Raji taunts Giants ahead of showdown
When it comes to the Giants' offensive line, "tough" or "physical" are not in B.J. Raji's vocabulary.
The Packers Pro Bowl nose tackle even graded Giants running back Brandon Jacobs higher on the toughness scale than the blockers Raji will face Sunday in an NFC Divisional game at Lambeau Field.
"Not saying they're soft, but it's not the toughest group I have been against," according to Raji, a New York City native who starred in high school at Westwood in Bergen County (N.J.).
"I played [the Giants offensive line] once this year and once last year," Raji added, referring to a pair of Green Bay victories. "I can only judge from my vantage point up front -- not necessarily the most physical. Their backs are pretty physical, but it's not the toughest [offensive line]."
Raji's bulletin-board material was ironic, considering he anchors a defense that ranked 32nd -- last -- in the NFL despite the Packers' 15-1 record during the regular season.
Despite making the Pro Bowl, Raji has his own critics. The analysts at respected NFL blog ProFootballFocus.com ranked him as the worst defensive tackle in the NFC this season, noting that Raji made 10 tackles by their count.
Even though the Giants ranked last in the league in rushing, Raji is much more impressed by their backfield than their injury-battered offensive line.
"Ahmad [Bradshaw] is always tough," Raji said. "He's a good player, and he plays hard all the time. When Brandon's running like Brandon, he's very tough to tackle."
Though Raji is impressed with Jacobs, he is not expecting a repeat of Jacobs flattening Packers cornerback Charles Woodson like he did in the 2007 NFC title game, a play that set the tone for the Giants' upset.
"It's a new team, and I don't anticipate that happening," Raji said.