Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 NFL Week 6: Packers vs. 49ers Preview & Prediction

A few words about the Detroit game...

Doesn't it always seem as if something goofy happens when the Packers play at Detroit? Whether for or against the Pack, something odd always seems to occur. In last week's disappointment, the Packers racked up all sorts of offensive stats, but still wound up losing. While the loss can't all be pinned on K Mason Crosby's five missed kicks (that is not a typo -- 4 field goals and a missed extra point)...yes, even just a few of those would have been the difference in the game...what about the play calling? QB Aaron Rodgers' two fumbles? Dropped passes? No pass rush? The blame is across the board. OK, good, now that we've got that out of our systems, let's move on to tonight's game at Lambeau Field against San Francisco, shall we?
Mason Crosby (right) walks off with Hunter Bradly
after missing one of his five field goals at Detroit.
(Photo by Paul Sancya, AP)

The Preview

The Packers are favored by 9-1/2 points going into this game. Pundits are universally picking the Pack to win and win big. That's if the offense can get off to a faster start (they have been outscored 42-13 in the first quarter this season), play without penalties (averaging 8 for more than 80 yards per game) and turnovers, and score TDs when they get into the red zone, all of which have been a challenge so far in this 2-2-1 season.

Otherwise, it could be another game where the Packers clean up statistically and somehow still lose the game. Certainly, the Niners are not the calibre of Detroit, and have had 17 players on the injury report this week. But the Packers are missing key players, too, including wide receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. If they fall behind early as has been the case this season, the game plan goes out the window and you're trying to play catch up. There's no need for that. Especially this evening.

The Prediction

This is a game, coming off last Sunday's debacle and heading into the bye week, that the Packers should win and -- yes -- need to win.

We're calling it Packers 31 - 49ers 13.

Go Pack Go!!!

Also, Go Brewers!!!

RIP Jim Taylor

We were saddened to learn over the weekend of the passing of legendary Packers fullback, Jim Taylor. He was always one of my favorite Lombardi-era Packers. He was one of the toughest running backs to ever play the game, rushing for more than 8,000 yards in far fewer games than go into a season these days. He was also the first of those Lombardi Packers to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thanks for the memories, Jim. They are many.

Packers legendary FB Jim Taylor
(Photo by Ernest W. Anheuser, Milwaukee Sentinel)

Sunday, October 07, 2018

2018 NFL Week 5: Packers vs. Lions Preview & Prediction

That was a nice shutout last weekend of a Buffalo team that just the week before had whomped the Minnesota ViQueens, wasn't it, Packers fans? You bet. 22-0 is nothing to sneeze at, even while QB Aaron Rodgers wasn't happy with the offensive performance and made that feeling known. He and head coach Mike McCarthy are, though, according to the latter, both on the same page. Good to know.

That will be important in today's game against the Lions in Detroit because the receiving game may be, how shall we say, challenged. That's because WR Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison are out and Davante Adams is questionable in reality if not officially. As such, rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimious St. Brown will have to step up. If that becomes shaky, the Packers running game will need to step up the pace. RB Aaron Jones -- who needs and deserves the ball more -- along with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery can fill the bill. If McCarthy lets the running game get more reps, that is. The offense will always run through Rodgers, of course, as it should. But if the receiving corps is shorthanded today, let's hope the rushing attack gets its fair share of play calls.

The Packers defense needs to get to Lions QB Matthew Stafford
today just as it has done in the past.

(Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
Defensively, we saw a more aggressive scheme -- or at least, performance -- last week than in prior weeks. Let's hope that approach and energy continues today. The Packers will need to get pressure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford because if given too much time he will pick apart a defense. Under pressure, he'll give you an opportunity for turnovers. The Pack will need at least one today to help make the difference. The Lions may have only won one game so far -- against the Patriots...go figure -- but they are an explosive team. You really don't know what to expect. But with the Packers at 2-1-1, we can really say pretty much the same about them right now, particularly with the injury situation.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 1 point at the time of this writing with the over-under at 51 points, so the oddsmakers are expecting a high-scoring and close game. We do, too.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Lions 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 NFL Week 4: Packers vs. Bills Preview & Prediction

After last week's dud in D.C., Packers fans, how are you feeling about today's game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field? A game with a still-gimpy QB Aaron Rodgers, a game likely without WR and sometime returner Randall Cobb, offensive guard Justin McCray, defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson (done for the season), and several other nicked-up Packers? A game against a team that was a 17-point underdog vs. the ViQueens last weekend and wound up spanking the 'Queens in their home stadium 27-6 behind a rookie quarterback?

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers calling an audible.
(Photo: Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)
You have to believe that that win by the Bills in Minnesota last weekend got the Pack's attention. This is no gimme game, as it might have been perceived when the schedule came out. Recall that the Bills made the playoffs last season and have a stout defense (currently the fifth-ranked run defense in the NFL combined with being tied for 10th in sacks) that harassed Kirk Cousins all game last week, shutting down an explosive Minnesota offense. Offensively, the Bills likely will have running back LeSean McCoy on the field to take pressure off QB Josh Allen, who is no slouch in the running game either having run himself 18 times in two games. As Packers defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine was quoted as saying about Allen this week, “This is a big athlete. He's got good vision. He doesn't look at the rush. I think he does a good job with feeling it. And if you give him an open lane, he's going to take it and he can make you pay for it.

