1. Poor field position
Special teams is usually a forgettable aspect of football throughout the course of the regular season, but in the playoffs, it becomes so vital in games where teams are so evenly matched. Two-time NFC special teams player of the week Brad Wing, one of the better punters in the league during the regular season, struggled to get yardage and height on his punts in the frigid conditions. On eight attempts, Wing averaged an abysmal 33 yards per punt and only had two that pined Green Bay inside their own 20. Aside from poor punting, the kick return and punt return teams failed to give Eli Manning and the New York Giants offense enough room to operate at times, most notably seen with Bobby Rainey’s miscue on a kick return late in the third quarter. Rainey caught a kickoff that was surely traveling out of bounds at the three yard line, and his momentum forced him to go out of bounds and put the offense in a tough spot to get anything going. He was lucky that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t capitalize on his great field position that followed for six points.
2. Dropped Passes
Fans and sports pundits all around the country now have a free pass to speculate as to whether or not the Giant receivers’ trip down to Miami during their day off on Monday somehow hurt their game, and those questions are certainly legitimate after the performances from Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Both players had dropped passes in sometimes pivotal situations, and made a Green Bay Packers secondary that was second-to-last in the NFL in pass defense look like a stellar unit. Both Beckham and Shepard had multiple dropped passes, and both dropped passes that would have either kept drives alive on third down or would have resulted in six points. Two players that should have given the Giant offense an edge turned out to be liabilities, and their play has rightfully welcomed the scrutiny they will receive due to their off-the-field headlines in the days to come.
3. Couldn’t Capitalize on Opportunities
The Giants had plenty of opportunities to put six points up on the scoreboard, but too many times had to settle for three points. ‘Defense wins championships’ is a respectable saying and reigns true in some ways, but offenses and points win games. As great as the Giants have been all season on the defensive side of the football, their offense couldn’t score enough points to even keep them in games let alone win. In the first and second quarters, the Giants were inside Green Bay’s 40-yard line and had two chances to score touchdowns but ended up settling for 26 and 40-yard field goals by Robbie Gould. 14 points there instead of the six they came up with would have at worst had them tied up with the Packers going into the half and not playing from a deficit. Their 0-for-2 stat line on scoring from the red zone compared to Green Bay’s 3-for-4 stat line really sums up the lack of finishing on the part of the Giants, something any team needs to do if they want to win in the postseason.null