. as an assignment, Rollins will get the task of stopping either Victor Cruz or Sterling Shepard. I think he’ll match up more with Shepard in the slot while allowing LaDarius Gunter or Josh Hawkins to match up with Cruz, who is more of a boundary receiver. But either way, Rollins needs to play well to slow down the strong passing game of the Giants. If he can take one of Manning’s weapons out of the game plan, it will be that much easier for the Packers.
- #82 Richard Rodgers
- Getting his chance again as the man at tight end, Rodgers needs to run with it. In much better shape to stretch the field than last year, Rodgers has shown the ability in the past, now is the chance for him to establish himself as more than just a zone sitting tight end and be a playmaker. We all know he has amazing hands, but his routes have been much better so far this year and his better athletic condition has shown as he has been able to get some separation from coverage this year. I look for a touchdown and 5 catches from the other Rodgers.
- #18 Randall Cobb
- One of the prominent questions among the fanbase this season, especially in chats on packers.com and packersnews.com has been about Randall Cobb. He doesn’t have great numbers yet, but he has done his job well. He has made a couple big plays and has been consistently getting open, just hasn’t gotten the targets. But in the colder temperatures tonight, that should change. His ability in the short passing game should benefit the Packers greatly against an aggressive Giants defense. He has the potential to get 7-8 grabs tonight, most of which will be in the flat or on slants.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
- Aaron Rodgers throws for 350 yards and at least 3 touchdowns.
- After breaking out against the Lions and shutting up a lot of his critics, except one guy on Fox Sports 1 who I will not name on this site, he should continue against an overmatched and injured Giants secondary. Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are knicked up and not close to 100%, and the safeties are better at run support than coverage. That should open up a lot of the field for the most talented quarterback in NFL history, and he’ll take advantage early and often, throwing touchdowns to Richard Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Ty Montgomery.
- The defense forces 3 interceptions from Eli Manning, two of which will be in the fourth quarter
- Eli is a great a quarterback in December and in the postseason, but he is average in October and can be prone to turnovers when he has to press in the second half of games. I am thinking a pick in the first quarter by Randall will rattle their offense but they will recover in the second quarter to play well, but the fourth quarter will be one of nightmares for Manning, as he has to push the ball down the field to try to come back. He will then throw picks to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde to seal the game.
1 KEY STAT
- Field Position
- With temperatures in the mid 40s likely, if neither offense can get going early on, the punting game will be huge. Jacob Schum had an average first couple weeks but he might have gotten back in stride after snagging a high snap in Detroit. The scouting report on him was that he has a strong leg but was inconsistent with placement, and in colder conditions, a strong leg could be a huge X-Factor. If the Packers can pin the Giants deep consistently, they are in great shape.
PREDICTION: The Giants will give the Packers a run for the first half but second half adjustments from Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers will allow the Packers to pull away late. The Packers go to 3-1 with a 34-21 victory.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.