Last November, QB Aaron Rodgers torched the Giants in a win at MetLife Stadium. In January, Giants QB Eli Manning returned the favor, throwing for 330 yards and a touchdown in the Giants stunning upset win over the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
This year, the Packers return to the Meadowlands on a five-game winning streak, riding Rodgers' right arm and an improved defense to first place in the NFC North. The Giants, on a two-game losing streak and trying to stay atop the NFC East, are hoping Manning can avoid a career-worst fourth straight game without a TD pass.
There's plenty to keep an eye on during the nationally televised Sunday night game, but here are five things to watch:
1. Giants' safeties: The blueprint for stopping the Packers potent offense is well established now. If a defense can get an effective pass rush from its front four while being able to keep its safeties back in a two-deep shell, big-play opportunities are eliminated, and that forces the Packers to traipse down the field on the ground and with underneath throws. The Giants, with their talented defensive line, do this about as well as anyone. Expect more of the same Sunday night. The Packers will have to show some semblance of a running game –- and get some big gains from guys like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley on short throws –- to upend this defensive strategy.
2. Young defensive backs: Last year, communication issues and purely bad play in the defensive backfield plagued the Packers in both games. Manning was able to pick apart the defense and exploit mismatches and coverage mistakes. Symbolic of the secondary's ineptitude was WR Hakeem Nicks' Hail Mary touchdown just before halftime of the playoff game, when he made the catch despite being surrounded by about 20 Packers (yes, we exaggerate). This season, rookie CB Casey Hayward (five interceptions) has played like a Pro Bowler, second-year CB Davon House has looked very good, and safeties Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian have gotten better each game. Against Nicks and WR Victor Cruz, the secondary will have to be in sync and on the same page.
3. Crosby's right foot: Has he snapped out of his funk and broken the slump? Until late in the fourth quarter last week against the Lions, PK Mason Crosby had missed seven of his previous 12 field goals, including two earlier in that game. But then he hit a 39-yarder with 19 seconds left to clinch the win. So, is he back on track? On Friday, he said he felt good and had “had a great week of work.” We'll see. A clutch, game-winning field goal Sunday night against the Giants would make people forget about a lot of those other misses.
4. Manning's throws: In his last three games, Manning has thrown four interceptions and zero touchdowns. He said this week that it's nothing physical, but there has to be something going on mentally. Will that manifest itself on Sunday with more tentative short throws and fewer deep, ambitious passes? The Packers have an awfully opportunistic defense (12 interceptions) that could make Manning think twice about forcing the ball into tight windows.
5. Trench warfare: Don't watch the ball, watch the line play. The Giants' defensive line could make this a nightmare for Rodgers, whose offensive line is an unproven patchwork. There are a couple of matchups that will have Packers fans holding their breath: inconsistent LT Marshall Newhouse against dangerous DE Jason Pierre-Paul, and new RT Bryan Bulaga against veteran DE Justin Tuck. The game is often won and lost, unnoticed, in the trenches; this game certainly will be.
Follow Packers reporter James Carlton on Twitter: @CBSPackers and @jimmycarlton88.