Sunday, December 02, 2012

Packers vs Vikings - It's Time

After the disappointing dismantling of the Green Bay Packers by the NY Giants last Sunday night, we don't quite know what to expect today. Will the ViQueens' defensive front, led by Jared Allen, wreak havoc on the Pack's sieve-like offensive line and take away any chance for Aaron Rodgers to connect with his receivers before getting mauled in a collapsing pocket? Or, will the guys on the line look for some redemption? Will their collective pride be such that they want to emulate the Wisconsin Badgers' offensive line who thoroughly dominated the Nebraska Cornhuskers last night to win their third straight Big 10 title and trip to the Rose Bowl? (Can you tell I'm a proud Badgers fan?)

Of course, last Sunday's problems weren't only with the offensive line; there were problems aplenty on the defense, as well. But as we saw last season, if the Packers' offense does what it's capable of doing, even a Swiss cheese style defense can be covered up.

So, the key on offense today will be the Packers offensive line and how well they are able to stand up to the 'Queens pressure and protect Aaron Rodgers. They need to give their QB time to make his throws. The return of WR Greg Jennings today, even in a limited role, should help open up the passing game...if Rodgers has time. The line also needs to create just enough room to let the running back committee have an impact. If there is no running game for the Packers, as there wasn't against the Giants, it's going to be another long day for the line and Rodgers and that would not bode well for the final outcome.

The key on defense -- as it always is facing the 'Queens -- is keeping RB Adrian Peterson from scampering all over the field and into the endzone. No easy task. And it's a task made even more difficult with the absence again today of LB Clay Matthews, as well as defensive lineman C.J. Wilson who was injured in last week's game. Peterson is a medical marvel not even a year removed from his reconstructive knee surgery. He's amazing to watch...against other teams. The Packers must keep him from deciding the game.

Apparently, the pundits think the Packers will rebound from their New York fizzle, staking them as 7-1/2 point favorites over the ViQueens. If the Packers play their game -- get their mojo back at home as they should -- they should get the win, although I'm not so sure about covering the spead...if someone was a betting person, that is. By the way, the over-under for the game is set at 47 points -- only three games are higher today.

I called last week's game in favor of the Giants. I had a feeling that the Packers were due for a dip after five straight wins; plus the Giants and Eli Manning seem to always play well coming out of a bye. I hoped I was wrong. But I was right.

Will I be right today? I hope so, this time around. We'll know in about four or five hours' time. The Packers under coach Mike McCarthy rarely play clunkers back-to-back (think about the games versus Colts and Texans). Make no mistake, this will not be an easy game to win and, depending upon whether Packer pride shows up on the field or it continues to snooze, that win could be in doubt. The Packers are a better team, especially at home. They just have to play like it.

I think it will be close. I'm calling it 27-24 Packers. Yes, I realize that means heretofore unreliable kicker Mason Crosby will have to make two field goals. But given the great weather conditions -- balmy for Dec. 2 in Green Bay -- I think today is the day Crosby starts to get the monkey off his back and helps win one for the Pack (fingers -- & toes -- crossed!). It's time. It's definitely time.

Go Pack Go!!!

Two to IR and two to roster
As an article by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, "The Green Bay Packers put tight end Andrew Quarless and safety Sean Richardson on injured reserve and signed running back DuJuan Harris and wide receiver Jeremy Ross off their practice squad to their 53-man roster, the club said Saturday."

It's possible we might actually see some action by Harris today. As Silverstein notes, "The decision to elevate Harris was evident this week when he started getting snaps with the No. 1 offense and with the special teams units. The 5-foot-8 Harris has been a standout on the practice squad after being signed Oct. 24." Ross might see action on special teams.

For the complete article, go here.