Aaron Rodgers Will Be Joining Some Illustrious Company in 2017

Rodgers vs. the Boys

With just three more touchdown passes in 2017, quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers will have 300 career touchdown tosses. That would put Rodgers in a club that only 10 other quarterbacks in NFL history have ever achieved.

That would put Rodgers in illustrious company, but nobody will have achieved this honor in the same way Rodgers will have done.

As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes, Rodgers will be the first quarterback ever to throw 300 touchdown passes before throwing 100 interceptions. Right now, Rodgers has thrown just 72 picks in his career.

Let’s compare that with the other QBs who have thrown 300 or more TD passes.

  • Peyton Manning (539 career TD passes)- Had thrown 152 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Brett Favre (508 career TD passes)- Had thrown 175 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Drew Brees (465 career TD passes)- Had thrown 154 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Tom Brady (456 career TD passes)- Had thrown 115 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Dan Marino (420 career TD passes)- Had thrown 169 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Fran Tarkenton (342 career TD passes)- Had thrown 219 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Eli Manning (320 career TD passes)- Had thrown 205 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • Philip Rivers (314 career TD passes)- Had thrown 146 interceptions when he threw his 300 the TD pass.
  • Ben Roethlisberger (301 career TD passes)- Had thrown 160 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.
  • John Elway (300 career TD passes)- Had thrown 226 interceptions when he threw his 300th TD pass.

It figures that Rodgers would surpass the 10 quarterbacks who previously threw 300 touchdown passes in the ratio which compares TD passes versus picks. As I wrote last December, Rodgers has achieved a level of quarterback play which has never been done before.

Rodgers is the only QB in NFL history to have a 4/1 ratio in terms of career TD passes versus picks. When I wrote the article, Rodgers had thrown 289 passes, compared to 72 interceptions, which put him at a 4.01 mark.

Rodgers has since then thrown eight more TD passes without a pick, which now puts him at a 4.13 mark.

No one in NFL history even comes close to that level.

Even the great Tom Brady, who now is in second place with a 3.00 ratio mark with 456 career TD passes versus 152 picks.

No one else in NFL history has achieved the 3/1 mark and the 4/1 mark that Rodgers is currently at is certainly unfathomable compared to other great QBs in NFL history.

It’s also important to note that Rodgers is the only QB in NFL history to have a passer rating over 100. No. 12 currently sits at the top of the leader board with a 104.1 mark. Russell Wilson is second with a 99.6 mark, while Brady is third with a 97.2 mark.

Rodgers vs. G-Men at Lambeau

Rodgers also will join some elite company in a couple other categories this season, as long as he stays healthy.

No. 12 needs to throw for 3,173 yards to get into the career 40,000 passing yards club. That is more than achievable, as Rodgers has averaged 4,210 passing yards per year over the past three seasons.

Currently, only 18 quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown for over 40,000 yards. The all-time leader is Peyton Manning, who threw for 71,940 career passing yards, which narrowly eclipsed Brett Favre, who threw for 71,838 yards.

Rodgers will also join the top 20 in NFL history in terms of passes completed. No. 12 has 3,034 pass completions in his career thus far, and will break into the top 20 with just 136 completions this season.

Rodgers can move a few spots into the top 20 in that category this season, as he threw a career-best 410 completions in 2016. The all-time leader in pass completions in NFL history is Favre, who threw 6,300 completions in his career.

Now depending on how long Rodgers plays, Favre played until he was 41, and Brady will turn 40 on August 3, the former Cal Bear can put up some unbelievable numbers based on what he has done this far in his fabulous career in Green Bay.

Rodgers will turn 34 in December. Let’s say Rodgers plays until he is 40 and plays at the same type of level he has played at during his career. That isn’t unthinkable, especially when on looks at what Brady has done, plus Favre had the best year of his career at age 40 as a Minnesota Viking in 2009.

That would mean Rodgers would play seven more years. Based on his production thus far over his career (over a full season) , Rodgers would throw 245 more TD passes over that period, which would put him at the 542 career TD passes mark. That mark would top Peyton Manning’s all-time mark of 539 TD passes.

In addition, based on the same formula, Rodgers would throw for 30,005 passing yards over those seven years, which would put him at 66,832 career passing yards mark.

