Maggie’s Pre-Game Six Pack - 2023 Week 14

The Green Bay Packers now sit at 6-6 after an electric win on Sunday Night Football. This week, the Packers travel east to take on the 4-8 New York Giants in another primetime contest, this time on Monday Night Football. Here are six things to keep in mind going into Monday’s matchup. 

1. Giant Chunks of Yards

New York’s defense is giving up a ton of yards on the ground each game, specifically to opposing quarterbacks. This season, the Giants are allowing an average of 6.3 yards per carry to opposing quarterbacks, which is dead last in the NFL. In general, the team is giving up an average of 4.8 yards per carry, which ranks 30th in the league. New York has given up 140 or more yards rushing in four straight games, allowing over 200 yards three times this season. 

While quarterback Jordan Love has looked to throw more than scramble in recent weeks, we have seen him make plays with his legs all season. Love has 39 attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns on the ground through 12 games. He’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry and has picked up 13 first downs. 

It’s unclear what Green Bay’s backfield will look like on Monday, but Aaron Jones did return to practice this week after suffering a knee injury against the Chargers. AJ Dillon has been limited in practice with a lingering groin injury, but that hasn’t kept him out of any game yet this season. Patrick Taylor is also on Green Bay’s active roster, and he had the longest run of his career (24 yards) against the Chiefs last Sunday night. 

If Jones isn’t able to go, expect to see a lot more Dillon and Taylor against the Giants. The Packers also signed former Alabama running back Kenyan Drake to the practice squad and released James Robinson, so it’s possible Drake will get called up to the active roster heading into Monday Night Football, too. 

2. Running Like a Chicken (Cutlet) With His Head Cut Off

In the last two games, Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito has been sacked a whopping 15 times. Somehow, the Giants have found a way to win both games, with DeVito himself posting a quarterback rating over 100.0 in both contests. 

Still, this is a bad offensive line. The Giants have given up 69 sacks this season, which is the worst in the NFL by a wide margin (the second-worst team is the Commanders with 58). They’ll also be facing a Packers pass rush that continues to heat up. 

Against the Chiefs, Green Bay sacked Patrick Mahomes three times and hit him seven. Those three sacks tied Mahomes’ most all season. It wasn’t just the same name, either. The Packers got contributions from almost their entire front against the Chiefs offensive line. Of course, Rashan Gary leads the way with nine sacks through 12 games, and he sits just one half-sack away from his career-best 9.5 sacks in 2021. Given the state of the Giants offensive line, Gary could set a new career high on Monday Night Football. 

3. A Lovely Trio

The Packers have eclipsed 375 yards of offense in five straight games, going 4-1 in that stretch. Green Bay has also scored 23 or more points in three straight contests, and that includes leaving points on the board with missed kicks. 

Love, as we know, has played lights out in two big-time games against the Lions and Chiefs (posting quarterback ratings of 125.5 and 118.6, respectively), but his receivers are answering the call, too. In truth, it’s been a collective effort from the entire offense. It’s the team’s newfound ability to move the chains and keep drives alive. The Packers currently sit at sixth in the NFL in third down conversions, converting 44% of attempts. The unit is also 10th in the league on fourth down attempts, converting 55% of tries. Much of that can be attributed to the trio of Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Christian Watson, who lead the team in first downs and touchdowns. Doubs has 30 first downs and seven touchdowns, Reed has 23 first downs and six touchdowns, and Watson has 20 first downs and five touchdowns. Both Doubs and Reed have also eclipsed 500 receiving yards this season, with Watson not far behind at 422. 

That isn’t even counting the contributions of Dontayvion Wicks who’s quietly added 18 first downs and 374 yards to Green Bay’s offense, or injured tight end Luke Musgrave who had 341 yards and a touchdown before landing on injured reserve. 

It seems unlikely that Watson will be able to play on Monday with a reaggravated hamstring injury, but the Packers should be okay to lean on the rest of an ascending receiving core with the way this young offense has played in recent weeks. 

4. G-Men Missing

While the Packers offense is putting things together, the Giants offense is looking for contributions from anyone not named Saquon Barkley. Barkley, despite missing three games due to injury, currently leads the team with four receiving touchdowns while no other player has more than two. He’s also added 697 yards on the ground and one rushing score, giving him 865 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns through nine games. 

There’s no true WR1 on the Giants roster commanding targets. Darius Slayton is the leading receiver for the team with 435 yards and one touchdown. Next is newly acquired tight end Darren Waller who’s played in eight games and accumulated 384 yards with one touchdown. Those are the only two players to eclipse 350 receiving yards for the Giants this season. 

It doesn’t get much better on the ground, either, as the Giants have only scored four rushing touchdowns all season, with two of the four touchdowns coming from quarterbacks (Daniel Jones and DeVito). 

The Giants sit at 31st in the NFL in points for (13.3 points per game), third down conversions (30.9%), and red zone offense (12-of-30). The team is also dead last in the NFL with only 151 passing yards per game. For comparison’s sake, Green Bay has climbed into the top-10 in points against (20.3 per game, good for ninth overall), and red zone defense (48.8% for eighth overall). 

