Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Packers whack Vikings, get ready to smack Bears

The rejoicing over the Green Bay Packers 30-13 victory Sunday over the up-and-coming Minnesota Vikings is still continuing several days later. At least among Packer fans. While the players also feel much better from an attitude standpoint than they have in the last month, they didn't have much time to celebrate the big NFC North Division win. After all, the rival Chicago Bears come to Lambeau Field Thanksgiving night. It's a short turnaround for both teams. But the Pack come in with a much-needed win while Da Bears arrive following a loss to Denver in Chicago.

Since the players can't take time to recount Sunday's glories, however, allow us to do so briefly.

First, kicker Mason Crosby did what had never been done before in NFL history: kick -- and, more importantly, make -- five field goals of more than 40 yards each in a single game. Wow. Congratulations, Mr. Crosby! I guess you could say he more than made up for that clunker in the closing seconds of the loss to the Lions the week before.

Secondly, RB Eddie Lacy, despite not getting the start, rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries, shaking off not only ViQueen defenders in the process but also the doubters among the Packers faithful who were beginning to wonder, "What's wrong with Eddie?". Apparently, not much when the O-line does its job opening holes and Eddie decides to make decisive cuts. Yay.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers regained some of his mojo against the Vikings on Sunday.
(Photo by Ann Heisenfelt, File/Associated Press)

QB Aaron Rodgers, after a few weeks of looking not-at-all-Aaron-Rodgers-esque, regained a good portion of his mojo, throwing for two touchdowns. His 16-for-34 passing for 212 yards still wasn't outstanding -- Rodgers at less than 50% completion rate? C'mon! -- but he did hit important third down conversions that had almost been non-existent in recent weeks. WR James Jones accounted for nearly half of Rodgers' passing yards, catching six balls for 109 yards and one fantastic TD that is the stuff of highlight reels; Jones had practically disappeared from action in the prior weeks' losses.

Kudos also go to a banged up offensive line for doing a much better job than had been the case recently. Despite losing starting center Corey Linsley in the first quarter (replaced by J.C. Tretter who didn't miss a beat), the line performed admirably.

As for the Packers defense, which hadn't gotten a sack in the last three games, they came up huge on Sunday, accounting for six quarterback sacks. ViQueens QB Teddy Bridgewater was under pressure constantly. The Packers "D" dominated Minnesota from start to finish. Perhaps nowhere was this seen more than in the shutdown of star RB Adrian Peterson who had just 45 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. He also lost a fumble at the Packers 21 early in the fourth quarter which was a huge turnover and game-changer.

Anyway, it was a win. A big win, as the Pack took control of the NFC North. While still tied with the Vikes at 7-3, the Packers hold the tiebreaker by virtue of this win.

Bring on Da Bears!
Any game against Chicago is epic. The fact this will be a Thanksgiving game played in Green Bay will only be the second such occasion since 1923. Yeah, that's right: 1923. The historic series stands at 93-92 in favor of Da Bearz, so the Pack can get things back to square with this win Thanksgiving night.

But as important as these historic aspects are for this game, there is another: the retirement of former QB Brett Favre's number to the Ring of Honor in Lambeau Field, forever to be immortalized among the Packer if that wasn't already the case. Another element to this halftime event will be the appearance of Packer great Bart Starr who, in all likelihood, will be making his last appearance at Lambeau Field. After serious health issues over the last year or so (heart attack and stroke), Starr is lucky to still be with us according to all reports. He's gone through a great deal of physical and mental rehab work to be on hand when Favre's number joins his among the Packer legends. He and Brett always had a great relationship and it could be suggested that Favre delayed this whole event so that Starr could be on hand. To say it will be an emotional moment is an understatement. The only thing that could put a damper on the festivities is the weather, with rain currently forecast for the evening.

We'll be back tomorrow with our Packers vs. Da Bearz preview and prediction. So, stay tuned to, Packer fans.

Go Pack Go!!!