But as much as those individual achievements would mean to Rodgers, it would mean more to him if the Packers can bring a couple more Vince Lombardi Trophies back to Titletown.

Rodgers led the Packers to a 31-25 win in Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, when No. 12 was named MVP of that game.

Rodgers and the Packers have averaged 10 wins per season since he became the starting QB in 2008. Over that time, the Packers have been to the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons dating back to 2009, plus have won five NFC North titles.

While that was going on, Rodgers was also named the NFL MVP in 2011 and 2014.

Currently, Rodgers sits with 99 career victories (regular season and playoffs). The leader in that category is Brady, who has a whopping 208 career wins. Following Brady are Peyton Manning with 200 career wins and Favre with 199 career wins.

Again, based on what Rodgers has done in his career thus far, he can add another 79 victories, which would put him at the 178 mark.

That number can increase quite a bit, if the Packers can get to a couple more Super Bowls.

That Packers have comes close in two out of the past three years, as the team has reached the NFC title game in the 2014 and 2016 postseason.

Rodgers is only 9-7 in the postseason, but that won-lost record is very deceiving. In his career in the postseason, Rodgers has a 99.4 passer rating in the postseason (fifth-best in NFL history), which includes throwing 36 touchdown passes versus just 10 picks.

The seven losses that Rodgers and the Packers have suffered in the postseason can largely be blamed on defensive and special teams miscues.

Time will tell what Rodgers and the Packers will do over the next several years, but one thing is for certain.

Rodgers is playing at an incredible level and if he gets some help from the defense and special teams of the Packers during the postseason, he can add even more luster to his already great legacy.

A Scout’s Take on the New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers Matchup in the NFC Playoffs

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There is no doubt that the marquee game of the week in the NFL on Wild Card weekend is the one which has the 11-5 New York Giants going to Lambeau Field to face the 10-6 Green Bay Packers late on Sunday afternoon.

The G-Men and the Packers are the hottest teams in the NFC right now, as Green Bay won six games in a row to close out the regular season, while New York won nine out of their last 11 games.

The NFC North champion Packers did beat the Giants by a score of 23-16 in Week 5 of the regular season at Lambeau Field, but the G-Men went on a six-game winning streak of their own after that.

Although the Giants did not win the NFC East, they did beat the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys twice in the regular season.

When it comes to meeting in the postseason, this will be the eighth time that the Packers have played each other.

The Packers defeated the Giants in the 1939, 1944, 1961 and 1962 NFL title games, while the G-Men beat the Packers in the 1938 title game and the 2007 NFC title game.

The only time the Giants and Packers played in the postseason without a championship on the line was in the 2011 playoffs, when New York defeated Green Bay at Lambeau Field in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In both the 2007 and 2011 postseason games, it was quarterback Eli Manning who led the Giants to victory.

Overall in his career against the Packers in the regular season, Manning is 2-4. But the game on Sunday afternoon is not in the regular season. No, that’s the postseason. That’s the time of year when Manning has shined against the Packers, as he a perfect 2-0 at Lambeau Field.

Plus, after each one of those victories over the Packers, the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl and each time it was against the New England Patriots.

Rodgers is 3-1 against the Giants in the regular season, but 0-1 in the postseason. In the 2011 playoff game which matched Manning versus Rodgers, No. 10 got the best of No. 12.

Manning threw three touchdown passes versus one interception for 330 yards. That adds up to a 114.5 passer rating.

Rodgers, who was coming of a 2011 NFL MVP season, threw two touchdown passes versus one pick for 264 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 78.5. That being said, Rodgers was victimized by a number of dropped passes that day by his receivers.

Overall in the postseason, Rodgers has done quite well overall, as he is the fifth-highest ranked quarterback in NFL history with a passer rating of 98.2. In 13 starts in his career in the postseason, Rodgers has thrown 27 touchdown passes versus eight picks for 3,454 yards.

Manning is ranked 12th in that category, as he has a career passer rating of 89.3 in the postseason. In 11 games, Manning has thrown 17 touchdown passes versus eight interceptions for 2,516 yards.

at Lambeau Field on October 9, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

It goes without question that the quarterback play will be a key factor in determining who will win on Sunday afternoon. Based on the way each of the quarterbacks have performed during the 2016 regular season, the advantage has to lie with Rodgers.

Rodgers had another NFL MVP-type season, as he threw 40 touchdown passes versus just seven picks for 4,428 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 104.2.

