"I'm expecting their best performance to date," fullback John Kuhn said on Tuesday. "It's that point in time for them in the season. We're going to get a good shot from them so we have to be ready for it and play our game."
The Giants are 6-5, one game behind first-place Dallas in the NFC East. So, they have plenty to play for with their playoff hopes boiling down to these final five games. Moreover, the Giants basically saw last season come to an end when they got smoked 45-17 at Lambeau Field in what was a must-win game for both teams in Week 16. Making matters worse, they got stuck in Wisconsin for an extra couple nights because of the blizzard that buried the East and closed New York's airports. Throw in that the Packers are 11-0 and marching toward history, and the Giants will have no shortage of motivation to play their best game of the season.
And when they play their best game, they're one of the best clubs in the NFL. Even though they've lost three in a row, the Giants remain a formidable bunch. Just four weeks ago, Eli Manning rallied the Giants to a 24-20 victory at New England, where the Patriots had fashioned a league-best 20-game winning streak.
Manning, of course, knows a little something about beating undefeated teams. After he and the Giants stunned Brett Favre and the Packers in the 2007 NFC Championship Game in the brutal cold of Lambeau Field, New York beat the undefeated Patriots in one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever.
Manning completed 21 consecutive passes against the Saints on Monday, but much like when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lost at New Orleans in 2008, the Giants' offense simply couldn't keep pace with Drew Brees and the high-octane Saints attack.
"They've got Eli Manning, got good receivers, got two good backs, a good offensive line," linebacker Desmond Bishop said. "They're a good team. Their offense is really good. I guess their defense has struggled a little, but it's the NFL and they can make plays. Any given Sunday …"
Defensively, New York's calling card is its pass rush, though that's fizzled of late. On Monday, the Giants failed to sack Brees.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga called the Giants' defensive line one of the best in the league. As a team, the Giants rank sixth in the NFL with 31 sacks. Jason Pierre-Paul paces the team with 10.5 sacks, which is tied for third in the league. Veteran Osi Umenyiora has seven sacks but sustained an ankle injury during the first quarter on Monday that likely will keep him out of Sunday's game. Justin Tuck, who had 12 sacks last season, had just two this year.
Bulaga, on the other hand, hadn't allowed a sack all season until giving up a strip-sack against Detroit's Cliff Avril last week. Bulaga's bookend, left tackle Marshall Newhouse, played easily the best game of his young career in not allowing a sack or quarterback hit by veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch. Still, he's allowed 8.5 sacks, according to STATS. Plus, right guard Josh Sitton might miss the game with a knee injury, though he enjoyed being evasive while being questioned on Tuesday.
"It's a good defensive line, let's put it that way," Bulaga said. "It's a good front seven. They get after the passer. They've got guys that will rotate in to spare the starters and they do the same thing."
So, while these teams are trending in different directions and the Packers had all the answers in the game 11 months ago, the Packers won't be taking an 18th consecutive victory for granted.
"I wouldn't put much stock in (the Saints game)," Bulaga said. "Different game, different team. Totally different. You look at what they've done so far this year and they've beaten some good football teams and had some good performances.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.