For nearly two full quarters, it was looking as if the Green Bay Packers were about to drop a third straight playoff home game to the New York Giants. Then, two quick touchdowns late in the first half and a big second half carried the Packers to a 38-13 blowout win, their seventh straight victory.
The Giants didn’t take advantage of early opportunities to score touchdowns because of dropped passes and a Packers defense that wasn’t ready to call it a season.
After the Packers scored their first touchdown, a scrambling pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams, they would get the ball back with a 7-6 lead.
The half almost ended when Aaron Rodgers tried to hit Jared Cook for a long pass down the middle. It’s fortunate that Cook had the ball jarred loose on a hit. Had he held on, the Packers wouldn’t have been able to stop the clock to get the field goal team on. But the incompletion left the Packers time to try a “Hail Mary” play and it worked.
Rodgers rolled to his left and unloaded. Randall Cobb was on the receiving end, in the back of the end zone, of the 42-yard pass play which sent the Packers into the locker room up 14-6. It sent the Giants into the locker room shocked, wondering just what had happened.
Despite the Packers going no place on their first possession of the second half, they were able to figure things out and scored the three second half touchdowns and a field goal to pull away.
The Packers (11-6) have won seven straight and will face the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys (13-3) at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in a divisional playoff game.
The Cowboys beat the Packers 30-16 back on Oct. 16 in Green Bay, racking up 191 yards on the ground.
The Giants came out firing and Eli Manning was moving his team down the field. But the drive ended in Packers territory when Odell Beckham dropped a pass that was delivered right on the money at the Packers 26 yard line.
Beckham would also drop a potential TD pass and Sterling Shepard did the same. The Giants could have been up 14-0 early. Instead, they led just 3-0 early on.
After rushing for 102 yards a week ago, Giants rookie running back Paul Perkins was held to 30 yards on 10 carries on Sunday.
The Packers won the special teams battle as well, setting up good field position with solid kick and punt returns.
The Giants would get to within 14-13 after Mike McCarthy gambled on fourth down inside his own territory. A running play came up short and the Giants scored a touchdown two plays later.
That’s when the Packers offense got going. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb both had 100-yard receiving days, picking up the slack for wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who was lost for the game with a rib injury.
Nelson’s status for this week’s game at Dallas isn’t known. If he can’t play, the Packers have already proven they can win without him once. Can they do it again?
Rodgers finished 25 of 40 for 362 yards and four touchdowns. During the teams seven-game winning streak, he has thrown 19 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Davante Adams finished with eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Randall cobb had five catches for 116 yards and three scores.
Christine Michael also provided a spark in the second half, rushing 10 times for 47 yards.
The Packers will need to do a better job stopping the run against Dallas after holding the Giants in check. They’ll also need to put more pressure on the quarterback, registering just two quarterback sacks on Sunday.