Manning meanwhile, threw 26 touchdown passes versus 16 interceptions for 4,027 yards. That adds up to a passer rating of 86.0.

Then there is the mobility and the running skills of Rodgers compared to Manning.

Rodgers is very elusive in the pocket, while Manning is almost like a statue at times, although he can step up in the pocket and has a quick release.

That being said, Rodgers was sacked 35 times, but most of those sacks came as No. 12 held the ball too long going through his progressions. That and his receivers just not getting open at times earlier in the season. Manning, on the other hand, was sacked just 21 times, but is also prone to throwing an interception when the pass pressure is heavy.

When it comes to running with the football, there is no comparison. Rodgers ran for 369 yards in 2016 and had four touchdowns toting the rock. Manning almost never takes off and runs with ball and had -9 yards rushing this season.

Comparing the two offenses, the Packers are ranked eighth (368.8 yards per game) in the NFL in total offense, while the Giants are ranked 25th (330.7 yards per game).

Both the Packers and Giants have struggled running the football this year.

The Packers have been hit hard by injuries at the running back position with Eddie Lacy being put on injured reserve in October with ankle injury. Green Bay has tried to fill the void with Ty Montgomery (457 yards, 5.9 average and three touchdowns), as the converted wide receiver has given the running game a boost.

The Packers rank 20th in the NFL in rushing, as they average 106.3 yards per game.

The G-Men are ranked only 29th in rushing in the NFL, although the ground game has gotten a bit better recently. Still, the Giants only average 88.2 yards per game on the ground.

As of late, New York has been using both Rashad Jennings (593 yards and three touchdowns) and Paul Perkins (456 yards) at running back.

In the passing game, both teams are much better in that aspect of the offense.

The Packers are ranked seventh in the NFL in passing offense. A lot of credit for that has to go to the offensive line’s ability to protect Rodgers. In fact, Pro Football Focus named three offensive linemen on the Packers as the best pass-blockers in the NFL at their various positions.

Those players are left tackle David Bakhtiari, right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Rodgers has plenty of weapons in the passing game to use at his disposal as well.

jordy-vs-the-giants-ii

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson led the way in 2016, as No. 87 had another banner year, just a year after an ACL tear, with 97 receptions for 1,257 and 14 touchdowns.

Wide receiver Davante Adams had his best year as a pro in 2016, as he had 75 catches for 997 yards and 12 scores.

In addition to that, wide receiver Randall Cobb had 60 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns, while Montgomery chipped in with 44 catches for 348 yards.

Both Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers each had 30 catches at the tight end position and combined for three scores.

Aaron Rodgers has gone out of his way to say that the reason for the success of the passing game for the Packers over the past seven games is the presence of Cook and his seam-stretching ability down the field.

The Giants are ranked 17th in passing offense in the NFL.

The offensive line has issues on the outside with the pass-blocking, as both left tackle Ereck Flowers and right tackle Marshall Newhouse are prone to allowing pass-pressure.

In terms of weapons for Manning in the passing game, he has one of the very best receivers in the game with Odell Beckham Jr. No. 13 had 101 receptions for 1.367 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016.

Rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard had a nice first year in the NFL, as he had 65 catches for 683 yards and eight touchdowns.

The salsa dancer, Victor Cruz, chipped in at wide receiver with 39 catches for 586 yards and one score, while tight end Will Tye had 48 receptions for 395 yards and one touchdown.

Jennings and Perkins combined for 50 catches for 363 yards and one score.

While the Packers have the advantage over the Giants on offense, the G-men definitely have the advantage over the Pack on defense.

New York is ranked 10th in total defense in the NFL, while the Packers are ranked 22nd.

Both teams are solid against the run, as the Giants are ranked third in rushing defense, while the Packers are ranked eighth.

It’s in the passing game where both defenses can be exploited, but more so with the Packers.

Green Bay was ranked 31st in passing defense, as they allowed 32 touchdown passes and opposing quarterbacks to have a 95.9 passer rating.

New York was ranked 23rd in passing defense, as they allowed 15 touchdown passes and opposing quarterbacks a passer rating of 75.8.

Both teams had 17 interceptions in 2016.

