The Giants’ secondary will face a tall task defending the Packers’ dynamic playmakers

new york giants, xavier mckinney
Kevin R. Wexler - The Record / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants‘ secondary faces a significant challenge as they prepare to defend against the Green Bay Packers’ explosive offense. With the upcoming primetime game being crucial for both teams in the playoff hunt, the Giants must find a way to contain both Jordan Love and Green Bay’s trio of receivers.

Xavier McKinney vs Jordan Love

Led by quarterback Jordan Love, Green Bay’s offense has been on fire in recent weeks, consistently producing big plays through the air. Over the past seven games, they have recorded at least five explosive pass plays with 16 yards or more.

Love fearlessly takes shots downfield, suggesting that he will likely target Big Blue’s safeties, making it imperative for Xavier McKinney to be at the top of his game.

To effectively neutralize the Packers’ offense, McKinney must prevent Love from attempting deep passes. McKinney’s ability is unquestionable, with an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 81.3 and allowing a mere 24 receptions on 40 targets.

McKinney has been having a great season, accumulating an impressive 86 tackles, eight passes defended, one interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Achieving 10 tackles against Green Bay would solidify his position as the first NFL defensive back since 2000 to accomplish five consecutive double-digit tackle games.

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Giants’ cornerbacks must prepare for a formidable passing attack

Although the Giants may have caught a break with Christian Watson’s hamstring injury sidelining him, they still face a formidable challenge in defending against a receiver trio of Romeo Doubs, Dontayvion Wicks, and Jayden Reed.

Doubs has undeniably been a touchdown magnet for the Packers. With an impressive seven touchdowns on 505 receiving yards, Doubs has emerged as a threat in the red zone. Although he has only received more than six targets in just three games this season, Doubs has played his best games when Watson is limited or absent from the lineup.

On the other hand, Wicks is a sleeper in Green Bay’s passing game. Despite having only 23 receptions, the fifth-round rookie has accumulated an impressive 374 yards and one touchdown, averaging 16.3 yards per reception. Wicks should not be overlooked, as he has shown the ability to step up in the absence of Watson, playing around 60% of offensive snaps when Watson is not on the field.

The Giants’ secondary has already allowed opponents to rack up 2900 passing yards this season, with a staggering 73.2% of those yards going to opposing wide receivers. Given these numbers, both Doubs and Wicks will likely aim to capitalize on this weakness in the Giants’ defense. Therefore, the effectiveness of cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Adoree’ Jackson will be vital in containing the production of these two receivers.

A battle in the slot

The most intriguing matchup lies between slot Packers receiver Jayden Reed and Giants slot cornerback Cor’Dale Flott.

Reed has been pivotal in the Packer’s receiving corps this season. With 68.8% of his routes being run from the slot, he has emerged as the team’s main slot receiver. He’s posted a stat line of 40 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns this season.

What sets Reed apart is his versatility. He seamlessly transitions between receiving and rushing roles, gaining 81 yards on just seven carries, averaging 11.6 yards per carry. With running back Aaron Jones out with injury, Green Bay may aim to utilize him more in the run game.

Flott is expected to draw the matchup against Reed. Flott is having an excellent year in coverage. According to PFF, he has only allowed three passes of 15 or more yards throughout the season. He has only allowed 24 receptions on 37 targets, earning him a reception percentage of 64.9. Flott’s stat line consists of 21 total tackles, three pass breakups, four passes defended, one forced fumble, and one interception.

The battle between the Giants’ secondary and the Packers’ receivers will be a critical factor in determining the outcome of this primetime matchup. If the G-Men can neutralize Green Bay’s passing attack, they will greatly enhance their chances of securing a spot in the playoff race.