2012 NFL Playoffs: Quick-Hit Reactions from Giants vs. Packers

The NFC was just chockfull of surprises in the Divisional round, as the defending Super Bowl champions fell on the same weekend as the high-powered Saints. Here are quick-hit reactions from the Giants’ highly impressive 37-20 victory over the Packers on Sunday.

New York Giants outside linebacker Michael Boley (59) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) for a 6-yard loss during the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Giants won 37-20. UPI/Brian Kersey

– The Giants proved something back in 2008 when they beat the Patriots and reminded everyone of it again today: If you win the line of scrimmage, you can beat any opponent. It doesn’t matter how much offense a team has or how good the opposing quarterback is: If you win the line of scrimmage, you can win the game. The Giants’ defensive line absolutely took over this game, much like it’s done the past four weeks now. People who said that this New York defense is an entirely different unit when Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are all healthy were 100-percent right. It seems like such an obvious statement but consider how bad the Giants’ secondary has looked at times this season and yet Aaron Rodgers and the mighty Green Bay offense was out of sync the entire night. It’s not just the secondary that those three pass rushers help either: It’s the entire defense. Michael Boley is freed up to make plays. Rocky Bernard has a presence from the interior of the defensive line. Even Antrel Rolle makes plays. The Giants are one of the few teams that built their entire defense around one philosophy: Get to the quarterback and we’ll be successful. And once again they’re getting ready to play in another NFC title game despite all of their injuries and inconsistent play during the regular season.

– Of course, we can’t kneel down before the Giants’ defense without criticizing Ryan Grant and the Green Bay receiving corps. Grant looked like he was trying to hold onto a flaming pile of Jello and the Packer receivers dropped seven passes by my count. Rodgers wasn’t the razor sharp MVP we saw all season but this loss hardly falls at his feet. I thought the death shot for the Packers was when Jermichael Finley dropped that third-down pass early in the fourth quarter when Green Bay was only down by a touchdown. Once he let that pass hit the ground and Rodgers was sacked on Green Bay’s fourth-down attempt, you could feel the seed out doubt set in for the Packers. Of course, it didn’t help that Grant fumbled for the third time on their next possession, which set up an immediate touchdown for the Giants, but the Packers’ fate seemed sealed long before that. Simply put, Green Bay’s offense saved its worst performance for its biggest game.

– Man, talk about a complete 180; Tramon Williams was the defensive star for the Packers last postseason and today he got absolutely served by Hakeem Nicks. I haven’t seen a corner get beaten that badly by a receiver since Demaryius Thomas abused Ike Taylor all the way back to last Sunday. Nicks caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, making Eli Manning’s stats all the more prettier by his run-after-the-catch ability and jump-ball skills. You could have heard a pin drop at Lambeau when he hauled in that Hail Mary pass right before halftime. What an absolute pain he was for Green Bay tonight.

– Green Bay’s defense did a pretty nice job with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but they both saved their best runs for last. Bradshaw’s 24-yard scamper and Jacobs’ 14-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes remaining in the game were beautiful. Both runs should have been stopped the way they were designed, but both Bradshaw and Jacobs showed great vision bouncing the plays outside. Of course, they were aided by some poor tackling/angles by B.J. Raji and Charles Woodson.

– Packer fans likely want him tarred and feathered right now but I do feel bad for Grant. He just hasn’t been the same player after essentially missing the entire 2010 season. He was on the sidelines last season when the Packers won the Super Bowl and he was one of the key factors in why they won’t get back to the title game this year. Just 29, Grant’s burst is gone and it’s highly unlikely that he’ll return to Green Bay in 2012.

– I thought it was nauseating how the media in New York kept drawing comparisons between the 2007 Giants team that shocked the Patriots in the Super Bowl and this year’s squad. But I’m sold now. You got me, Giants. I’ll buy. You win. This team is so eerily similar to the one in ’07 that I honestly believe that they’re going to win this year’s Super Bowl. For realsies, no foolin’ – I honestly believe that the Giants are going to win the Super Bowl. It’s like they’re on some kind of quest from the land of hey-haven’t-I-already-watched-this-before?

– Looks like Rodgers and the Packers can now discount double-check their way to their couches. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

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Adrian Peterson compares NFL to modern-day slavery

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson runs for a 4-yard gain during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 14, 2010. UPI/Brian Kersey

You knew somebody was eventually going to say something stupid when it came to the current state of the NFL.

Meet Adrian Peterson, that “somebody.”

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson made some controversial comments about the NFL labor situation in an interview with Doug Farrar of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner. The interview was conducted just before the NFLPA decertified.

It’s modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too. With all the money,” Peterson continued. “The owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money.”

Farrar took out the quote shortly after publishing. He tweeted that he wanted to give Peterson an opportunity to explain. Farrar described the comment as “a real misstep.”

As expected, AP is being ridiculed about the remarks. A person set to make $10.72 million in a down economy can’t refer to his job as “modern-day slavery” and not expect to receive backlash for it. In fact, at least one player has already taken to Twitter to disagree with what Peterson said. Below is a series of tweets from Packers’ running back Ryan Grant.

