The outcome of this ball game in my opinion will be stated by each defensive secondary - how the collective defensive backend of these teams play will go a long way to determining the winner.
The Giants' trio of receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard has combined for 58 catches, 811 yards (a 14-yard average) and three touchdowns. In the Giants passing game, they have accounted for 57% of the completions, 68.4% of the yardage and 75% (3 of 4) of the receiving touchdowns.
Beckham’s inability to reign in his emotions has overshadowed the fact he is one of the top receiving talents in a league that is top-heavy in game breaking receivers.
Beckham has seven TD receptions of at least 50-plus yards over the last two seasons. He combines great speed (a 4.4 forty-yard dash time), overpowering moves and outstanding route running to gain separation against any corner.
What the elite corners like Josh Norman (Washington) and Xavier Rhodes (Minnesota) have been able to do is get into his head and throw him off emotionally. That having been said, while he comes off a career worst three catch, 23 yard performance at Minnesota Monday night, the week before against Norman he caught seven passes for 121 yards.
What he doesn’t have this season is a touchdown catch, and that is part of his frustration. Dating back to last year, he has gone five straight games without a TD receptions - the longest such streak in his career.
Without Shields, it appears second year corner Damarious Randall will get the call. Randall has struggled with Stefon Diggs (Minnesota) and Marvin Jones (Detroit) and as good as they are, simply put, Beckham is at a much higher level!
When last we saw Victor Cruz ,he was one of the top slot receivers in the NFL. A torn patella tendon and a calf injury has knocked him out of all but six games the past two seasons. He didn’t play last year.
Cruz is playing on the outside now to accommodate rookie slot receiver Sterling Shepard, the second round pick out of Oklahoma.
From what I’ve seen on tape, Cruz appears to be the Giants' most reliable rout runner. Still capable of making plays, he has 16 receptions for 245 yards with a long of 40 and a touchdown.
Outstanding after the catch, he can make defenders miss and turn a short play into a big gain on any given play. Either LaDarius Gunter or Quinten Rollins (most likely Gunter) will get Cruz on the outside; Rollins is likely to take Shepard in the slot.
The Giants believe Shepard is a younger version of Cruz. He is quick (4.4 speed), plays tough and catches everything. It should be a good matchup to watch against Rollins inside.
These three Giants receivers have made 11 of the 13 explosive passing plays the Giants offense has posted this season.
A couple of things on Manning: He is the definition of a pocket passer. Eli does not have much mobility to escape the rush and does not throw the ball accurately when forced off of his spots unless by play design.
But he will take a punch and keep getting up, as this will be Manning’s 199th consecutive start. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and is 4-3 against the Packers in his career, including 2-1 at Lambeau.