Thursday, December 09, 2010

Packers at mid-week

We've all had time to bask in the glow of a nice beat-down of the 49ers by our beloved Green Bay Packers last Sunday. After a bit of a sputtering first quarter or so, the offense clicked and the bend-don't-break defense did what it's been doing pretty much all season. We got to see Donald Driver make a TD catch and run that goes down in the all-time highlight reel. We saw a rookie running back, James Starks, finally get on the field for the Pack and rush for the most yards -- 73 -- by a Packer in a rookie debut since 1948. We saw QB Aaron Rodgers continue his streak of games and passes without an interception: 5 and 177 respectively. Oh, and that last one is now second in Packers' history behind Bart Starr. We saw WR Greg Jennings continue to light things up in a big way.

Unfortunately, though, the Packers lost DE Cullen Jenkins for at least a few weeks with a calf strain. And practice this week revealed that LT Chad Clifton actually sustained a concussion during the game, so he is going through the league protocol this week required to be cleared to play this coming Sunday. He did a jog-through at Wednesday's practice and that's usually seen as a good sign of being cleared to play in the next game. But Wednesday's practice also saw CB Charles Woodson depart the field with an ankle sprain, the severity of which is still unknown...or at least, undiscussed at this moment.

So, the Packers are on a bit of a roll. The upcoming opponent, the Detroit Lions, hmmm...not so much. To their credit, it's a 2-10 team that really should have a few more wins under their belt (e.g., remember the TD catch in Chicago to win that was overturned???). But they don't know how to close out games. This weekend's game versus the Packers is not the time for them to start figuring that out.

Observers and the Packers themselves know this will be a hard-fought game. The Lions, lest we forget, gave the Packers everything in a frightful near-comeback on Oct. 3. The Pack wound up winning by just 2 points while grinding out the clock. The Lions scored the most points against the Packers of any opponent the Packers have faced so far. They also racked up the most offensive yardage. Of course, this was also early in the season when the Packers were still adjusting to the onslaught of injuries on both sides of the ball. As we approach this week's game, the Packers have made their adjustments. If the players are focused -- and you can be sure coach Mike McCarthy and his assistants will have them very focused -- this game should not be in doubt. The Lions will give it all they have for as long as they can. But if the Packers get off to a fast start for a change, the game should be over long before it's over, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

We'll do a more detailed preview closer to game time. So keep checking back for more.

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