The Packers strength in the secondary is at the safety position, led by Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (a combined 173 tackles and seven picks). Injuries have taken their toll on the Packers at the cornerback position and this is where most of the damage is being done.

morgan-burnett-vs-the-giants

Losing Sam Shields (concussion) after the first game of the season has had a devastating affect on the position. Both Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins have played  through groin injuries in 2016 and their play has suffered because of it.

Rollins doesn’t look like he’ll play versus the Giants due to a concussion he suffered against the Lions in Week 17. Randall was in and out of the game because of shoulder and knee issues, but he looks like he’ll be able to play against the Giants.

The Packers desperately need an effective pass-rush to help the secondary out. Not so much to sack Manning, but to get him off his spot and force bad throws or interceptions.

The Packers were tied for sixth in the NFL in sacks with 40. Nick Perry led the way with 11, while Julius Peppers had 7.5 and Clay Matthews had five.

The Giants started out very slow in rushing the passer in terms of sacks this season, but ended up tied for 14th in the NFL with 35.

Olivier Vernon led the way with 8.5 sacks, while Jason Pierre-Paul had seven. Pierre-Paul recently had hernia surgery and it doesn’t appear that he will play versus the Packers.

The secondary of the Giants is very strong, led by Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (nine combined interceptions) at the cornerback position.

Safety Landon Collins led the Giants with 125 tackles, plus had four sacks and five picks.

In terms of special teams, both teams have very solid placekickers. Mason Crosby continues to be one of the best in NFL, as No. 2 had 122 points and converted 26 out of 30 field goals, including six of eight from 40 yards or more out.

For the Giants, Robbie Gould took over for Josh Brown as placekicker after five games and has been perfect in field goal attempts, as he was 10 for 10 in 2016. As a team, the Giants were 21 out of 22 in field goals this past season.

The Giants have a clear advantage over the Packers in the punting game, as they were ranked third in the NFL in punting overall in 2016, while the Packers were ranked 30th.

Punter Brad Wing of the Giants has a big leg and has averaged 46.2 yards a punt, plus has a 40.9 net average. Wing also placed 30 punts inside the 20.

Meanwhile, punter Jacob Schrum of the Packers is hot and cold. Sometimes he hits some beauties and at other times, he hits some real ugly ducklings, like he did with his last punt in the Detroit game last Sunday night.

Schrum had a an average of 43.1 per punt and a net average of 39.1. Schrum also placed 19 punts inside the 20.

The good news for the Packers in the punting game is that they were ranked fourth in the NFL in covering punts over the 2016 season, while the G-Men were ranked were ranked 23rd.

In terms of covering kickoffs, the Packers were dead-last in that category in the NFL in 2016, as they gave up an average of 26.1 yards per return and allowed one score.

The Giants weren’t much better, as they were ranked 25th in that category in the regular season, as they allowed 22.8 yards per return.

The Packers have used a number of players for both the punt returns and kickoff returns this past season. As of late, the Packers have used both Christine Michael and Jeff Janis on kick returns, and Micah Hyde on punt returns.

The Packers were ranked 24th in kick returns and 20th in punt returns in 2016.

The Giants utilize Dwayne Harris for the most part in both punt and kickoff returns. The G-Men were tied for seventh in the NFL in kick returns and were 11th in punts returns this past season.

With NFL Wild Card weekend right around the corner, specifically the game between the Giants and Packers, I wanted to get some insight from one of the best in the business, NFL scout Chris Landry.

I try and talk with Landry each week on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show, but I didn’t have the opportunity earlier this week. Still, Landry and Duemig did talk about all the Wild Card games this weekend, which included the Giants-Packers matchup.

Landry also talked about how he thinks things will unfold in the NFC playoffs.

aaron-vs-the-giants-ii

“These are two teams [Giants and Packers] going in who are playing well,” Landry said. “The whole key to this game and the whole key to playing the Packers, is you have to keep Aaron Rodgers contained.

“He is the best I have ever seen outside the pocket. Better than Tarkenton. Because he throws the football so accurately. He’s throwing receivers open outside the pocket, that he paralyzes your ability if you have a good pass rush, because he can extend it and the pass rush can’t get to him and the coverage can’t hold long enough, that he just beats you with enough big plays.

“If you can do that [containing Rodgers], you have a much better chance of beating them. The Giants are confident and have done it before. Eli has done it before at Lambeau. This Giants defense is really good. It can cause problems for you and this is where the matchup is most intriguing.