But perhaps the Achilles heel for the Bills is the team's 29th rank in opponent passer rating (108.1). So, if the Packers can protect Aaron Rodgers -- and the Pack also ups its own running game, particularly in what is expected to be wet conditions -- the Packers should be able to take care of business at home today.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 9-1/2 points at the time of this posting. Well, the 'Queens were 17-point faves, as already noted, and that certainly was jut a tad off, wasn't it?

Still, the Packers are at home, coming off an uninspired performance in Washington in a game they were favored to win, and at 1-1-1 through the first three games, have something to prove. If not to the fans at least to themselves at this point. It's time they start getting the season on track. Could the Bills pull off two back-to-back road win upsets behind their rookie QB? Sure. But on this day, we don't think so. We think the Pack gets it together.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Bills 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2018 NFL Week 3: Packers vs. Redskins Preview & Prediction

How are we feeling today, Packer fans? Still a bit mixed feelings after last week's tie with the ViQueens? Yes, we can all relate to that. The Packers had all sorts of opportunities to put that one away, but the Packers defense couldn't stop a hot Minnesota offense in the second half. And relying for so many points off the typically sure-footed Mason Crosby...well, at some point that will come back to haunt you. And it did. Not his fault.

Having said that, let's recall that the Green Bay Packers are still undefeated. Yay. Does that tell us anything about today's game at Washington? Well, the Pack put up 46 points in the first two games against two of the better defenses they will probably face all season. Washington isn't close on that front. The 'skins lost to the Colts at home last weekend in an uninspired effort.

Packers RB Aaron Jones
(Photo: Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin/@jmatthe79)
The Packers get RB Aaron Jones back off his two-game suspension, although head coach Mike McCarthy insists that he's going to have to work his way back into the lineup. We'll see how that goes. Given that he's the only explosive back they have on the roster, and with the disparity between run and pass in the first two games at 38 to 87 respectively, a gimpy Aaron Rodgers could use a little relief from the pass-happy approach of the first two games. Of course, it will always skew to the pass game as long as Rodgers is at QB and McCarthy is coach. That's OK. But a greater balance would sure help, as well as a home run threat coming out of the backfield. Jones may well have to get his game legs and timing together. But the only way to do that is to feed him the ball. Let's hope that happens a lot today.

Anyway, a lot could be said but lack of time spares you, dear reader, from having to labor through that amount of verbiage. Washington does have Alex Smith at QB and the venerable Adrian Peterson at RB. That means things can happen if the Pack's D once again decides to sleepwalk.

Still, Washington is not of the calibre of either Chicago or Minnesota.

Our Prediction

The Packers are favored by 3 points heading into this game. We expect them to exceed that.

We're calling it Packers 31 - Redskins 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 NFL Week 2: Packers vs. Vikings Preview & Prediction

So, Packers fans...have you recovered yet from last Sunday evening's remarkable comeback victory over that team from Chicago? Proves once again that it's not how you start but how you finish that counts. And, boy, did the Pack finish! Thanks to a gutsy performance by a one-legged QB by the name of Aaron Rodgers.

Photo copyright Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What do things look like today for the Pack in the game against the rival ViQueens? Not great, we're afraid. Here's what the SportsLine folks say about its 10,000 simulations of today's game:

SportsLine Projection Model's score: Vikings 24, Packers 23
Vegas line: The Packers are favored by one point, down from 2.5 points (O/U 46.5)

Projected Statistics: Kirk Cousins passes for 257 yards, two TDs and one INT, with Dalvin Cook rushing for 64 yards and Adam Thielen catching six passes for 70 yards to lead the Vikings. For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers goes for 228 yards and two TDs and Davante Adams gets 66 receiving yards.

So, kids, there's that point of view...or views.

We've seen the point spread anywhere between 1 and 3 points in favor of the Packers, for the home field advantage.

The Vikes are a long way from Da Bearz on both sides of the ball. A great defense and, if the Packers' defense lets QB Kirk Cousins stand in the pocket, he has plenty of weapons -- including a good young running back -- to destroy you with. With a healthy Rodgers and Adams, and if RB Aaron Jones were available instead of sitting out the second game of his two-game suspension, this could be a game in the Pack's favor. But as it is today? We think not.

The Prediction

The SportsLine score is about where we had it. We hope we're wrong, but it seems as if the factors fall in favor of Minnesota today.

We're calling it Vikings 27 - Packers 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Our Belated Season Prediction

Before the start of every regular season, we have always given our season wins-losses prediction. We didn't get that together prior to the Chicago game, so let's do it now. Even with that one already in the bag as a known. But guess what? We had that one in the win column anyway.

We don't do a game by game prediction, but rather we break the 16-game season down into quarters (except for that five-game stretch at the end of the season) and predict the quarters. With that said, here we go. Oh, and this assumes a healthy Aaron Rodgers for the entire season, as well. That's a biggie. If he's out for any extended length of time...well, not good.

