Sunday, December 30, 2007

Packers to play Sat. Jan. 12

The NFL has announced the schedule for the upcoming playoffs. While the entire schedule is of interest, the part that matters the most -- of course -- is that which affects the Packers. So, without further ado (although I guess I gave it away in the headline, didn't I?), the Pack will host their first home playoff game at 3:30 CT on Saturday, Jan. 12, against an as-yet-to-be-determined opponent.

As noted earlier in the post-game report, if Seattle wins its game against Washington (the ViQueens were eliminated from the Wild Card chase with their loss in overtime at Denver today...awwwwwww) the Seahawks will come to Lambeau. If Seattle loses, the winner of the Giants-Buccaneers game will travel to GB. And assuming the Packers win that game (and assume we will!), they will have an extra day to rest compared to their opponent in the NFC championship game. Every little bit helps.

As for the full schedule and network coverage, here ya go (all times are Central Time):

Saturday, Jan. 5
3:30 p.m. - Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks (NBC)
7 p.m. - Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 6
Noon - New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX)
3:30 p.m. - AFC 6th seed at San Diego Chargers (CBS)

Saturday, Jan. 12
3:30 p.m. - TBD at Green Bay Packers (FOX)
7 p.m. - TBD at New England Patriots (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 13
Noon - TBD at Indianapolis Colts (CBS)
3:30 p.m. - TBD at Dallas Cowboys (FOX)

Sunday, Jan. 20
2 p.m. - AFC Championship (CBS)
5:30 p.m. - NFC Championship (FOX)

Sunday, Feb. 3
SUPER BOWL XLII: AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion (FOX)

Packers win 34-13 over Lions

The Packers tied a franchise record with 13 victories in a season thanks to their convincing 34-13 win over the lowly Lions today. A couple other records also came about during this game: Brett Favre won his 23rd game against the Lions, setting an NFL record for most wins by a QB against one team; rookie kicker Mason Crosby set the record for most points scored this season with 141, thanks to 2 field goals and 4 PATs today (this is the first time a rookie got the scoring title since...oh, look it up); punter Jon Ryan tied a team record going back to 1965 with a 72-yard punt.

We could analyze this game, but it's not really worth doing at this point. After all, Brett and many of the starters were out before the first half was over. The coaches were able to get a look at a lot of other players over the course of the game, which bodes well going into the playoffs. Nice also to see Brandon Jackson rush for more than 100 yards after taking over for Ryan Grant early in the first half.

Speaking of playoffs, here's what things look like: if Seattle wins its game (against either Washington or Minnesota, yet to be determined today), the Seahawks and Mike Holmgren return to Green Bay; if Seattle loses, the winner of the Buccaneers-Giants game comes to Lambeau. It would be nice to see Tampa come to Lambeau in January, wouldn't it? But really, the Pack matches up well against any of these teams, particularly at home. Then...well, we'll talk about that later.

In the meantime, let's just savor a 13-3 season. Totally unexpected. And totally fun to watch. The Packers have to feel very good about today's game and the way they executed. That's a great way to go into the bye. And it will be equally good if they can take this momentum into the divisional round in 2 weeks. It's one game at a time. But for the first time in a long time, the Packers are only 2 games away from a return to the Super Bowl. Oh baby!!!

Halftime: Packers 21 - Lions 10

First half mission accomplished! The Packers dominated the Lions, scoring 21 unanswered points after Detroit got a field goal on their opening drive. Ryan Grant had 57 yards in 6 carries, including a 27-yard TD run, before leaving with a left shoulder stinger with about 6 minutes left in the first quarter. He only needed 44 more yards to crack the 1,000-yard mark. He would have had that no problem. As a precaution, they are holding him out. Brett threw 2 TD passes, one to Koren Robinson and the second to Bubba Franks. Brett was 9 of 11 for 99 yards and the 2 TDs before giving way early in the second quarter to Craig Nall. The Pack scored on their first 3 possessions.

All this is especially impressive considering the Pack sat out 7 starters, including Donald Driver, Donald Lee, Gregg Jennings, Charles Woodson and Aaron Kampman among that group.

