Packers vs. Giants: Five key matchups's Wes Hodkiewicz identifies five key matchups in Sunday's Packers-Giants NFC Wild Card playoff game



1. Aaron Rodgers vs. Landon Collins

The Packers quarterback will look to carry his strong end to the regular season into postseason play. Rodgers has thrown 245 consecutive passes without an interception, the second-best mark in team history behind Bart Starr's 294 in 1964. Along with leading the NFL with 40 touchdown passes, Rodgers' 104.2 passer rating was the fourth best in the league. There are a lot of playmakers in the Giants' secondary that Rodgers will have to navigate, beginning with Collins, who recently was selected to his first Pro Bowl. A former teammate of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's at Alabama, Collins has been one of the league's most disruptive safeties this season with 125 tackles, four sacks and five interceptions, which is tied with Clinton-Dix for the most among NFL safeties. New York finished the regular season tied for fourth with Green Bay in interceptions (17).


2. Jordy Nelson vs. Janoris Jenkins

The veteran receiver has made a convincing argument for comeback player with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown receptions. Nelson has been difficult for defenses to neutralize, particularly during the second half of the season with at least 90 receiving yards in seven of Green Bay's last 10 games. The Packers' passing game should also receive a boost against the Giants with Jared Cook in the lineup. The athletic tight end missed the teams' first contest with an ankle injury. Jenkins, an offseason signing from the Rams, had arguably his best game of the season against Green Bay with two of his three interceptions this season coming off Rodgers in Week 5. He, Collins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have contributed the most to a pass defense that registered the second-lowest opposing passer rating (75.8) in the NFL.


3. David Bakhtiari vs. Olivier Vernon

Bakhtiari and Vernon have become well-acquainted with each other over the past three seasons. They first matched up when the Packers faced the Dolphins in 2014 before again doing battle in Week 5 at Lambeau Field. Vernon, who was held without a sack in the first game against Green Bay, still finished with a career-high 63 tackles and a team-leading 8½ sacks for a Giants defense that improved from 32nd in total yards in 2015 to 10th this past season. That jump had a lot to do with New York's pass-rush, which had 35 sacks this year after managing only 23 a year ago. Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga didn't miss a start this year, which helped provide Rodgers a comfortable pocket to operate in all season. For his efforts, Bakhtiari was named a first alternate for the Pro Bowl.


4. Clay Matthews vs. Eli Manning

The Giants have had a few shakeups on their offensive line this year, but Manning's 21 sacks were tied for the fourth fewest in the NFL this season. In fact, the Packers' three sacks in Week 5 actually tied for the most the Giants have conceded in a game this year, including one from Matthews. The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker battled a shoulder injury during the final month of the season, but came on against Minnesota two weeks ago with a strip-sack and two pass deflections. The Packers, who have 13 takeaways in the last four games, understand the importance of dialing up the pressure on Manning, who had 20 turnovers in 2016 (16 interceptions, four fumbles lost).


5. LaDarius Gunter vs. Odell Beckham Jr.

The Packers' second-year cornerback fared well against the all-pro receiver earlier this season, holding Beckham to a manageable five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Gunter, an undrafted free agent in 2015 who played eight defensive snaps in the regular season as a rookie, was thrown into the fire due to a litany of injuries at cornerback and responded with 54 tackles and a team-high 12 pass deflections. The Packers hope to have Damarious Randall back after he left with a knee injury last Sunday against Detroit, but they'll still be counting on Gunter's stability outside. Beckham bounced back from a slow start to record his third consecutive season with at least 90 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. One week after a relatively quiet performance against Green Bay, Beckham broke out for eight catches, 222 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-23 win over Baltimore. The 24-year-old receiver is as dynamic as they come.'s Wes Hodkiewicz identifies five key matchups in Sunday's Packers-Giants Wild Card game.

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