Coach's big decision: How to pressure Rodgers

November, 25, 2012
11/25/12
12:00
PM ET
For the Giants to take down the Packers on Sunday night, they're going to have to get after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As is the case in any game, the better the Giants do in disrupting the quarterback, the better chance they have of winning.

The big decision, though, will be how much pressure to send at Rodgers. Do the Giants just rely on their front four to win their battles and get there, or do they need to send extra blitzers to try and take down the reigning MVP?

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Giants were successful against Green Bay last season when they sent five or more rushers, sacking Rodgers every 5.8 times he dropped back. When the team had four or fewer rushers, Rodgers only was sacked once every 43 snaps.

Additionally, Stats & Information says the Giants have just 15 sacks with their standard pass rush this year, compared to 21 at this point last season. The Giants' front four hasn't been able to rush with the same effectiveness it did last year, which means they might need to dial up some more heat against the most-sacked quarterback in the league.

While sending extra rushers seems like a simple way to get after Rodgers, the more rushers sent means the less coverage the Giants have on the back end. Green Bay has one of the best passing games in the league with receivers like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones, and tight end Jermichael Finley is one of the most athletic tight ends in the game.

If the Giants bring the house, that means there are better chances of Nelson and co. getting one-on-one battles, which is what the Packers would prefer. The Giants secondary has struggled this year and if Green Bay can isolate certain matchups, it's going to try to exploit them all day. Green Bay is explosive enough to win those matchups, too.

Ultimately, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is going to have to find the right mix. If he gets too reliant on his front four, and they don't get to Rodgers, the MVP will slice and dice the defense. If he sends too many rushers, the Packers will have one-on-one matchups and a beleaguered secondary is going to have to step up to the task.

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