The first three games of Wild Card weekend were blowouts, but it looked for most of the first half like we might get a tighter game between the Giants and Packers to close out the first round of the playoffs.
That idea went down faster than the Andrea Doria, though. The Packers outscored the Giants 38-7 over the final 34 minutes of the game, erasing a dreadful offensive start behind four Aaron Rodgers touchdown passes in a 38-13 win. They’ll now head to Dallas to face the Cowboys next Sunday with a trip to the NFC title game on the line.
Rodgers continued the hot streak he was on as the regular season concluded and has now thrown 22 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four games. He got the Packers on the board by patiently outlasting the Giants defense for a five-yard toss to Davante Adams and then added a Hail Mary to Randall Cobb before halftime. He’d connect on two more scores to Cobb in the second half and finished the day 25-of-40 for 362 yards.
Cobb, back after missing two games with an ankle injury, and Adams both went over 100 receiving yards, which allowed the Packers to deal with the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson left with a rib injury after taking a shot from the crown of Leon Hall’s helmet in the first half and his status will be closely watched heading into the Cowboys game.
There will also likely be some in the New York area watching for what the Giants have to say on the topic of boating trips given how much attention was paid to Odell Beckham and other receivers choosing to head to Miami well ahead of a playoff game. Beckham dropped passes in a poor effort, which is likely to get him a turn through the tabloid machine in the coming days but doesn’t explain a slew of special teams errors, running back Paul Perkins choosing not to recover a fumble at his feet or the defensive breakdowns in the second half that let the Packers run away with the game.
The Packers defense was sturdier with Julius Peppers turning in a particularly strong effort up front against a Giants offense that wasn’t very good this year whether or not there was a nautical voyage in the week leading up to the game. After an offseason spent trying to get the defense in shape, the Giants will head into this one trying to find the kind of offensive production that would have allowed them to run away with this game when it was in their hands in the first half.
Green Bay won’t have to think about the offseason for at least another week and it could be even longer than that if Rodgers remains as hot as he’s been over the course of what’s now a seven-game winning streak.