GREEN BAY – The Packers need to flip the script on Eli Manning.
As the Giants’ veteran quarterback makes his 199th consecutive start on Sunday night, he has put together a rather impressive track record against Green Bay.
More than any other games, Packers fans will remember the two playoff triumphs Manning orchestrated at Lambeau Field in the 2007 NFC title game and 2011 divisional round. Those were legacy-building games for Manning on his way to two Super Bowl championships.
But he’s been a pretty tough customer in the regular season, too, other than one truly bad career outing vs. the Packers, when he threw four interceptions at Lambeau in Week 16 of 2010, the game that started Green Bay’s run to the Super Bowl XLV title.
Since then, in his last four contests against Green Bay (including the ’11 playoff win), Manning has compiled a cumulative 104.9 passer rating, with a pair of 330-plus-yard games and a trio of three-TD affairs.
The Giants went 3-1 in those four games, with the Packers’ only victory coming in a 38-35 shootout back in 2011 that ended on Mason Crosby’s walk-off field goal.
“He’s a very smart quarterback,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He’s going to do a lot at the line of scrimmage, get them in and out of the best plays against what defense you have called. He’s very well-schooled and makes a lot of the right decisions.
“He’s a rhythm thrower and a very efficient guy.”
The Packers need to keep him out of rhythm and less efficient, but that’s not easy. In seven career games vs. Green Bay, Manning has been sacked more than once in a game only two times, and more than twice just once.
“He gets rid of it pretty fast,” Julius Peppers said. “A veteran guy who knows what he’s doing back there.
“Obviously he’s one of the champions. You have to pay homage to the champions of the league. We have a great deal of respect for him and how he sees the game, but other than that, he’s a really good, sound, smart quarterback.”
Manning’s quick release and avoidance of sacks, which Clay Matthews referred to as “frustrating” for defenses, are key factors in his consecutive games streak nearing 200. He needs close to two more full seasons without a miss to pass his older brother, Peyton, for the second-longest streak behind Brett Favre.
The Packers will bring a young secondary into Sunday night’s game that’s not all that familiar with Manning, who hasn’t played the Packers since 2013. With Sam Shields (concussion) out, defensive backs Morgan Burnett and Micah Hyde are the only regulars in Green Bay’s back end who have faced Manning before.
“A lot of poise,” second-year cornerback Damarious Randall said of what he sees of Manning on film.
Added fellow second-year corner Quinten Rollins: “He’s a been-there, done-that guy.”
There isn’t much any defense can throw at Manning he hasn’t seen dozens of times over. He spoke this week about all the different looks a Capers defense can show, but his personal key to success is the same as the compliment Capers and Peppers handed him.
“You want to play smart,” Manning said.
Manning has done that in the highest of pressure situations in Green Bay. A no-turnover game in sub-zero weather in the ’07 playoffs and a 114.5 passer rating in the ’11 playoffs, his personal high against the Packers, both hold a prominent place in Giants’ lore. Manning called the ’07 NFC title triumph in minus-23 wind chill “one of my great memories of all-time.”
Sunday night won’t have temperatures that low nor stakes that high, but the Giants are looking to avoid a third straight loss in these early stages of 2016, and getting their new coach a win over his mentor would make for a celebratory flight home.
“We’ve got guys who have never been to Lambeau before,” Manning said, “so we have to go out there and make some new memories.”
The Packers could use some new ones of their own against Manning
Eli Manning vs. Packers
Sept. 16, 2007, at Giants Stadium
16-29, 211 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack, 75.5 rating
Packers won 35-13
Jan. 20, 2008, at Lambeau Field (’07 NFC title game)
21-40, 251 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks, 72.0 rating
Giants won 23-20 OT
Dec. 26, 2010, at Lambeau Field
17-33, 301 yds, 2 TD, 4 INT, 1 sack, 63.6 rating
Packers won 45-17
Dec. 4, 2011, at MetLife Stadium
23-40, 347 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack, 100.7 rating
Packers won 38-35
Jan. 15, 2012, at Lambeau Field (’11 divisional playoff)
21-33, 330 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack, 114.5 rating
Giants won 37-20
Nov. 25, 2012, at MetLife Stadium
16-30, 249 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack, 114.4 rating
Giants won 38-10
Nov. 17, 2013, at MetLife Stadium
25-35, 279 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 sacks, 92.4 rating
Giants won 27-13