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Jovial Manning, Streaking Rodgers Have a Tie to Break

Eli Manning, who turned 36 on Tuesday, has a winning history against the Packers at Lambeau Field. He'll get another shot at them on Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game.

That may or may not be good news for the Packers.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 2-2 in playoff games at Lambeau Field.

New York quarterback Eli Manning is 2-0 in playoff games at Lambeau.

“I am not aware of that,” Manning told reporters in New York on Tuesday when it was pointed out that he has as many playoff wins at Lambeau as Rodgers.

Manning was in a lighthearted mood. And for good reason. Tuesday was his 36th birthday. And he’s getting ready to play in his first playoff game since the Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2011 season. So, when reporters asked Manning about receiver Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz partying with Justin Bieber in Miami following Sunday’s victory at Washington, Manning gave a playful response.

“I think as a team we kind of always pride ourselves on being well prepared so, when I saw some of the pictures, I was a little disappointed, just because obviously they didn’t pack accordingly,” Manning said. “They didn’t have any shirts obviously — all long pants, no shorts, no flip flops or anything. So, I am just disappointed on their packing and not being prepared for that situation.”

The fun kept coming when Manning was asked if he was disappointed from a football perspective.

“I haven’t had many of those” kind of off-days, Manning said. “But, hey, it is different. On my off-day I am always in here getting prepared, talking with the coaches a little bit about schemes and different things we can do. But that is kind of what a quarterback has to do. If guys want to get away for a day, I think they were a little low on their Vitamin D and went to get some sunshine to get the Vitamin D up to make sure that they are staying healthy for the cold weather in Green Bay.”

Manning’s been a thorn in the Packers’ side. In 2007, he helped the Giants beat the Brett Favre-led Packers 23-20 for the NFC Championship in brutal conditions. In 2011, Manning and Co. crushed the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers 37-20, spoiling their 15-1 season. Both of those games were played at Lambeau Field — and both games avenged regular-season home losses to the Packers.

Green Bay, which beat the Giants 23-16 in Week 5, is an early five-point favorite. The play of Rodgers, who has helped the Packers win six in a row and has surged into the heart of the MVP race, is a major reason why. That underdog status provides an extra dose of motivation for the Giants, who went 11-5 compared to the Packers’ 10-6.

“I think that you like to prove people wrong,” Manning said. “That is always kind of an exciting thing to do. I try not to read too much into it or read the headlines or buy into it too much. But I think that it is not about that — I think the most important thing is just going out there and being there for your teammates and wanting to step up for your teammates and for the organization and everybody who is working their tail off every week to go win and you want to go out and do your part to help them get that victory.”

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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