Assuming Barkley doesn’t become a one-man offense on Monday Night Football and gash Green Bay’s run defense (ranked 30th in the league in yards per game), it’s hard to see the Giants fielding enough firepower to keep this one close. 

5. Mistake-Free Football

For three straight weeks, the Packers have avoided any giveaways on offense. If you remember from last week’s Six Pack, Green Bay was exactly even in turnover differential at 0, having 12 giveaways and 12 takeaways. With Keisean Nixon’s interception of Mahomes on Sunday Night Football, the Packers have finally moved their needle into positive territory at plus-one for turnover differential. The Chiefs were minus-five in turnover differential, giving the ball away significantly more than they were taking it away. 

This week, the Packers will face a defense that’s plus-five in turnover differential with 19 takeaways and 14 giveaways. Nine different Giants players have interceptions this season for 12 total, and they’re getting contributions from every level of the defense. Linebacker Bobby Okereke, rookie cornerback Deonte Banks, and safety Xavier McKinney all have two picks this season. 

Just like the Packers have played mistake-free football on offense for three weeks, the Giants have gone three straight weeks forcing multiple turnovers on defense. In Week 11 against the Commanders, New York forced a whopping six turnovers.

If the Packers want to keep building momentum on offense and make a push towards the playoffs, they’ll need to play sound football against a Don Martindale-led defense that knows how to take the ball away. 

6. Getting Hot in the Cold 

We talked about it last week, but Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s record now climbs to 16-0 in the month of December. As temperatures drop, LaFleur’s coaching seems to heat up.

Per the dope sheet, in all five seasons under LaFleur, the Packers have had at least one three-game winning streak. After snapping a four-game losing streak, Green Bay has won four of its last five to claim the seventh seed in the NFC playoff picture. With five games left to play, tiebreakers against the Rams and the Saints loom large. Green Bay will also be scoreboard watching this week when the Vikings (currently the sixth seed) take on the Raiders and the 49ers host the Seahawks. 

If the playoffs were to start today, the Eagles would still be the first seed at 10-2, the 49ers would be the second seed at 9-3, the Lions would be the third seed at 9-3, and the Falcons would claim the fourth seed at 6-6. The Cowboys are sitting comfortably in the fifth seed at 9-3 and could look to make a push for the NFC East crown with a win against the Eagles this week on Sunday Night Football. 

Enjoy all of your scoreboard watching, but also enjoy the incredible coaching we’re seeing from LaFleur in this stretch. To have a three-game winning streak in each of his first five seasons as a head coach is significant, especially going for over 375 yards of offense in five straight contests like we talked about in the third section. Keep it up, LaFleur. 

What I’ll be drinking for the game: 

I bought an IPA sampler pack last weekend having no idea that one of the beers was called Anti-Hero, which was perfect for a Taylor Swift sighting at Lambeau Field. This week, I’ve been saving the Jukebox-Hero from Revolution Brewing for Monday night. It’s a black IPA that I’m looking forward to trying, and I hope it provides you with a nice Friday earworm, too.

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

9 points
 

Comments (23)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
HawkPacker's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:13 am

I believe that point 5-Mistake free football is what we need to concentrate on to win this game. Minimal penalties and no turnovers is the key to victory!

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:26 pm

Minimal penalties is not enough to win, but the recent progress there needs to be maintained! Improved upon, even.

I'd love to see a punishing ground game be part of MLF's winning strategy. The reputation of being soft has to go, and last game went a long way to erasing that. I don't really expect to see this, but winning in the trenches and giving JL10 more time with a clean pocket would work. Having a run game NY at least has to account for should be doable, even if #28 isn't 100% and 27 has to carry the load.

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HawkPacker's picture

December 08, 2023 at 05:27 pm

Minimal penalties AND no turnovers is key!

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Johnblood27's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:22 am

I am thinking that scoring more points than our opponent is also a pretty good recipe for victory.

8 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:53 am

To quote the Great John Madden during a wild MNF game: "You know Pat, the way this game is going, the team that scores the most points is probably going to win this thing!"

Pat, after a pause: "Uh huh."

5 points
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mnbadger's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:48 pm

Turnovers at Net zero or better plus sure tackling add body and flavor to the winning recipe as well.
Pack 23 - Lilliputians 20.
GPG!

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:28 pm

I'm calling for 70! I want to see this offense hang 70 on SOMEBODY this season!!!1!1!

AGNFB

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splitpea1's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:32 am

For some crazy reason there are two MNF games this time: Packers-Giants on ABC and Dolphins-Titans on ESPN.

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mnbadger's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:49 pm

likely because this game belongs on the noon sunday telecast, IMO.
GPG!

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LambeauPlain's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:46 am

OK, Maggie. I am old, but intrigued...what is a Friday earworm? I enjoy IPAs. I also enjoy dark beers. I am even more intrigued. Jukebox-Hero, eh?

