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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants tomorrow at 3:15 pm.  This game is a must-win for both teams because if either loses, then they will be left out of the playoffs.  Aaron Rodgers will be back in the lineup after sitting out last week with a concussion, and the Packers will be looking to keep his jersey clean the entire game.  Here are the keys to tomorrow's game.
1) Keep Rodgers Clean
Rodgers will need to be 100% healthy if the Packers want to win this game.  He has already shown that he is a bit fragile, so keeping him from getting hit will be huge for Green Bay.  New York's defensive line has been devastating all year, and they will look to knock Rodgers to the ground early and often.  If this happens, this could be a longer day than expected for Packer fans.
2) Dom Capers' Innovative Scheming
Capers has been considered a defensive guru for some time now, and this is as good a time as ever for him to shine.  The way Eli Manning differs from his older brother Peyton, is that he gets rattled easily.  If the defense hits him a few times, chases him out of the pocket, and makes him jumpy, he is way more likely to throw interceptions.  B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews have to break through the pocket on many occasions tomorrow for the Packers to have a chance.  Capers will have to bring new-look blitzes for this injury-riddled defensive line to have a chance.
3) Kicking Problems
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes has not missed a field goal since week four, but he will have to continue his trend in blustery Green Bay, something he will have to adjust to since he has been kicking mostly in warm weather or domed stadiums.  Punter Matt Dodge has obviously had his problems, most notably last week.  Dodge has a strong leg, but he struggles with hang-time since his net average on punts is 10 yards below his distance average.  Special teams play a bigger role than most people realize, they cost New York the game last week against Philadelphia.
All things considered, the Packers have a tough test this Sunday.  I would be cautiously optimistic, but because I will be attending this game I am willing to go out on a limb and predict that the score will be Packers 28 Giants 10

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