Since Mike McCarthy became head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2006, the team has had an 8-2 record following the bye week.
The Packers didn’t have much good fortune last year following the bye week, as they went into Denver to face the Broncos with a perfect 6-0 record. The Broncos totally dominated the Packers 29-10 in a game which was played on a Sunday night on national television.
The Packers only had 140 total yards, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times and hit a lot more often than that. No. 12 only had 77 yards passing in the game as he seemed to be running for his life on every passing play.
This year, the 2-1 Packers will also be playing on a Sunday night following their bye week. This time the opponent will be the 2-2 New York Giants, plus the game will be at Lambeau Field. The G-Men have been hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball and lost on the road Monday night to the 4-0 Minnesota Vikings, who lead the NFC North.
Under McCarthy, the Packers have never lost a home game following the bye week. That being said, the Giants behind quarterback Eli Manning, have won three straight games versus the Packers, which includes winning the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff Game 37-20 at Lambeau.
The Packers came into that game with a 15-1 record, but Manning threw three touchdown passes to lead New York to victory. The G-Men went on to win Super Bowl XLVI later that postseason against the New England Patriots.
That was the second time Manning and the Giants upset the Packers in the postseason at Lambeau Field. The first time was the 2007 NFC Championship Game, when New York won in overtime 23-20. Like they did in 2011, Manning and the Giants also won the Super Bowl later that postseason, also against the Pats, who were undefeated at the time.
This is the history that the Packers will be up against when they face the Giants next Sunday night at Lambeau.
Even though the Packers are 2-1 and are coming off a 34-27 win against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau in Week 3, the Packers seemed to sleep-walk through the second half of that game and almost let the Lions back in the game after holding a 31-10 lead at the half.
The good news in that game was that Rodgers had his first over-100 passer rating (129.3) in 15 games, as he threw four touchdown passes without a pick.
Still, there are issues for the Packers on both sides of the ball, especially in pass coverage on defense. That is never a good thing when one is facing Manning and his talented receiving corp, even with Odell Beckham Jr. struggling somewhat.
On offense, the Packers are still only ranked 29th (293.7 yards per game) in the NFL, even after their output against Detroit. That includes being ranked 29th (193.3 yards per game) in passing offense and 16th (100.3 yards per game) in rushing offense.
The Giants meanwhile are ranked sixth (382.2 yards per game) in total offense. That includes being ranked fourth (288.5 yards per game) in passing offense and 19th (93.8 yards per game) in rushing offense.
On defense, the Packers lead the NFL in stopping the run, as they have only allowed 42.7 yards per game. But Green Bay’s total defense ranking is only 13th (350 yards per game) because of the issues the team is having in stopping the pass.
Currently, the Packers are ranked 29th in passing defense, as they have allowed over 300 yards per game, plus have allowed six touchdown passes. Overall, the opposing quarterbacks have had a passer rating of 105.3.
When one looks back over the first three games of this season defensively, compared to expectations going into the 2016 campaign, it’s almost as if Rod Serling has written this script.
The Packers were expected to struggle somewhat on the defensive line and excel in the secondary this season. But the opposite has happened, at least through three games.
Part of the reason the secondary has struggled has been the absence of cornerback Sam Shields for two games due to a concussion. Shields is still in concussion protocol and his status for the game against the Giants is uncertain.
The Packers will be facing a tough New York defense that has also had to overcome injuries in their secondary, as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t play against the Vikings due to a groin injury.
The G-Men are ranked 11th (346.2 yards per game) in total defense, which includes being ranked ninth (84 yards per game) in rushing defense and 18th 262.2 yards per game) in passing defense.
For the Packers to have success against that defense, the Packers have to continue to protect Rodgers in the passing game and also be productive in the running game.
The Giants have just four sacks in four games, but are tough to run against. Running back Eddie Lacy is off to a great start in 2016, as he has rushed for 214 yards in three games (71.3 average), plus has a 5.0 rushing average per carry.
Rodgers is having another fabulous season in terms of his touchdown passes vs. interceptions ratio. No. 12 has thrown seven touchdown passes compared to just one pick.
But even with those great stats, the passing yardage has been somewhat minimal, as Rodgers has thrown for just 617 yards. The passer rating for Rodgers this season now stands at 98.6.
Manning on the other hand, has been struggling. No. 10 has thrown four touchdown passes, but has also thrown four interceptions for 1,186 yards overall. The passer rating for Manning currently sits at 87.8.
But before Packer Nation gets too comfortable about expectations regarding the game on Sunday night versus the Giants, know that Manning has sort of been kryptonite to the Packers when he plays them.
Yes, the Packers have beaten Manning three times when they have faced him in his career, but he has also beaten Green Bay four times, including two postseason games at Lambeau Field.
Rodgers and the Packers did beat Manning and the Giants 45-17 at Lambeau late in the 2010 season, which was a game the Packers needed to have to keep their playoff hopes alive for that season.
The Packers went on to win five straight games after that victory against the Giants, which included a 31-26 win in Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ironically, the Giants now essentially use the same offensive system the Packers use under head coach Ben McAdoo. McAdoo coached tight ends and quarterbacks under McCarthy from 2006 through 2013.
Bottom line, even with their success at home after a bye week under McCarthy, the Packers still have a lot of details to improve upon, both offensively and defensively.
In addition to that, the Packers will be facing an opponent in Manning who has been victorious at Lambeau Field when it was truly win or go home.