Kenny Phillips returns for Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips, who has been out of action since injuring his knee in the team's Week 4 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, is active and expected to start Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers. Phillips' return is huge for a Giants defense that has thrived on turnovers but has struggled for consistency this year. He helps the run defense as well as the coverage schemes, and it's conceivable that his absence is a big part of the reason they've struggled up front in the pass rush as well.

Linebacker Keith Rivers also returns to action for the Giants after missing the last two games with an hamstring injury. And running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been limited in practice for weeks with foot and neck problems, also is active for the game.

The Packers are down several significant players, including wide receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Sam Shields, all of whom are inactive for the game. Matthews sits with a hamstring injury, and Jennings has been out since September with an abdominal muscle injury. Star safety Charles Woodson also is sidelined with a broken collarbone, making this Green Bay defense more vulnerable than it even was when the Giants beat the Packers in the playoffs in January.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning has not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 7 against the Washington Redskins, and the Giants are looking to get their offense in gear with the Dallas Cowboys and Redskins suddenly right behind them in the NFC East race.

I will be here at MetLife Stadium tonight, along with NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert and NFL columnist Ashley Fox, as well as the crew from ESPNNewYork.com. Check out our Countdown Live chat during the game.