Detroit scored a TD late in the half on a blown pass coverage.

Lookin' good.

Packers vs Lions Preview

The last regular season game of 2007 will commence for the Packers in less than 3 hours. Whereas last year it was just about getting to 8-8 and turning around a season that started off looking eerily familiar to the dismal 4-12 record of the year before, this year it's about getting primed for the playoffs by finishing 13-3. And blowing away the blip of a week ago where players' focus was not on the field but rather on the heaters. (More on this in a moment.)

So, the offense needs to get back on track. The defense needs to stop third down conversions. And special teams need to be, well, special once again.

Now, it's clear that the coaches won't want to play key starters any longer than they need to. That probably means something like a half for Brett, maybe 3 quarters for some of the others. But it's key to get out of the game without injuries. And win, of course. So, hopefully, the Pack can get off to a hot start, jump out to a big lead and then rest those that they can and should. Kind of like the Patriots had hoped to do last night against the Giants before the Giants decided to make a game of it. Now, the Lions will likely want to do that too. They haven't won in Green Bay since...anybody remember when that was? And they don't win much anywhere else either. So, let's keep that low self-esteem of the Lions going, shall we?

The Packers are favored by 5. Weather conditions will seem downright balmy compared to last week in Chicago: about 29 with perhaps some scattered snow showers. There are no excuses in this one. The Pack needs to take care of business and go into their first round bye on an up note. Packers 24 - Lions 13.

The thing about the weather...remember The Ice Bowl?

It was noted above in reference to last week's game that the players' focus was on staying warm not on the game. It clearly impacted this young team. Da Bearz kept their focus, the Packers did not. And that was the game.

This point was brought home in an Ice Bowl 40th Anniversary (40!) TV special last night. Recall that this was likely the most frigid NFL game ever played. Minus-13 degrees air temp at game time. And although the wind chill factor wasn't invented yet, it's believed that wind chills were somewhere in the neighborhood of minus-48 at times. Compared to those conditions, our young players were in the tropics last week.

While all those interviewed during the special spoke to the weather conditions, Jerry Kramer -- he of the infamous block -- really said it well. And the young Packer players should hear what he said loud and clear. He said that when the players went on the field for the game they had a decision to make: they could either decide to be "miserable" or they could get over it and focus on the task at hand. The fact that the Packers focused so well, especially during the last 4 minutes or so when they were behind 17-14 and had to put together a long drive to get into scoring position, was what ultimately decided the game. How Bart Starr was able to throw the Boyd Dowler and Chuck Mercein were able to catch key Donny Anderson was able to Ken Bowman, Kramer and Forrest Gregg were able to get enough footing for that right side line surge for the winning score...that, my friends, was focus. Admittedly, these were veterans. They were playing for their third consecutive World Championship, and their second trip to the Super Bowl. They knew that focus was more important than the weather conditions.

Lombardi taught his players how to excel, to do more than they probably thought they could do. If this young Packer team is to reach this year's Super Bowl, they need to learn what focus is all about. They have done more this season than anyone -- including probably most of them -- thought possible. But they should have also gotten a valuable lesson from last week: either you focus on your task and win, or focus on the weather (or other outside factors) and lose. It ultimately comes down to that.

Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ref fined

Without filing his grievance, Packers LB Nick Barnett got a measure of redemption today when the NFL fined WWF, er, NFL referee Jim Quirk a game check -- $8,150 -- for his chokehold takedown of Barnett in Sunday's game vs. Da Bearz. The league told Quirk the fine was for " for "inappropriate physical contact with players." The fine also covers an earlier incident involving Falcons RB Jason Snelling on a kickoff return in the Atlanta-Tampa Bay game on Dec. 16. (A bit of trivia for you: Snelling had a pre-draft workout with the Packers this last April. Coincidence? Or...??? You decide!)

Apparently, Mr. Quirk has -- dare I say it -- his quirks? (Sorry, that was too easy, I know...and so-o-o predictable.)

