Sunday, November 15, 2009

Packers - Cowboys Preview

To say this is a make-or-break game for the Packers is overstating the situation in the minds of some, and a clear understatement for others. But clearly, at the halfway point of the season, the Packers have underachieved based on expectations...which themselves, in retrospect, might very well have been overstated given the youth and lack of talent in key areas (e.g., offensive line) of the squad.

Still, there have been other seasons where the Pack sat exactly at this same point, 4-4, and wound up making the playoffs. So, should we fret? We'll know for sure later this afternoon.

The players had their "come to Jesus" meeting, as reported here and elsewhere early in the week. They basically understand the situation they and the coaches have put themselves in. Last week was the game they needed to right themselves after the ViQueens game. Didn't do it. Laid a big egg instead against one of the worst teams in the league.

Dallas is favored by 3, even with the game at Lambeau. The 'boys have a hot QB in Burlington, WI native and favorite son, Tony Romo. They have a three-headed running attack, any piece of which could exploit problems in the Packers defense. They have a receiver that was unheard of last year, Miles Austin, and who lit up the Packers big time in his coming out party. Their offensive line is huge and could easily dominate the Packers 3-4 scheme. The Cowboys defense can and likely will generate major pressure on Aaron Rodgers and add to the team's already league-leading sack total.

So, against a hot team like Dallas, who has the edge in 5 out of 9 team areas according to some analysts, what are the prospects? Not great, unless the Packers change their modus operandi in one fell swoop. It's kind of like the "opposite George" episode from Seinfeld. You know, the one where George Costanza finally realizes that if he just does the exact opposite of what he usually does he'll finally achieve success.

In the case of the Packers, doing the opposite consists of: running the ball consistently, using a short 3-step drop passing attack so the offensive line is less susceptible to exposing their sieve-like tendencies, and on defense blitzing at least once in a while...oh, and having special teams if not actually being special at least being adequate and not allowing huge punt and kick returns by the opponent.

By being the "opposite George/Packers" the Pack has a chance today. Their season is on the line.

The prediction? Frankly, I'm not optimistic. I think if the past is prelude, the Packers will lose by 10 or more.

But still, I'd like to put this game in the category of TCTC (too close to call...or TC2 for those who favor scientific notation in their acronyms).

No matter, the cheer must still be raised: Go Pack Go!!!