Big Blue (3-6) need a fourth straight win to stay in the mix for the NFC East title, and these five Giants could make the difference between a playoff run and a big step backwards. Look for them to make the key plays against the Packers on Sunday.
QB Eli Manning -- Manning is having a rough year with a league-high 16 interceptions. However, he's tossed three touchdown passes in each of his last two regular season games against Green Bay. Moreover, opposing signal-callers this season have a 99.5 quarterback rating against the Packers, who are ranked No. 19 against the pass. Manning hasn't thrown for 300 yards since Week 5, but the Giants should win if he can avoid making mistakes.
WR Victor Cruz -- Cruz has been consistent, but not as explosive as in the last two years. He hasn't topped 100 yards or caught a touchdown pass since Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the Packers were burned by the Philadelphia Eagles last week for a pair of long aerial touchdowns -- strikes of 45 and 55 yards -- and Cruz is overdue for a big play and a big game.
RB Andre Brown -- After missing the first eight weeks of the regular season with a broken leg, Brown returned with a bang against the Oakland Raiders last week. He rushed for 155 yards (55 after contact) and one touchdown. The Giants, who rank near the bottom of the league in rushing, won't ask Brown to carry the load, but he can provide much-needed balance to the offense. Incidentally, the Packers are ranked No. 12 in the league against the run.
DE Justin Tuck -- With Jason Pierre-Paul's status for Sunday up in the air, the focus shifts to Tuck, who quietly is having a strong season. He doesn't have the numbers to show for it (1.5 sacks), but he's causing trouble by getting in the backfield and hurrying or hitting opposing quarterbacks. Keep in mind, Scott Tolzien will be making his first career start at under center for the Packers.
CB Terrell Thomas -- Thomas' comeback story has been remarkable. After missing the previous two seasons with knee injuries, he's become a key member of the secondary. Against Oakland, Thomas was thrown at six times and allowed only a 15-yard catch. Plus, he turned in a pivotal, 65-yard interception return to set up the go-ahead score in the third quarter. Look for Thomas to play a key defensive role again this week, and don't be surprised if he makes another game-changing play.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
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