Shovelers revel in their role

Early yesterday morning I wrote a post about the Packers putting out a call for people willing to help shovel out the stands at Lambeau Field. A day later, you can read about someone who was on the road at 4:30 a.m. to drive 150 miles for the privilege of tossing snow at Lambeau, or another who was in line at 6:15 a.m. to make sure he was one of the 300 lucky folks to be issued a shovel, or about the "reserves," or the really lucky ones who were called on to help remove the tarp off the hallowed frozen tundra itself. Nowhere else but Green Bay would fans drive 150 miles to shovel snow, or use part of their vacation time to stand in line in the hope of shoveling snow. Let's face it folks: Packer fans are the best! And you can read all about it here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Barnett might not file grievance after all

According to latest reports, Packers linebacker Nick Barnett is rethinking filing a grievance against referee Jim Quirk for Quirk's WWF-style takedown during the game last Sunday in Chicago. Apparently, he'd just be happy if the league said the ref was wrong to do what he did. To find out more about these latest developments, click here.

Birthday at Lambeau

No, this isn't about a birthday of any of the Packers players or coaching staff. It's about a YouTube video of a 50th birthday party for a dedicated Packer fan put on by members of his family recently at Lambeau Field. Combined with the soundtrack, it's a hoot as they say. For folks who have never been to Lambeau, it gives you an idea about tailgate goings on in the parking lot, as well as action inside the stadium. I'd like to thank Steve (brother of the birthday boy himself) for passing this along.

Have a shovel?

If you have a shovel and are in, near, around or will be travelling to Green Bay today, swing on by Lambeau Field. The Packers are looking for 300 volunteers to help shovel out the stands in preparation for Sunday's game against the Lions. You'll be paid $8/hr. And, actually, the Packers will even provide you with the shovel! (No, it's not signed by Brett Favre and you don't get to keep it...c'mon, really...) You just have to be 15 years old or above. should be reporting there right now (8 a.m. Central) and throughout the day. You get paid upon completion, of course. For more, check it out here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Barnett to file grievance against ref

According to a report by WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, Packers linebacker Nick Barnett will file a grievance against the ref who put him in a choke hold and took him to the ground during the game against Da Bearz. If you didn't see the play, or hear about it, you can see the clip here along with some commentary and a quote from Coach McCarthy who said he'd never seen anything like it. After investigating, the NFL decided not to discipline Barnett. Gee, that's good. After all, he was the one being dragged to the ground. The NFL did say, though, Quirk "went over the line" with his actions. Stay tuned to see how this all shakes out. It was one of the worst actions by a ref that this viewer has seen. Barnett certainly has a case worth hearing.

ESPN article about Favre and Jennings

There's a great article on the ESPN website about the on and off-field bonds that have developed between QB Brett Favre and second-year WR Greg Jennings. It's worth checking out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas, Packer fans!

That's my wish for you today.

We can all have our special Packers wishes, too, of course: continued health for Brett Favre and all members of the team; an acute case of amnesia for one and all regarding that game (what game?) on Sunday; learning to love playing in arctic weather conditions; being able to punt block so punts aren't blocked; play calling that takes into account 50 mph winds and wind chills below zero (hel-lo!); taking the field (whether on offense or defense) and being ready to play physical football; a dominant final regular season games against the Lions; playoff victories at Lambeau and wherever else; a trip to -- and a victory in -- the Super Bowl.

Ah, these are the Christmas dreams that dance in our minds!

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Packers give it away...again

Packers 7 - Da Bearz 35. The little chance Da Bearz had to win the game happened: Packers turnovers. And really bad weather. But Da Bearz played in that too. The Pack had lots of problems handling the snaps, with pass and punt protection (a couple blocks), converting third downs, way too many pass plays for a day which made it almost impossible to pass and was not a good day. And can someone please explain to me why Brett was still in the game when the score was 35-7 and over with about 8 minutes or so to go? Someone? Anyone? Coach McCarthy???

Turnovers and miscues of various kinds led to way too many points for a team than needs such things in order to have a chance to win. They got 'em in spades courtesy of the Pack today. Sure didn't see this one coming. But better to fall flat in a game that doesn't mean much than in the playoffs. Certainly gives the coaching staff plenty of opportunities to ride their guys hard this week and beyond.