“I like Green Bay. I think Green Bay and Atlanta will end up in the NFC Championship Game, more than Dallas. We’ve got time to address that because we have another week before we get there. I like Green Bay at home here, but they [NFL] certainly have these matchups lined up correctly, because I think this is the best matchup of the four. And certainly the most intriguing with two hot teams.

“I can see both of these teams causing a lot of damage and going deep into the playoffs. Outside of Pittsburgh, those are the only three teams playing this week, Pittsburgh, the Giants and the Packers, who can do some damage going further past this weekend.”

The Packers and Giants Have a Storied History With Each Other

bart-vs-the-g-men

The Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants will be meeting for the 53rd time in their regular season history on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. Green Bay holds a 27-23-2 advantage over the G-Men in a series that began back in 1928.

The Packers and Giants have also played in the postseason seven times, with the Pack again holding the advantage with 4-3 edge over New York.

The Packers have also played seven postseason games against the Dallas Cowboys (3-4) and the San Francisco 49ers (4-3), which is the most times that the Packers have met teams in the playoffs.

In the preseason, the Packers and Giants have met on 30 occasions, which is also the most times the Packers have played an opponent in the exhibition season. The Pack leads that series 19-9-2.

When the Packers and Giants met back in 1928, Green Bay played it’s home games at old City Stadium, while New York played their home games at the Polo Grounds.

The Packers never played a postseason game at old City Stadium (1925-1956), while they did play in three NFL title games at the Polo Grounds when Curly Lambeau was head coach.

The first one was in 1936 against the then Boston Redskins, which was a year before the team moved to Washington.

Owner George Preston Marshall of the Redskins was not happy with the support the team was receiving in Boston. Because of that, Marshall decided to host the NFL title game in New York at the Polo Grounds, instead of Fenway Park, where the Redskins played their home games.

The title game in the Big Apple drew 29,545 fans.

The Packers won that championship game 21-6, mostly because of the passing of Arnie Herber. The Packers had twice as many passing yards in the game, compared to the Redskins.

In 1938, the Packers played in the NFL title game again in the Polo Grounds, but this time against the Giants.

Before this title game, the Packers had lost to the Giants 15-3 in the last game of the regular season, also at the Polo Grounds.

The 1938 NFL Championship Game was much closer, as Herber threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Carl Mulleneaux and Clarke Hinkle scored on a one-yard run.

The Giants won the game 23-17 behind two blocked punts and the play of Ed Danowski, who threw two touchdown passes.

The attendance for the title game was 48,120.

In 1939, the Packers and Giants met again to see who would win the NFL championship. But this time the game was in Wisconsin. But instead of old City Stadium in Green Bay, the game was played in West Allis (just outside of Milwaukee) at State Fair Park.

That title game drew 32,279 attendees, which included my dad and grandfather.

The Packers dominated the game after getting off to a slow start.  The Giants blocked a punt and had two interceptions early in the game, but missed three field goals and also had one of their passes picked off near the Green Bay goal line.

cecil-isbell-in-1939-nfl-title-game

Cecil Isbell carries the ball for the Packers in the 1939 NFL title game

Herber threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Milt Gantenbein in the the first quarter (the only score of the first half) and Cecil Isbell also threw a touchdown pass in the second half to Joe Laws.  Also, Ed Jankowski scored on a one-yard run.  The Packers added a couple of field goals in their 27-0 victory over the Giants.

The Green Bay defense was outstanding in the game, as they held the Giants to 164 total yards, plus picked off six passes.

In 1944, the Packers and Giants would meet once again in the NFL title game, this time at the Polo Grounds. The attendance was 46,016.

The two teams met in the regular season that year, when New York shut out Green Bay 24-0 in the second to the last game of the schedule.

The Packers played much better in the postseason, especially on defense, as the former Packer Herber threw four interceptions for the Giants, with Laws picking off three of them.

The Packers scored two touchdowns in the second quarter on runs by Ted Fritsch, and the Packers won the contest 14-7.

The next time the two teams met for the NFL title was 17 years later. The game was played at new City Stadium (now Lambeau Field) in Green Bay.  This was the first playoff game ever played in Green Bay.  The attendance was 39,029.

