Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Pack and the Beanstalk


Pounding runs from behind the New York Giants line have changed everything.

The G-Men, now playing harder than James Brown at the Apollo, have returned to the run, and in turn, turned back the clock. Yes, one of the NFL's worst rushing offenses in the regular season is again a juggernaut on the ground.

It helps that guards Chris Snee and Kevin Booth can't be stopped in the pursuit of forging lanes. They don't make space, space sees them coming and lays out. Giants have that affect. But more importantly, Brandon Jacobs, as fee-fi-fo-fum as they come, cannot be toppled from his playoff perch, a magic beanstalk that he ascends when New York need him most.

Jacobs busted up the middle of the Falcons defense with the reckless, grunting style we came to know before he slowed last year. Now, inexplicably, as if fueled by the raucous New York crowd, and maybe by his inspiring defensive ends - led by another Fewell, Perry - Jacobs is again a hostile creature.

Jacobs' barge and spin on fourth and inches near the end of the second quarter against Atlanta was just brutal. The line collapsed inside, he stomped outside and then pirouetted, banged his head against a Falcon, and dove back in to pick up the necessary difference. And just like that, the Giants accumulated 75 yards in a single half, almost twice as much as they'd gained through the air. Atlanta looked more distraught than crash test dummies.

So now Green Bay's defense, merely a mid-tier obstacle for rushers, faces a rejuvenated Jacobs, who can terrify the Pack with fewer than the 92 yards he had last week. Certainly the idea of Giant Jacobs is as much a psychological issue as a physical one: Fox's Sunday half time backdrop of him pumping his fists in between Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw was testament to that. The silhouette - the impending doom - should have the Packers quaking.

Look, we all know what the Packers do on offense. We've heard more about Aaron Rodgers prowess than Kim Kardashian's marital problems, yet another record he'll lock up in 2011-12. But we also know Rodgers' club allows the opposition to score points. Against the Saints in week 1 they allowed 34; the lowly Vikings posted 27 on them; the dysfunctional Bucs scored 26 in week 11; an inept Bears offense generated 21 points against this team for crying out loud.

I'm not talking about the Giants competing in a shootout because we know "Roy" Rodgers wins shootouts. No, I'm talking about the possibility of a take-no-prisoners offensive beat down in which Jacobs churns the cheeseheads into butter. Just like in the frigid '62 Championship game between these great clubs, the Giants will be hardened for a cold contest, and perhaps motivated to avenge that tough loss, and everyone to Green Bay since.

This article first appeared as The Pack and the Beanstalk on Technorati. 

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