Weekend: Giants Upset Packers
It wasn't just an upset. It was a blowout. The Giants went into Lambeau field yesterday afternoon and completely dominated the Packers in a 37-20 victory. Even after being the victim of a few blown calls by the officials, New York was able to give 15-1 Green Bay their toughest challenge of the season.
For the first time all year, Aaron Rodgers was not the best quarterback on the field. Eli Manning left no doubt in anyone's mind that he IS an elite quarterback. Manning thoroughly outplayed Rodgers, throwing for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. He threw just one interception to Rodgers' two turnovers. Most importantly, he made more big plays than Rodgers. Eli helped the G-men covert half of their third downs, including one late in the 4th quarter that helped seal the victory.
The Giants also continued their dominance on the defense side of the ball. New York shut down the league's best player and one of the best offenses of all time. They allowed just 20 points to a team that averaged 35 during the regular season. Rodgers was sacked four times, and was constantly forced to make plays out of the pocket.
Probably even more impressive was the play of the Giants secondary. At times when Big Blue couldn't get to Rodgers, the QB had trouble finding an open receiver. Just like the Chiefs did in Week 15, the Giants never allowed Green Bay to get into a rhythm offensively.
Of course, the Giants had some help from Green Bay. The Packers never looked like the league's best team. They dropped numerous passes and lost three fumbles. After tying the game at 10, Green Bay failed to recover an onside kick. Missed opportunities and desperate trick plays are not the sign of a championship caliber team.
The Packers were hands down the NFL's best team in 2011. But now it's 2012 and the regular season is over. The Giants are one win away from the Super Bowl and playing as well as anyone. Their defense is on fire and their quarterback is second to none. After the game, Aaron Rodgers said, "We got beat by a better team." Who am I to disagree with the best player in football?
Knicks lose to Thunder, look to bounce back against Magic
I hate to put a damper on such a great weekend for New York sports. However, the Knicks played in Oklahoma City on Saturday. The result was exactly what you'd expect with New York in action without their best player. The Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks lost to the Thunder 104-92 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the score might indicate.
The game was over before the Knicks got off the bus. They fell behind by 23 at the half, and the deficit reached the mid-30s in the 3rd quarter. New York could get nothing going on offense without their leading scorer.
Perhaps just as discouraging was the play of the defense, which had improved over the past few games. OKC scored 92 after three quarters, and was able to rest their starters during the last period. Add Russell Westbrook to list of point guards to have a big game against New York. He finished with 21-8-8 in just 28 minutes.
The Knicks return home against the Magic today. Carmelo Anthony remains questionable. If Anthony doesn't play, they'll have a very difficult time pulling out a win. Their offense is just too anemic. If Melo plays they certainly have a chance. Either way, he won't be at full strength. The Knicks have yet to prove they can score the ball consistently against a good defensive team. It may be a holiday, but don't expect any miracles. Magic 92, Knicks 85.