Head coach Vince Lombardi had to pull some strings to get halfback Paul Hornung a leave from the Army to play in this game.  Lombardi personally called President John F. Kennedy to make sure that Hornung would be able to play.

Why was Hornung in the Army?

The Army activated him due to the escalation of the Cold War and the building of the wall in Berlin by the Soviets. In October of 1961, the Department of Defense had activated thousands of military reservists and national guardsmen for duty, including a couple dozen players from the NFL and three very important Packers players (Hornung, Boyd Dowler and Ray Nitschke).

As noted in David Maraniss’ book When Pride Still Mattered, Lombardi was very upset by this situation.  He mentioned that the Packers were hit harder than anyone in the NFL because of the scenario.

This is when the relationship between Lombardi and Kennedy helped make Hornung available for the title game.  Lombardi was a big JFK supporter during the 1960 Presidential election.  They became friends over time.  The Packers won two NFL championships while JFK was in the White House as well.

Initially, Hornung was not granted access to go back to the Packers for the championship game.  That would have been a HUGE blow as Hornung was the NFL MVP in 1961.

Lombardi was concerned about that situation, so he placed a call to JFK to see if the President would get Hornung a pass to join the team for the big game.  Sure enough, Hornung received permission.

“Paul Hornung isn’t going to win the war on Sunday, but the football fans of this country deserve the two best teams on the field that day,” Kennedy told Lombardi a few days before the championship game against the Giants.

The Packers beat the Giants 37-0 in that game, and Hornung scored 19 points in that game just by himself.

Titletown was born that year, as local merchants coined the community nickname—Titletown USA—to describe the spirit of the little town that could.

The Packers and Giants met again the very next year for the 1962 NFL title. This time the game was played at storied Yankee Stadium. The attendance was 64,892.

Guard Jerry Kramer of the Packers played an important role in that title game.

Jerry after the game-winning kick in the '62 championship game

No. 64 was very excited to play in this game, as he did not play in the 1961 NFL title game due to a broken ankle.

The 1962 NFL title game figured to be a much tougher test against the Giants, who wanted to show their fans in New York that the game the year before was an aberration.

Kramer definitely soaked in the fantastic history of Yankee Stadium before the game began.

“Yankee Stadium was an awesome experience,” Kramer said.  “Especially for a kid from Idaho.  Just to walk into that place where you had heard fights broadcast from, where so many World Series games were played, plus to see all the statues out in center field of Gehrig, Ruth and DiMaggio.  The experience was just awesome.”

Yankee Stadium was also a homecoming for Lombardi, as he was a New York City native and was an assistant coach for the Giants from 1954-1958.

“We knew how badly coach Lombardi wanted to win that ball game,” Kramer said.  “And we knew the Giants had been embarrassed the year before in Green Bay.  We knew the Giants were going to be loaded for bear that day.  But we also knew coach Lombardi desperately wanted a victory, and so we wanted to win for him and much as ourselves.”

Besides playing right guard for the Packers that day, Kramer was also the placekicker for the Packers as well, after Hornung hurt his knee early in the 1962 season.  Kramer had been Horning’s backup at kicker since his rookie year in 1958.

The weather would not be an ally for Kramer that day while he was kicking, as the wind was gusting at up to 40 miles per hour at times.  The temperature was 13 degrees, but it seemed much colder due to the wind.

Were the conditions at the 1962 NFL title game comparable to the Ice Bowl?

“You know, they were very similar, ” Kramer said.  “Vince Lombardi Jr. and I were talking about it years later, and Vince Jr. thought the Giants game was colder than the Ice Bowl.  Vince Jr. was at both games, too.  It was just a bitter cold day.  The wind was sharp and biting.”

Because of the weather conditions, the game was mostly going to be won via the ground game and because of turnovers.  The Packers rushed for 148 yards in the game, with fullback Jim Taylor getting 85 of those yards.  Taylor also scored the only touchdown of the game for the Packers.

Kramer was three for five in field goals that windy day.  “The wind was circling in the stadium that day,” Kramer said.  “When I made my last field goal, I aimed maybe eight to 10 yards outside the goal posts.  The wind ended up bringing my kick into the center of the goal posts.  It was one of the very few times I had to play the wind that way.”

Kramer scored 10 of the 16 points the Packers scored vs. the Giants.  When he made that last field goal, the Packers now had a nine-point lead late in the game.

