Thursday, November 26, 2015

Packers vs Bears Thanksgiving 2015 - This. Will. Be. Epic!

Happy Thanksgiving, Packers fans! There is much to give thanks for. Especially as Packer fans. After all, we could have wound up as Bears fans...eeeewwwwww!

If we can clear that bad image out of our heads, let's move on to what's in store for us today: the Packers play Da Bearz at Lambeau Field in the final game of the NFL's Thanksgiving Day triple header. It's the first time the Pack will have played a Thanksgiving Day game at home since 1923. That's pretty special right there, right? But even more special will be seeing Brett Favre's ol' number 4 retired at halftime to the Ring of Honor inside Lambeau. other thing: Packers legend Bart Starr will remarkably be on hand to help celebrate this occasion. From all accounts, and in particular from his wife, Cherry, this will probably be Starr's last trip to Green Bay.

Whether fans will be more excited to Starr or Favre remains to be seen. All we know is that seeing both of them...and perhaps even with a moment somewhere along the way with current QB Aaron Rodgers...will blow the roof off the place (that's a metaphorical statement, of course, as Lambeau doesn't have a roof..well, I'm assuming, as good Packer fans, that you already know that, but just in case...).

So with all this emotion flowing inside the stadium, is there any chance that this current Packers team won't rise to the occasion? Sure, there's a chance or two: slim...and none.

The Pack shook off the doldrums from their three-game losing streak with a very good performance Sunday against the ViQueens. Now, it wasn't perfect...but it was pretty darn good on a number of counts, many of which were noted in our last post. See that one for details. The defense, as Mike Daniels noted this week, understands that their performance is highly related to their attitude. During the three-game losing stretch, no sacks; on Sunday, six sacks and holding Adrian Peterson to 45 yards. They dominated the Vikes. It started with attitude and then execution. They need to do the same tonight against an improved 4-6 Chicago Bears team. There's no reason to believe they won't.

Offensively, the Packers got a bit more in sync against the Vikes than they had been in the past month. (Another thing to be thankful for!) Again, it wasn't perfect. There were still missed throws and dropped passes. But...better. Just in time for Da Bearz.

Now, while Da Bearz are certainly an improved team since the first meeting of this season, can they take the Pack down? Anything is possible. We didn't think the Lions could come into Green Bay and steal one but they did. But the Packers were still in their collective funk then. Now? Not. Plus, Aaron Rodgers is 13-3 versus the Bears while Jay Cutler is 1-11 versus the Packers. Rodgers usually has one of his better games against Chicago, while Cutler -- obviously -- just can't get it done against Green Bay. (Another thing to be thankful for!) If the Packers defense gets consistent pressure on Cutler he gets nervous in the pocket and will start flinging it about. Everyone says that you know in a game with Cutler that you are going to get at least two or three occasions where you can get a turnover and you should come away with at least one of those. That can be the case tonight.

The Packers offensive line comes into tonight's game a bit banged up but if they can hold up and do what they did against the Vikes in the way of protecting Rodgers and opening holes for Lacy and Starks, it should give Rodgers and the offense enough opportunities to score.

The Prediction
The Packers are currently favored by 8-1/2 points at the time of this writing. What could get in the way of a Packers win, apart from Da Bearz, that is? The weather might play a role. The forecast is for rain and possibly sleet. That will affect both teams, obviously, but could have a greater impact upon the kicking game: punters, kickers, returners. Don't look for Mason Crosby to kick five field goals from more than 40 yards as he did Sunday. And if he has to...well, he can...but it sure doesn't reflect well on offensive production, does it?

Our call? We've got the Packers winning it, 27-20.

Go Pack Go!!!