Weeks 1-4: Bears, Vikings, at Redskins, Bills. Record: 3-1 

Weeks 5-8: at Lions, Niners, BYE, at Rams. Record: 3-0

Weeks 9-12: at Patriots, Dolphins, at Seahawks, at Vikings. Record: 2-2

Weeks 13-17: Cardinals, Falcons, at Bears, at Jets, Lions. Record: 3-2

Season Record: 11-5

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Packers vs. Bears Preview & Prediction - 100th Season Kickoff

Graphic copyright 247 Sports
It's the start of another exciting season of Green Bay Packers football. It's the best time of the year!

But this is not just any season. It's the Pack's 100th season!

Over the course of the first 100 seasons, the Packers have become the most-storied franchise in the NFL, if not in all of professional sports.

Green Bay has become Titletown. Thirteen world championships...Curly Lambeau, Johnny Blood McNally, Don Hutson, Vincent Thomas Lombardi, ALL the Glory Years Packers (Nitschke, Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Davis, Adderly, et al), Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White, Uncle Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver...where does the list start and where does it stop when it comes to the Packers?

A big piece of this amazing team history, of course, concerns that team from south of the border: the ... eeeewwww ... Chicago Bears. Da Bearz. The longest running rivalry in all of football. The Pack leads this century-long dogfight 96-94 with 6 ties. Oh, in a more current timeframe, QB Aaron Rodgers is 15-4 against Chicago, and 8-1 at Lambeau Field. (How does that make you feel about the chances tonight, Packer fans?)

What do we expect this evening? The Packers are favored by 7 points. In an opening match such as this, where the starters on both teams haven't actually played much in the preseason, hard to tell. There are new coaches on both teams, including a new head coach in ChiTown, so how all that plays out...your guess is as good as mine. But since this is my blog, I'll give you my best guess right now.

The Prediction

Let's make this short and sweet, shall we? I know my good friend, Bill Da Bearz Fan, is waiting for my predication and I don't want to hold up his afternoon nap.

So here it is: Packers 27 - Bears 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

A Postscript

I took the entire offseason off, as you can see from the date of the last post prior to this one. Like many fans, the wind was pretty much out of the sails after that clunker of a 2017 Rodgers-less season. Not an excuse, just how it was.

Didn't really cover the draft (was traveling at the time) or opine on it (thought it was a good draft for the new GM, though), OTAs, mini camp, summer training camp, preseason. Yes, I slacked off. So it goes. Hope to at least do weekly game posts and updates if they seem needed. Hope you'll check in once in a while. And thank you if you do so. Your readership is appreciated. I have a much more active presence on Twitter these days so if you wish to follow us there, you'll find us at @packfansunited. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

NFL Week 17: Packers vs Lions ... The End.

Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season brings with it, mercifully, the end of the Packers waylaid season. Striving to finish at 8-8 today against the Lions in Detroit, after beginning the season with Super Bowl hopes, the Pack will be hard-pressed to make that happen being without at least 7 starters. This will be essentially a preseason game for the Packers with lots of youth on display and probably not much else. Backup QB Brett Hundley needs all the help he can get and then some to score points; that will be in short supply today. The only thing that creates a possibility for avoiding another shutout is that the game is on the road where Hundley somehow performs marginally better.

The Prediction

Yes, we're getting this out of the way early for those who wish to move along quickly. While some players might be playing for contracts, or auditioning for other teams, playing for pride just doesn't seem to matter much lately. If it did, we wouldn't have seen the level of play -- even from back ups -- that we've seen over the last several weeks. Whether that's a coaching problem or player problem or even a general manager problem, the effect has been the same: poor play. Why would we expect that to change today? Don't.

The Lions are favored by 6-1/2 points. Let's see: Matthew Stafford at QB vs. Brett Hundley at QB? C'mon.

We're calling it Packers 10 - Lions 24.

Still...Go Pack Go!!!

After the Game...After the Season...

The now well-documented demise of this season began with the broken collarbone to QB Aaron Rodgers and an ongoing rash of injuries decimating virtually every other unit on the team. As we know, though, injuries don't explain all of the problems.

The autopsy of the 2017 Packers has been underway for weeks and will continue long into the post-season. It's not shocking. Word already has it the long-suffering (at least on the part of Packers fans) defensive coordinator Dom Capers is out once the season is over. Who will head coach Mike McCarthy choose to replace him? There are many good options, as this article by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's great writer, Tom Silverstein, points out.

Some talk has been floating that it's time for GM Ted Thompson to move on, despite one year remaining on his contract. We would be shocked if Packers President Mark Murphy were to force Thompson out before the end of that contract, even though there are mounting reasons it would be a wise move to make at this time. Expect Thompson to be pulling the trigger for the 2018 NFL Draft and free agency.

Thompson did get an early start on the offseason in the last several days signing WR Davante Adams and C Corey Linsley to contract extension. Wise moves, although the money for a three-times-concussed Adams might be a bit on the high side. Time will tell.

Again, we'll have plenty of time to dissect this past season and project our collective hopes onto next season in the weeks and months ahead. We'll be seeing you around. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more real-time commentary!  :-)