“It was a hell of a moment,” Kramer reflected.  “It put the game out of reach, as they would have to score twice to beat us.  It was probably the most excited I had ever been in a contest, and the guys were pounding me on the back.  I experienced a Bart Starr-like moment, of having everyone applaud me and congratulate me.”

The Packers won 16-7 that day at Yankee Stadium.  Taylor had a big day rushing, and Ray Nitschke was named MVP of the game for his two fumble recoveries and a pass deflection that was intercepted by Dan Currie.

But Kramer had a big day as well.  In fact, Kramer received the game ball from his team for his efforts.

“It was a huge moment and a wonderful experience,” Kramer said.  “The big thing was they you were able to come through.  You met the test and were able to get the job done.  And also not let the team down.”

The Packers and Giants have played twice in the postseason over the past decade and both games were played at Lambeau Field.

The first one was in the 2007 NFC Championship Game, which was played at under frigid conditions, where 72,740 were on hand to watch the game at Lambeau.

The game time temperature was minus-one.  That Ice Bowl-type weather didn’t seem to bother the Giants too much.  The Giants had 24 first downs, while the Packers only had 13.  The Giants time of possession was 40:03, compared to the Packers 22:34.  The Giants had 134 rushing yards, compared to the Packers’ 28.

Quarterback Eli Manning didn’t throw any interceptions, while Brett Favre threw two picks, including a very costly one in overtime.  Favre threw for 236 yards passing, but 90 yards of that came on one touchdown pass to Donald Driver.

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The Packers defense also allowed the Giants to come back from deficits twice.  The Packers led 10-6 at halftime, only to see the Giants regain the lead 13-10.  After the Packers took the lead again at 17-13, the Packers allowed the Giants to go ahead again, 20-17.

The Packers ended up tying the game and the contest went to overtime. Then Favre’s interception set up the game-winning 47-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes of the Giants as New York won 23-20.

The Packers and Giants also met in a 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff game, which is the only time the two teams did not meet in a title game in their seven postseason games with one another.

The Packers finished the 2011 season with a 15-1 record and had high hopes heading into the postseason.  After all, the Pack had secured home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs and the team was the odds-on favorite to win a second consecutive Vince Lombardi Trophy.

However, all of that went down with a resounding thud, as the Packers were beaten by the Giants 37-20 at Lambeau Field in shocking fashion.

There were several reasons for why the Packers lost the game vs. the G-Men.  Among them were a lack of focus, four key turnovers, eight dropped passes, giving up big plays at critical times and also the fact that Aaron Rodgers did not play like Superman as he had done almost all of the 2011 regular season when he was the NFL MVP.

Manning was clutch again versus the Packers, as he threw three touchdown passes, plus was able to convert several 3rd and long situations.

This Sunday night, Manning gets another shot at the Packers, as he is 4-3 versus Green Bay in his career, which includes the two postseason wins at Lambeau. Both of those wins later led to Super Bowl triumphs by the G-Men.

When you talk about the Packers-Giants series, you have to talk about the coaching dynamics. As mentioned, earlier Lombardi was assistant coach (offense) with the Giants from 1954 to 1958 under Jim Lee Howell.

The Giants won the NFL title in 1956.  Lombardi was also very good friends with Giants owner Wellington Mara from their college days at Fordham.

After Lombardi went on to Green Bay and had the Packers in the NFL championship game in 1960 in just his second year, the Giants and Mara tried to get him back as their next head coach.  But Dominic Olejniczak, the president of the Packers at the time, refused to let Lombardi leave.

Good thing, too, as the Packers ended up winning five NFL championships in seven years, including three straight titles from 1965-1967.  The Packers also won the first two Super Bowls under Lombardi.

The two head coaches (Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo) who Manning has played under, both had assistant coaching jobs with the Packers.

Coughlin coached under Forrest Gregg in 1986-87 when he was the receivers/passing game coach.

McAdoo coached tight ends and quarterbacks under Mike McCarthy from 2006 through 2013.

Bottom line, there has been a rich history between the Packers and Giants. Not only that, but both franchises also have storied histories in the NFL.

The Packers have won 13 NFL titles, which is more than any other team in NFL history. The Giants are third in NFL history with eight NFL titles.

The Packers Have Fared Well After the Bye Week Under Mike McCarthy

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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.

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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.