“It’s something you have to be aware of. Eli’s coming off of two Super Bowl seasons, (and) I’m not looking at this week’s preparation and looking at Eli Manning any differently than last year,” McCarthy said. “He’s an outstanding football player. To me, he’s what makes them go and that’s the type of game we’re getting ready for.”

One of the challenges for the Packers, who entered the week’s games second in the NFL in sacks with 33, is taking Manning down. He’s been sacked an NFL-low 12 times this season – Rodgers, coincidentally, has been taken down an NFL-high 32 – and without Matthews in their pass-rushing repertoire, generating pressure on Manning is that much more difficult. With his good size, the 6-4, 220-pound Manning has also shown the ability to sidestep pressure or shed would-be tacklers in the pocket.

“They’re No. 1 in the league in (fewest) sacks given up, and the reason for that is he’s not going to take a sack,” Capers said. “Even when you get pressure in there, he’s like his brother (Peyton). In Indy, you get a guy free in the A-gap and you can never sack him. Then, at the end of the season, they’d have 12, 14 sacks. That’s kind of the way (Eli) plays. You hope that if you can disrupt him, that (the) ball’s going to come out of his hands and now guys have vision and they can break and go make plays on the ball.”

As for Manning’s touchdown drought, Capers sees Manning no differently than he did after the Giants’ Oct. 14 throttling of the San Francisco 49ers, when Manning was a mistake-free 15 of 28 for 193 yards and a touchdown in a 26-3 victory.

“You look at some tapes and you don’t see it,” Capers said of Manning struggling. “I know the last couple weeks they’ve lost a couple games, but you go back and look at their 49er game when everybody was saying they’re the best team in football and they looked like it that day. They took that ball in the fourth quarter in the four-minute drill and it was impressive what they did to the 49ers, because we know what kind of defense they have. They just pounded them. They went right down the field. They looked like the best team in football that day.”unscouted looks.

THE PREDICTION

There is no cheering in the press box. (And when there is, like there was in Houston, many of us get pretty hacked off about it – although some more than others. Ahem, Rob Demovsky.) Personally, I tend to root for the best storyline. And after watching Mason Crosby, a decent guy who’s been well below decent with his field-goal kicking as of late, miss twice last week at Detroit, there’d be no better story of redemption than for him to kick a game-winner as time expires Sunday night. It’s hard to imagine that happening two years in a row – he made a 31-yarder with 0:00 on the lock last Dec. 4 at MetLife Stadium to keep the Packers unbeaten – but it sure would make for a good story. Packers 30, Giants 27. (Record: 5-5)

– Jason Wilde