So, with the Packers loss the Cowgirls officially have locked up the #1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. it goes. Da Bearz won both games versus the Pack this year...and 6 out 8 under head coach Lovie Dovie. Who knew? Wish it weren't so. But ya know what? Da Bearz still suck.

Maybe we'll analyze this more later. But really, not much to say about this one. Nobody got injured, and some players even got time to recoup for upcoming games. We're in the playoffs. And Da Bearz are done. Enjoy your winter break, boys!

Packers vs. Da Bearz Preview

Week 15 of the season finds the Pack in Chicago taking on Da Bearz. This will be the 174th game in the longest rivalry in the NFL. Da Bearz lead the overall series 88-79 with 6 ties. But perhaps the most intriguing stat for today is that Brett is 12-2 at Soldier Field. That's pretty impressive. After today, make that 13-2. Another interesting bit of trivia is that Da Bearz have had 51 different starting quarterbacks while Brett has been at the helm of the Packers. And 13 of those quarterbacks have fewer career passing yards than Brett has against just Da Bearz alone. I know, I know...Da Bearz still suck, you're right of course.

But on to today's game. The Packers are favored by 8-1/2. The early line didn't change. But unless the strong winds that are currently blowing through Chicago and the upper Midwest blow the entire Packers team off the field Da Bearz have little chance of winning this game (yes, I know, we fumbled away the game the last time around...and that's the little chance Da Bearz have once again). Even if the Packers offense is limited to more of a running game because of conditions, the Pack has the edge. Da Bearz don't have much left on the field or to play for this season. Most of the players are just hoping to make it through this game and the next without getting hurt.

As for the Packers, there's a little thing called revenge for that earlier loss. And we are still playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Carolina wasn't able to pull off the upset last night against the Cowboys that they did last week against Seattle. So we're going to have to rely on Washington to take care of that next week. In the meantime, the Packers just have to take care of business today, and then knock off the Lions at Lambeau next week.

Put the 13th win of the season on the board. Packers 27 - Bears 10.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Radio story about Packer fans

Yesterday, it was a post about a live local radio interview with Brett. Today, it's a post about a nice radio segment on NPR's "Only a Game" show about Packer fans. It was only a matter of time, right? Maybe folks took notice when there were more Packers fans in St. Louis stadium (whatever it's called) than Rams fans. Whatever. You'll find the story here, including a small photo gallery. If you want to listen to the podcast, click here.

By the way, if you want to hear/download/buy the song, "O Little Town of Green Bay" (by The Southern Nevada Arts Music Society no less) that was used in the show, you can find it (and other songs for Packer fans) here among other places.

Packers will have lots of salary cap room in 2008

A story in today's Green Bay Press Gazette makes it clear that the Packers have one of the best front offices in the biz. They are using creative incentive clauses in player contracts to generate salary cap credits next year. This is what we all heard about as kids: fun with math! As it looks now, according to the article, the Pack will have about $25 million in salary cap room going into next season. That, combined with the league's youngest team -- and now officially one of the best -- means the Packers are well set to be a contender for more than just this year. No one and done like Da Bearz. Anyway, if you want to bone up on this creative accounting method and keep your chops drooling for what may yet come, you can read the full story here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Brett goes live on local radio...and Caliendo-as-Madden

Well here's something you don't hear every day, Edgar: Brett Favre taking five minutes or so on a Friday morning to do a live radio interview with a Milwaukee radio station. It happened today. WTMJ620 radio -- which just also happens to be the flagship radio station for Packers broadcasts -- got Brett on for a brief chit chat. They asked some questions listeners had sent in, as well as asked about some rumors. For example, is it true that Brett can pick up a softball with his toes? Not quite. It was 1999, and it was a baseball. "I don't think I can anymore," Brett said. Then added, "We like to be remembered for certain things so I guess mine is being able to pick up things with my toes."

You can read more highlights from the interview here. Or if you'd just prefer to hear it for yourself, you can listen to the podcast here. It's worth the time.

Bottom line is that one of the many reasons Brett has endeared himself to so many fans for so many years is that he's just like the rest of us. Well, not quite. But you know what I mean. He's an average guy off the field. "I take out the trash Tuesday mornings," Brett said. And what about pizza? Squares or triangles? "Doesn't matter, as long as it's good." Now that's our kinda guy!

