Friday, October 28, 2011

Packers bye week meanderings

So here we are, heading into the eighth week of the NFL season...but there is no Green Bay Packers game. (Sigh)

Still, we Packer fans can cruise through this week and next with the blissful feelings that arise from rooting for the only 7-0 team in the league. And that we have the hottest quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and arguably the best receiving corps in the league. Let's also not forget that we have a kicker who hasn't missed a field goal attempt yet this season, including a franchise record 58-yarder last Sunday in the Humpty Dump.

But, we also have some concerns as we roll into the bye. The defense has been yielding yards and big plays like Wisconsin trees are giving up their leaves right now: in bunches. Part of that seems to stem from a limited pass rush which allows even mediocre QBs to look like Pro Bowlers. Another part of this situation stems from injuries in the seconday; losing Nick Collins for the season was a definite blow. But having Tramon Williams and Sam Shields missing a game or two, as well as an always banged-up Charles Woodson, means a unit not at 100 percent. It's been giving up big yards but also making key stops when it needs to to secure a victory. But you have to believe that head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be figuring out ways to goose the "D" for the post-bye games. If things don't get tightened up the Pack will wind up dropping games it should win.

Prediction Review
My pre-season prediction for the first seven weeks of the season had the Pack coming in at 6-1. I figured they'd win a game they shouldn't and likewise loose a game they shouldn't. As it turned out, they pulled out all the games, even those that seemed to be much closer than they needed to be. Looking ahead, I also suggested the Packers would go 7-2 after the bye. I'll stick with that. These next five games in particular will go a long way to telling us how far this team can go: at San Diego, home vs. the ViQueens (Monday night game), home against Tampa Bay, at Detroit (Thanksgiving Day) and at the NY Giants. Will be a very interesting stretch of games, with three out of five away. Nothing's easy in the NFL, and this is one of those stretches where that adage is really proven.

Jerry Kramer's PickPredict Contest!
The legendary Packers guard, Jerry Kramer, has been running a contest each week during the season. You can now enter it via the dedicated Jerry Kramer Contest link in the righthand column of this blog, immediately preceding the general Links section.

Here are the details:
  • The challenge: Pick the winner of this week's Packers game and predict the final score.
  • The reward: Autographed copies of Kramer's book "Instant Replay" and the Maple Street Press 2011 Packers Annual.
  • Bonus: If your winning entry includes the correct current "Contest Code" (find it @JerryKramer64GB on Twitter) you'll receive a copy of the "Inside the Locker Room" CD, too.
So...good luck! I thank you...and Jerry thanks you!

As always, it's great to be a Packers fan!