I have to totally disagree with adrian Peterson’s comparison to this situation being Modern day slavery..false..

Their is unfortunately actually still slavery existing in our world.. Literal modern day slavery.. That was a very misinformed statement

But I understand what point he was trying to make.. I just feel like he should have been advised a little differently

Actually, it’s hard to understand the point Peterson was trying to make. Is he saying he’s been forced to play football against his will the past couple of years? Is he viewed as property of the NFL or the Minnesota Vikings or can he come and go as he pleases? Is he treated poorly or met with violence if he doesn’t serve his employer?

As Grant noted, slavery still remains today so Peterson’s comment was pretty insensitive and, to use Grant’s words, misinformed. It was a dumb comment and he should take every opportunity to clarify what he meant (or better yet, tell everyone that it was stupid to even suggest such a thing).

If I’m AP’s publicist, I just fired myself.

Barstool Debate: Should the Packers trade for Marshawn Lynch?

Buffalo Bills' running back Marshawn Lynch runs for a 12-yard gain against Washington Redskins' safety Kareem Moore during the first quarter at FedEx Field in Washington on August 13, 2010.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Adam Schefter is the latest pundit to chime in on the Marshawn Lynch-to-the-Packers rumors.

Green Bay has to do something at running back, and I think the organization recognizes it. It knows it can’t rely on Brandon Jackson as its workhorse from now through the playoffs, assuming it makes them. Green Bay will continue looking for a trade, and Lynch makes as much sense as anybody. But the problem is, teams have been trying to pry away Lynch since the off-season and so far, Buffalo hasn’t budged.

This has been something of a hot topic of late, so I thought I’d enlist the help of our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, and try to come to some sort of conclusion about whether or not the Packers should trade for Lynch.

JP: Anthony, these rumors have been out there for a while, and given Buffalo’s situation (sucky) and the fact that they have three pretty good running backs, it makes a lot of sense that they would move him for a draft pick to help their rebuilding process. Lynch is 24 years old, has a career 4.0 ypc, decent hands out of the backfield and has had several run-ins (hit and run, misdemeanor gun charge) with the police. Given the fact that the Broncos gave up a 4th rounder for Laurence Maroney, what type of draft pick is Lynch worth in your opinion?

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Packers dealt blow as Ryan Grant expected to miss entire season

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 26: Ryan Grant  of the Green Bay Packers talks with teammate Donald Driver  on the sidelines during a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lambeau Field on August 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Colts 59-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It appears as though the Packers have been bitten by the “Stalter Curse,” as FOX Sports.com’s Jay Glazer is reporting that running back Ryan Grant is done for the season with severe ankle and leg injuries.

I picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl this year in my 2010 NFL Season Preview last week. My partner in crime John Paulsen knew bad news would eventually be coming to his Packers soon thereafter and here it is, right on time.

Grant is expected to be placed on IR, which would leave the Pack with Brandon Jackson as the starter and John Kuhn as the backup. Jackson rushed 18 times for 63 yards in relief of Grant in last weekend’s win over the Eagles. His 3.5 YPC average doesn’t look impressive on paper, but keep in mind that Green Bay was protecting a lead at that point and Philadelphia was loading the box in efforts to stop the run.

Expect the Packers to add a free agent at some point soon. Willie Parker is available after the Redskins released him last week, although he proved this offseason that he doesn’t have much left in the tank at 30. I would expect Green Bay to snatch a back off of some team’s practice squad before signing Parker, but you never know. Keep an eye on players like Ryan Torain, Chris Henry, Ian Johnson, Chauncey Washington and Brandon Minor.

What a blow for the Packers.

Obviously, if you were planning to go after Brandon Jackson before, you really need to go after him now. He’s fantasy RB2-caliber the rest of the way, especially in PPR leagues, since he’s so adept in the passing game. He’s not the inside runner that Grant is, so John Kuhn is likely to get the goal line work until the Packers find someone else to sign. In a blind bidding situation, don’t be afraid to put the whole lot down on Jackson. It’s not often that a pretty surefire Top 20 back is up for grabs at this point in the season.

Ryan Grant has a ‘pretty good sprain’ — pick up Brandon Jackson

Green Bay Packers runningback Brandon Jackson (32) is tackled after a gain by the Philadelphia Eagles Trevor Laws (93) and Trent Cole (58) during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Greg A. Bedard describes the injury:

RB Ryan Grant was wearing a boot on his right foot and has a pretty good sprain. Could not have gone back in.

We won’t know the extent of the injury until later today or tomorrow, but we do know that Brandon Jackson looked pretty good as Grant’s replacement, rushing for 63 yards on 18 tough carries and catching two passes for 12 yards. The yards-per-carry (3.5) numbers aren’t the best, but they don’t tell the whole story. The Eagles defense came to play and the Packers leaned on the former second round pick in both the running game and the passing game to pick up key first downs.

If Grant is on the shelf for any length of time, Jackson will become a RB2-caliber fantasy back, especially in PPR leagues where his pass-catching ability will maximize his value.

Afternoon Update: Grant has already been ruled out for Week 2. Jackson will likely be the top WW pickup of the week.

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