Frank Caliendo as Madden on Favre

A couple days ago, this same morning radio show had native son (Waukesha, WI) Frank Caliendo on the air. Caliendo has a couple performances coming up soon in Milwaukee so was on for a bit of a plug. Why not? But there was, of course, an opportunity for him to do his spot-on John Madden imitation talking about Brett Favre. There's lots of guys out there who have man-crushes on Brett, but John Madden has to be near the top of the list. Take a listen to this podcast to hear Caliendo-as-Madden take that to a whole other level. It's a classic.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Packers favored by 8-1/2 over Da Bearz

The early line on the Packers have them favored by 8-1/2 points versus Da Bearz. That might go up by game time. But that's just for those interested in such things. Many of us just want another "W". But realistically, the Packers should probably win this game by at least 10 points. Da Bearz will be starting Kyle Orton, he of neck-beard visage. But really, does it matter whether it's Orton, Griese or Grossman? They don't have much going for them on offense. And the once vaunted Bearz defense isn't what it was. I mean, Urlacher didn't even make the Pro Bowl this year.

The Pack's biggest -- literally -- resting decision might be Ryan Pickett, who injured his groin in last week's game. He hasn't practiced yet this week. Might do so Friday. But he also hasn't missed a start since coming to the Pack as a free agent last year (something, by the way, St. Louis press were commenting this last week might have been one of the worst free agent mistakes the Rams have made since being in St. Louis). It will likely be a game day decision. If he does play, expect it to be in a very limited role; the coaching staff wants to make sure Pickett is healthy for the playoffs. While there is still something to play for in this game -- namely, still the possibility of home field advantage throughout the playoffs -- it's not worth sacrificing what Pickett can bring in the games that really count coming up. If Pickett doesn't play, the Packers' first round draft pick, Justin Harrell, might get his first NFL start. While he's played more over the last two weeks and acquitted himself well against the run, he's obviously a rookie and not the caliber of Pickett. But he'd be more than serviceable against Da Bearz.

The biggest factor in this game, though, may be the weather. Early weather forecasts have called for rain changing over to sleet and maybe snow as temperatures are expected to drop during the game. That could mean more emphasis on the running game as the day goes on. Which means it would be very nice if the Pack can jump out to a good lead early and make Da Bearz try to come from behind -- something they are not very good at. If the Packers have to rely more on the run they will also have to be relying on John Kuhn at fullback as Korey Hall had a hip injury in the St. Louis game and will miss the final two regular season games. Kuhn's a tough kid who also performs well on special teams. Practice squad fullback Corey White has been getting a lot of reps in practice this week according to reports and could be activated as further insurance at this position. Given the expected conditions at Soldier Field, that may be a very good move.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pro Bowl Snubs?

We're of course very happy with the Packers selected to the Pro Bowl yesterday: Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Aaron Kampman and Al Harris. Four starters. But...the Cowgirls have 11? And the ViQueens have 7? The number of Packers selections is tied for eighth in the league with -- get this -- Da Bearz! The Packers have the same record as the 'girls. And the 'Qeens? C'mon. Da Bearz? Oh, puh-leze! Yes, the Packers have 14 players named overall, but that includes all alternates...not quite the same thing. Not quite the same respect.

That's what some of the Packers players are apparently saying, too. And, according to reports, those players are going to use that disrespect as incentive for the remainder of the year. What's that saying about "Revenge is a dish best served..." hmmmm...what was it? Served on a brat bun? Served boiled in beer? Served with cheese spread? Well, whatever it was...the Packers will be serving it up.

And what better place to start serving up that warm dish of whoop-ass than Soldier Field on Sunday? Not only is there the incentive for the Pro Bowl snubs, but there's also the major revenge factor for the loss to Da Bearz earlier this season. It should be a most fun game for Packer fans...not so much for those fans of the Mess of the Midway.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Four Packers named to NFC Pro Bowl first team, 14 overall

Quarterback Brett Favre, wide receiver Donald Driver, defensive end Aaron Kampman and cornerback Al Harris were all named as first team Pro Bowl selections by the NFL today. All have been named to the Pro Bowl before (now nine times for Brett and two apiece for Driver and Kampman) except for Al Harris who, in his 10th season, finally gets the honor he deserves with his first selection.

