Eli Manning will be leading the New York Giants into Lambeau Field tonight to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
On the face of it, this looks like an awesome matchup between two historically successful teams led by two men who’ve been to the mountaintop. Dig a little deeper, and the story isn’t quite so rosy. Manning has spent his career playing for a feast or famine team that’s managed to pull it all together and get hot at the right time twice in his career. Rodgers plays for a team that’s managed to dominate its division for so long that he’s nicknamed the King of the (NFC) North.
This game will see Ben McAdoo, former offensive coordinator for the Packers, return to the place where he “made his name” (i.e., got credit for coaching up an already elite Rodgers in a system where the head coach calls the plays). We can see whether the student is ready to challenge the master.
Based on stats alone, it looks like the Giants should win the game. They rack up more yards per game (382.2 to the Packers’ 293.7), more passing yards (288.5 to 193.3), and similar rushing yards (93.8 to 100.3). Eli has thrown for almost twice as many yards as Rodgers (1,186 to 617) and has 101 completions from 152 passes, compared to Rodgers’ 55 completions on 95 throws. However, the Giants are scoring only 18.2 points per game (bad enough for 27th in the league), while the Packers score 25.0 points per game (good enough for 12th). New York has beaten the Cowboys and the Saints and lost to Washington and the Vikings. Green Bay has defeated the Jaguars and Lions and lost to the Vikings.
What do you expect to see from these quarterbacks and teams tonight?