Packers cannot look ahead. Cue the "one game at a time" cliche. But wow, the Giants are dwarves this year with 2 wins vs Comms and vs Pats and Cards...a combined 10-29 record of the 3.

But I am a fan and I can look ahead. As crazy as it reads, the Packers still have a shot at the Division. If Pack runs the table (a real possibility), the Lions would need to finish 11-6 or better. Can they lose 3 of their remaining 5?

Lions have a tough final 5.

The Lions face the Ugly Purple twice. Also the surging Broncos and the Cowboys. The only easy match is the bares...but they almost beat the Lions on the road and face them at home Sunday.

Can the Lions lose 3 more games with two being to the bares & the Ugly purple at home? Sure. 11-6 and 3-3 in the Division vs the Packers at 11-6 and 4-2.

I can even see the Lions losing to the bares, Boys, Broncos, and one to the purple to finish 10-7.

I only post this because 5 games ago this would have seemed a metaphysical impossibility. It is fun to do so. Hope springs eternal in the hearts of Packer fans.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:32 pm

LP,

thank you for spelling out the possibility. Slight, but not impossible. I think it's more likely that GB finishes 11-6 and Detroit gets at least 12. That would probably give us a #6 seed and possibly facing Dallas in the wild card round. Valuable experience going into next season ...

1 points
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TxFred's picture

December 08, 2023 at 11:50 am

Maggie, the weakest part of this year's team is the O Line without hands down.
They should have a "field day" against NY defense.
If they run block. Going to tell the story & indicate how far the Pack can go this year.
Straight ahead power, shoulder pad blocking, giving Jones & Dillon hole to hit. A great balanced attack, will open the offense for JL to have a great game.
The cute end-a-rounds are nice. Running between the tackles is mandatory for balance. Makes the Packer very dangerous.
BTW, will you be drinking for taste or effect during the game?
GPG!!!!

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:34 pm

Fred,

you're describing the offense we all wanted to see this season. Hopefully we still get to!

1 points
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jont's picture

December 08, 2023 at 12:46 pm

The Packers have been getting pressure with four, it seems to me. I can't find any stats for the past five weeks on this, but just from my watching of the games, it looks like Rashan and Preston on the edges and a rotation inside of mostly Kenny, Wyatt, and Brooks have been getting through to push QBs off the spot and getting hits on the QB.

This forces off-platform throws and allows the Packers to put seven in coverage. With a 3rd stringer back there for NY, I have some hopes for an interception or two to really bust up this game and have GB ahead semi-comfortably by half-time.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:36 pm

I think it's a mistake to have a four man front against a run heavy team. 3 down linemen helped SO much against Detroit! This seems like time to call up #99 J Ford.

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CanPackFan's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:31 pm

My concern is for the Oline against the Giants. If Jenkins can't go, does this mean Newman plays? If he plays, this could be a long, frustrating day for us? Hopefully, it'll be Ryhan even though Newman shows as next man up on the depth chart...

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:39 pm

I'd be surprised if they don't play Jenkins, even if he's not ready to go. Rhyan at RG, move JRJ to LG? These aren't the type of adjustments our staff has been making. As a consolation prize, there have been times that Newman's run blocking was ok.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:50 pm

Maggie spitting facts! A very interesting article :)

LVN got the ball rolling with the first sack against KC. Maybe LUKE NESS MONSTER will show up and get 3 sacks himself? He's not only a hockey player, but a skier too. We haven't seen him in a cold weather game yet, I think he'll do well. Rashan Gary matches that, and everybody else gets at least one. An even dozen sacks?

GPG!

2 points
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WinUSA's picture

December 08, 2023 at 02:51 pm

Great article Maggie!

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joejetson's picture

December 08, 2023 at 09:07 pm

Follow the blueprint from the winning streak:
1. Take the ball for the opening kickoff, and score first.
2. Stay aggressive and build the lead. Keep foot on gas, don't repeat last year's debacle of blowing a good lead.
3. Backup QB for NYG will commit turnovers if consistently pressured. Force them to pass by stopping Barkley. 3rd string QB will eventually throw some INT's.
4. Celebrate another victory.

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Mr.Grapple's picture

December 08, 2023 at 10:52 pm

Maggie, Revolution Beer Company makes Anti-Hero... the Tasting Room is about 5 blocks from my house in Chicago. Good beer. Everything you wrote about has made my watching the Packers so much more enjoyable.

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Matt's picture

December 09, 2023 at 07:19 am

On offense: take care of football, don't take the risk when not necessary.
On defense: put a stamp on Barkley. If he suits up as a receiver put the best guy on him. If he's in the backfield dedicate Walker or Campbell to wait for him. If he's not going, I can't see Giants produce much. It's worth to spend much on him risking other options, because there aren't much.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:43 am

If McDuffie is in for Walker then we have a better run defense. Not exactly good, but better. Owens might help too.

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