Thursday, November 29, 2012

So, there was that Giants thing...

It's taken me several days to process the Nightmare in New York (or Jersey...or wherever the heck The Meadowlands is located). After days of detailed review and analysis, we can say this: the Packers played poorly. How is that for understatement?

In every phase of the game, the Giants pounded the Pack. Whether sacking QB Aaron Rodgers five times, or running through tackles, or...where does it stop?...the Giants outperformed the Packers. That goes for head coach Mike McCarthy, as well, who was simply outcoached. We don't need to recount the mistakes.

In my preview, I had predicted a Giants' win, although a much tighter game; I made the mistake of thinking the Packers would show up. Also, the Giants and QB Eli Manning typically play well coming out of their bye week...and they did. Very well.

Where do the Packers go from here? They have now fallen behind Da Bearz by a game again. Four out of the remaining five games are against NFC North Division opponents, with three of the five at home. They have the ViQueens coming to Lambeau Field on Sunday, followed by the Lions at Lambeau. Then, on Dec. 16, the Pack has their second meeting of the season against Chicago, this time at the "Mistake by the Lake," Soldier Field. A final home game against the Titans is followed by the last game of the regular season at Minnesota. As Aaron Rodgers and others are saying, if the Packers win out they win the division; if it comes down to a tie between the Packers and Da Bearz, the Pack will win based upon the head-to-head tiebreaker...Green Bay will have beaten Da Bearz twice.

Now, it's a big assumption to say the Pack will win their final five games in a row. However, prior to the loss against the Giants, they had a five-game winning streak. So they can do it. They will be getting WR Greg Jennings back perhaps this weekend. LB Clay Matthews should be back perhaps the following week. S Charles Woodson and others should also be returning to the team. So key areas of the offense and defense will be getting boosts. But the area of the team that seems weakest at this moment -- other than Mason Crosby and the kicking game -- is the offensive line. It is a unit which is giving up sacks at or near a league-leading rate and will get Aaron Rodgers sidelined with injury if it doesn't get its collective act together. The loss of RT Bryan Bulaga was huge in terms of its domino effect on the line. And there are not many options available. The team was not deep on the offensive line coming out of training camp and a season-ending injury to arguably its most important member didn't help. If one of the current starters goes down there are only two untested players behind them to fill in. Not good, but it is what it is.

We'll post our preview and prediction of the ViQueens game nearer to game day and game time. For now, just try to put aside the memories of yet another beat down by the Giants. It isn't easy. Especially when there is the likelihood the Pack will be seeing them again somewhere in the playoffs. Let's not think about that just. There's a lot of football to be played before we even get to that point. How well the Packers bounce back at home against the 'Queens will go a long way to determining the chances of making and succeeding in the playoffs.