Keidel: Shurmur, Giants Need Big Win Against Packers

Jason Keidel
November 29, 2019 - 11:15 am
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There really were times when Giants vs Packers held some serious heft around the nation. 

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Going back to Vince Lombardi, Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung squaring off against Sam Huff, Frank Gifford and Andy Robustelli, Giants and Packers were must see (or must hear) theater — back when players were defined by their single-bar facemasks, threadbare uniforms, and late nights at Toots Shor's. 

Decades later, as the world went Wifi, the Giants made two shocking runs to the Super Bowl under Tom Coughlin, with both paths weaving through Lambeau Field's arctic hostility, beating Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers to win two Lombardi Trophies. 

This Sunday, however, only one team is pining for the playoffs. And it is not the New York "Football" Giants. 

The Giants have reached the playoffs just once since their last Super Bowl run in 2011, when they lost, naturally, to the Packers, in 2017. It was a game made famous by Odell Beckham Jr's trip to South Florida, a silly photo of shirtless men in jeans and boots on boat, and the star receiver's disappearing act in that game. 

Since then, both clubs have canned their head coach. But while the Giants appear to be in an endless rebuilding mode, the Packers chose to retool over reboot.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
USA TODAY Images

It's easier to do when you have Rodgers still in his relative prime, as opposed to a Mesozoic Eli Manning who played about two years too long before they benched him in favor of Daniel Jones. Still, the Giants (2-9) are mired in a sprawling losing streak that has now reached seven games, and would do well to put up an earnest fight against the Packers (8-3) at MetLife Stadium. 

The Giants can't just rely on the soft pockets of their schedule - namely the Dolphins on Dec 15 and the Redskins on Dec 22 - as escape routes from their losing streak. Big Blue needs a big win against a serious team. And the Packers clearly qualify. 

But the Pack are hurting right now, after getting vaporized by the 49ers last week, 38-7, in a game that was even more of an eyesore than the score. The Packers are also playing their second straight road game. 

The Giants have the 26th-ranked defense out of 32 teams. But the Packers' defense has been just as bad (No. 27) this season in terms of total yards allowed. So while Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Parker should get some chunk plays, Jones hopes to have Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram back running routes, which would help Saquon Barkley find his uncanny 2018 groove. 

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones passes against the Jets on Nov. 10, 2019, at MetLife Stadium.
Al Bello/Getty Images

Plus, at some point Pat Shurmur has to prove he can get the G-Men to beat a team not named Washington or Tampa - their only two conquests this season. 

Toppling a clearly better team like the Packers would prove that the Giants head coach still has his team behind him. Indeed, the last month of the season is not just the final furlong for players to prove their value, but also for head coaches to fight for their jobs.  

As Boomer & Gio has debated Shurmur's merits, while acknowledging the Giants fan's disgust with the team, they agree that the team can't tank, and surely can't end the season on a 12-game slide. The Giants need a win against a team with a winning record, or few jobs will be safe in a month. 

Twitter: @JasonKeidel