Why the Giants can win… Forget that they had the worst regular season record of the NFC’s six playoff teams, at 9-7. They’re on a roll now, beating the Jets and Cowboys in their final two games of the regular season to capture the NFC East title and winning easily at home against the Falcons in the first round of the playoffs. QB Eli Manning did the heavy lifting all season. He threw for 400 yards when the Giants gave the then-unbeaten Packers a scare but lost, 38-35, as time expired Dec. 4 at the Meadowlands. But now he’s getting help from the Giants’ running game and defense. RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw jump-started the running game against the Falcons and the defense pitched a shutout. The Giants know they can play with the Packers. Now the question is whether they can do it again and find a way to finish with a win this time.
Why the Packers can win… The defending champs are the Super Bowl favorite after their 15-1 regular season, marred only by a “How did that happen?” loss to the Chiefs. QB Aaron Rodgers had the highest passer rating ever in a season, at 122.5, and remains the MVP front-runner even with Drew Brees’s partial rewriting of the NFL record book. But there are some concerns. Rodgers hasn’t played since Christmas. The Packers looked a bit vulnerable down the stretch with injuries along the offensive line and to WR Greg Jennings. And then there’s the defense, which allowed Detroit’s Matthew Stafford to throw for 520 yards and five TDs in the final regular season game and finished the season ranked last in the league. The defense might not need to do too much, thanks to Rodgers, but it does need to contribute something if the Packers are to make another postseason run.