Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is becoming a lightning rod for criticism as much for an inability to control his emotions as his wondrous pass-catching abilities. The spotlight on Beckham only promises to intensify when the New York Giants pay a visit to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a nationally televised contest on Sunday night.
Both Giants coach Ben McAdoo and quarterback Eli Manning have weighed in on the repeated outbursts of Beckham, who was a non-factor in Monday night’s 24-10 loss at Minnesota and taken out of his game by Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. “People are looking for him,” Manning said of Beckham. “He’s got to play smart, and he can’t afford to do anything there. They’re going to call him. He’s brought that on himself, and he’s got to realize that.” The Packers, whose only loss came at Minnesota in Week 2, is coming off a bye as they prepare to face McAdoo, a quarterbacks coach with Green Bay before he was named New York’s offensive coordinator following the 2013 season. The Giants have dominated the series in recent seasons with three straight double-digit victories, including a 37-20 playoff win at Lambeau Field in January 2012.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
LINE HISTORY: The spread for this Sunday night battle opened with the Packers as 7.5-point home favorites. After a slight midweek drop to -7, the line returned to the opening number of -7.5 on Saturday morning. The total hit the betting board at 48 and went up slightly to 48.5. Check out the complete line history here.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Giants (+1) – Packers (-4.5) + home field (-3) = Packers -6.5
Giants – CB D. Rodgers-Cromartie (Ques Sun, groin), DT R. Thomas (Ques Sun, illness), CB E. Apple (Quest Sun, hamstring), RB R. Jennings (Doub Sun, thumb), T M. Newhouse (Out Sun, calf), S D. Thompson (Out Sun, foot), S N. Berhe (Out Sun, concussion), TE L. Donnell (Out Sun, concussion), RB S. Vereen (Elig Week 12, tricep), S M. Thompson (I-R, knee), FB N. Whitlock (I-R, foot), LB J. Thomas (I-R, knee), FB W. Johnson (I-R, stinger), TE M. LaCosse (I-R, knee).
Packers – FB A. Ripkowski (Prob Sun, back), CB D. Randall (Ques Sun, groin), DT L. Guion (Ques Sun, Knee), S M. Burnett (Ques Sun, hamstring), LB C. Matthews (Ques Sun, ankle), DE D. Jones (Ques Sun, knee), CB S. Shields (Out Sun, concussion), TE J. Cook (Early Nov, ankle), DT M. Pennel (Elig Week 6, suspension), CB D. Goodson (Elig Week 6, suspension), DT T. Kuder (I-R, undisclosed), CB M. Dorleant (I-R, undisclosed), C C. Linsley (I-R, hamstring), RB J. Crockett (I-R, shoulder).
WEATHER REPORT: It will be clear and cool at Lambeau Field for this Sunday Night Football contest. Temperatures will be in the low-50’s, winds will be non-existent, and there is a 2 percent chance of rain.
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ABOUT THE GIANTS (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS, 1-3 O/U): New York has quickly leveled off following a 2-0 start and was dominated in all facets by the Vikings, including Beckham’s three-catch performance for a career-low 23 yards. Manning could find more success with the passing game against the Packers, who will be without top cornerback Sam Shields (concussion), although linebacker Clay Matthews should return to the lineup after sitting out a 34-27 home win over Detroit in Week 3. Manning has a troika of wideouts to throw to in Beckham, rookie Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz, but the running game could again be without lead back Rashad Jennings, who was limited in practice Thursday due to a thumb injury. The Giants also have issues in their secondary with cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and rookie Eli Apple limited by injuries.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U): Rodgers still has yet to throw for more than 213 yards in a game, but he did have four touchdown passes and completed more than 60 percent of his attempts for the first time in the home opener against Detroit. Jordy Nelson, who missed the 2015 season due to a torn ACL, had six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3 to push his season totals to 17 receptions and four scores. Fellow wideout Randall Cobb is coming off a one-catch performance that stretched his touchdown drought to nine games, but running back Eddie Lacy went over 100 yards for the first time. Green Bay’s defense ranks 29th in the league against the pass at 307.3 yards per game.
* Giants are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Packers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on grass.
* Over is 4-1 in Giants last 5 games in Week 5.
* Under is 9-1 in Packers last 10 games following a straight up win.
* Giants are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is backing the Packers with 52 percent of the picks on the home favorites. Over is dominating totals wagers with 71 percent of the selections. View full consensus data here.