NFC Playoff Betting: Packers try to advance past Giants on Sunday

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, 1/15/12, 4:30 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Green Bay -9
Current Betting Line:  Green Bay -7.5
Opening Total:  51
Current Total:  53
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Packers Giants NFC Playoff Picks
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers will be playing his first-ever home playoff game on Sunday against the Giants.

The New York Giants nearly handed the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season back in Week 13 of the regular season.  But the fourth-seeded Giants (10-7) left too much time on the clock for All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the top-seeded Packers (15-1), falling 38-35 at home in one of the best games of the year.

Green Bay (-7.5, O/U 53) ended up suffering its first loss of the season two weeks later at Kansas City but rolled past Chicago and Detroit in the final two games at home to extend the team’s winning streak at Lambeau Field to 13 games.  The Packers are 11-2 against the spread during that stretch at home, including a 45-17 rout of New York there last season.

The Giants have had some success at Lambeau though, handing Green Bay a loss in its last home playoff game four years ago.  New York QB Eli Manning outdueled former Packers great Brett Favre in overtime 23-20 before leading his team to a 17-14 victory against previously unbeaten New England in Super Bowl XLII.

Manning and Rodgers both ranked among the Top 5 QBs in the NFL during the regular season in passing yards, although Rodgers sat out a 45-41 win over Detroit in Week 17 and saw backup Matt Flynn torch the Lions for a franchise-best 480 yards and six touchdowns.  Rodgers was the league’s top-rated passer, throwing for 4,643 yards with a career-high 45 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.  Manning also enjoyed the best year of his career with 4,933 yards, the third straight season he has topped the 4,000-yard mark.

The passers might be garnering most of the headlines, but each team’s running game could decide who advances to next week’s NFC Championship Game.  The rushing attack of the Giants has been reborn with the combination of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs both healthy and playing well at the same time.

The New York duo combined for 155 yards on 28 carries in a 24-2 win over Atlanta last Sunday and also fared well in their last trip to Lambeau.  Jacobs rushed for a game-high 67 yards on 21 carries and Bradshaw had 63 yards on 16 carries, and each of them scored a TD in the upset of the Pack.

For Green Bay, James Starks and Ryan Grant totaled 1,137 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns between them during the regular season.  Rodgers also rushed for three touchdowns on his own and added 257 yards on the ground, and he had a team-high 32 rushing yards in the last meeting with the Giants.  Grant was limited to 29 yards on 13 carries while Starks had five on three attempts in the team’s trip to New York, as Rodgers did most of the damage through the air with 369 passing yards and four touchdowns.

The Giants have covered three straight games and five of six with the total going UNDER in their past four.  The OVER has cashed in the last four meetings with the Packers, and the road team has won six of the past seven games between the teams.

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