Named as first alternates were linebacker Nick Barnett, tackle Chad Clifton and cornerback Charles Woodson. Other alternates include safety Nick Collins, tight end Bubba Franks, running back Ryan Grant, linebacker A.J. Hawk, wide receiver Greg Jennings, tight end Donald Lee and center Scott Wells.

Congratulations, gentlemen! Well deserved. You make all us Packer fans proud.

See the official Packers news release here.

Let's hear it for the troops

OK, normally the troops under discussion here are the Packers troops. But in this case, I want to salute some Wisconsin troops who are -- what else? -- Packers fans. In this case, they've taken that love of the Pack, and Brett Favre, to another level. How so? Ink, baby. Tats. As in tattoos. Now, Marines and tattoos are something that have gone together since leave was invented. For some of the men of the Milwaukee-based Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines, they've not only got the usual Marine symbols adorning their skin, but also Brett Favre's signature. Not via a Sharpie but rather the inkster's needles. So, if you've already purchased every piece of Packers gear or Favre memorabilia you can get your hands on, here's another option: just get permanently tagged. For the whole story, including photos for inspiration, click here.

Still time to get PackerFansUnited gifts for Christmas!

If you're still trying to figure out what to get that Packer fan family member or buddy of yours for Christmas, or perhaps something to annoy any Bearz or ViQueens acquaintances you may have, you can still order from the PackerFansUnited Gift Shop. Just choose Premium or Express shipping and you'll have your gifts in hand in time to amaze or amuse -- or annoy -- as the case may be. Check it out. Click the link above, or the shop banner in the righthand column. Thanks for looking. Thanks for ordering!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Final: Packers 33 - Rams 14

The Packers win 33-14 over the Rams. The Packers get a first-round playoff bye, courtesy of the Panthers beating the Seahawks, and will host a playoff game either Jan. 12 or 13. Brett Favre becomes the all-time passing yards leader on a 7-yard pass to Donald Driver. The Packers go to 12-2 on the season. Amazing.

What more is there to know? The rest is just details. A couple sacks for Barnett, one by Kampman, and one shared by Hawk and KGB. Another interception thrown by Brett on a pattern almost exactly the same as the pick in the first half. But also another pick by Bigby on another pass deflection.

Last week, Will Blackmon was the star of special teams. Today, Koren Robinson really excelled on kickoff returns. Ryan Grant only carried 18 times for 55 yards...the Pack really didn't run as much as expected today, with only 23 carries overall for a net of 52 yards. The lack of an effective ground game today was apparent, especially given field position. The Packers had favorable field position virtually all day, starting in Rams territory at least 4 times, perhaps more. They did get 2 TDs as a result, but more often than not wound up having to settle for a field goal. Mason Crosby thus had a fine day in this regard, nailing four 3-pointers.

So, still things to work on, including continuing to get players healthy. It didn't appear as if anyone suffered any serious injuries today, so that's always a plus.

Next Sunday, it's Da Bearz at Soldier Field. Then back to Lambeau on Dec. 30 for the regular season finale against Detroit. Then there's that valuable first round bye and an even more valuable home game in the second round of the playoffs. Oh baby....ya gotta like it!

