Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pack vs ViQueens Preview

Today's the day the ViQueens visit Lambeau Field. The Pack won at the Humpty Dump earlier this season, and will win at home again today. They're favored by 6 points. While you like to see the Pack finally getting that kind of respect from the oddsmakers, that's a big point spread, particularly in this rivalry and no matter how good or bad the respective teams are at the time of play.

Basically, the 'Queens have nothing on offense except one of the best young running backs to enter the league since...Reggie Bush? OK, that was just a year ago. But Adrian Peterson is the real deal. And the Packers will have to focus their defensive efforts on stopping him. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Peterson will get some yards. Probably more than 100. But as long as he doesn't set another single-game rushing record for the second week in a row, and doesn't make a habit of visiting the end zone, there should be no excuses for the Packers not coming out of this game 8-1. The 'Queens are down to former UW Badgers QB Brooks Bollinger as starter. While Bollinger was a great college QB, particularly within the UW scheme, he is nothing more than a serviceable backup (sorry, Brooks). Don't look for him to win games.

As for the 'Queens defense, they have an excellent d-line; one of the best in the league in terms of rushing defense. So, let's think about this: the Packers rushing offense still stinks and they go against a great rushing defense. OK, nothing different than the rest of the season from a Packers standpoint. Keep the ball in the hands of ol' #4 and his band of merry receivers and all will be well. Oh sure, former Packer Darren "used to be" Sharper (my apologies to Chris Berman) will be ball-hawking in the secondary. Might even get a pick off his old teammate when he guesses correctly. But he will not be able to keep up with receivers going deep. Just ask Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly.

The Packers defense will have a change at safety, with rookie Aaron Rouse replacing Nick Collins who was injured in last week's game. Rouse is a different type of safety at 6'4". He has speed and size. Perhaps against a more experienced quarterback Rouse could be exposed as the rookie he is. But today, he has an opportunity to make plays particularly if the Packers defensive line continues its fine play, putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. With his size, he can also be an effective player against the run. Aaron Kampman could again have a big day with pressures and sacks, although Bollinger is a mobile QB and may negate some of the sack possibilities as a result. But that's only a factor if the 'Queens forget to hand off early and often to Mr. Peterson.

On the offensive line, the Packers will probably be going without Junius Coston at right guard. He continues to have a sore ankle which has been limiting his play. If he can't go, Jason Spitz will likely start at right guard with Daryn Colledge at left. Coach McCarthy had a meeting with his guards earlier in the week during which he expressed his displeasure with their performance not only in the running game, but also in terms of their protection of Brett Favre. We'll see how well they got that message, particularly against a stout 'Queens d-line.

This could be a classic letdown game for the Pack, coming off two remarkable road wins. But a letdown game doesn't come very often against division rivals. And it definitely shouldn't come against a team the Pack is far superior to. Of course, if they were to get sloppy and commit turnovers, or let Adrian Peterson scamper about, things could take a nasty turn. But the odds are against it. Just like they are against the ViQueens.

Count on the Packers to get it done back in the friendly confines of Lambeau.