End of 1st half: Packers 17 - Rams 14

This is one of those games where you shake your head. The Pack takes the opening kickoff back 43 yards on a nice return by Koren Robinson. The Pack then comes out on the opening drive, moves with authority down the field, and scores on a 2-yard run by Ryan Grant. They hold the Rams to three and out on their opening series. The Pack have another drive going when on a short pass to Ryan Grant the ball is dislodged before he has a chance to put it away, the Rams recover and go on to score on a Bulger to Holt TD pass. Score is 7-7 when it would likely have been 14-0. The Pack then engineers a drive resulting in a 5-yard TD pass from Brett to Donald Lee. 14-7 Packers. The Rams then get a drive going, allowing Steven Jackson to break free on a 3rd and two and run for a 46-yard touchdown. Score 14-14. Robinson takes the ball back 89 yards on the ensuing kickoff, breaking several tackles before running out of gas around the 20 yard line or so. That return was shortened to 66 yards, however, with a blocking in the back penalty on Tramon Williams. The Pack had to settle for a 44-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to make the score 17-14. The Packers had Bulger throwing from his own endzone on third down. Unfortunately, he connected over Charles Woodson for 40-some yards. Fortunately, he was eventually intercepted by Atari Bigby off a deflected reception by a wide open receiver with about 40 seconds remaining in the half. A couple nice completions to Greg Jennings and the Pack had the ball down to about the 30-yard with 23 seconds left and both of their time outs. Unfortunately, Brett decided to throw an ill-advised pass into double coverage and was picked off. The Rams took a knee. End of half. Packers 17 - Rams 14.

The Packers are letting the Rams off the hook. The Packers have one sack so far against a makeshift offensive line. And that same offensive line is creating seams for Steven Jackson, whom the Packers are having difficulty tackling. Combine this humdrum defensive effort by the Pack with a couple turnovers and the Pack are keeping the Rams in this game. The Pack needs to come out and dominate in the third quarter to put this game out of reach. If it's close in the fourth quarter, well, let's not even go there. Especially when it shouldn't come to that against this team.

Packers-Rams Preview

First things first. We must give a hearty and well-deserved congratulations to the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater football team on their winning the NCAA Division III National Championship in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. The Warhawks beat the unbeaten and seemingly unstoppable Mount Union Purple Raiders 31-21 yesterday. The Warhawks were in command virtually the entire game, despite Mount Union closing the lead to within 3 points on two occasions. Gagliardi Award winner Justin Beaver led UW-W with 31 rushes for 249 yards and a touchdown. (The Gagliardi Award, by the way, is the Division III equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.) Beaver was named the game's Most Valuable Player. He's played for over a month with a fractured rib. A great win for the Warhawks, who had finished runner-up to Mount Union the last two years. As they say, third time is the charm. If you want to read more about the game, check out this article. If you want to know more about UW-Whitewater (from which some of this writer's acquaintances somehow managed to graduate despite spending more time at the local watering holes than is humanly possible), click here.

Now...about that Packers game...

The Packers are 9 point favorites going into the game against the 3-10 Rams in St. Louis. This is a game the Packers should win by beating the spread. Brett needs 184 yards to pass Dan Marino as the all-time leader in passing yards. That should be no problem, although the Rams will be blitzing often, so protection for Brett will be key. If the line can't pick up the blitzes it might be a difficult day. But if they do their job, there should be plenty of opportunities to hit lots of receivers. And let's not forget the running game. Since week 8 of the season, no running back has gained more yardage than our own Ryan Grant. That's right, Ryan Grant. He's rushed for 717 yards since week 8. That's more than any other back in the league. More than Ladanian Tomlinson, Justin Fargas, Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson, and whoever else is out there. Grant should have another 100-yard game today.

What do the Packers have to worry about? Well, Rams QB Marc Bulger will start today after coming off a concussion. But he will be working behind an offensive line missing 4 of 5 starters. There's still Tory Holt to deal with. But he has lost a step. Al Harris should be able to hold him in check. And the Packers defense should be able to get some sacks again, after going without any the last two games. The Rams do have a fine running back in Steven Jackson, and he could generate some yards if the Packers forget about him...which they won't. All in all, the Rams don't have enough to stay with the Pack. And that's not even counting any newly found special teams pizzazz the Packers might have today courtesy of Will Blackmon.

The Packers win 31-17 today. A first round bye in the playoffs? Why not. All we need besides a Packers win today is a Seattle loss or tie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Packers 2008 Schedule

While exact dates and times are yet to be determined, we can at least have an early look at the Pack's schedule for next season...although admittedly this season still brings the most interest right now. But just in case you want to get a head start on your 2008 party planning, here ya go. We finally get the Colts and the Cowboys at Lambeau...can those both be in December...pleeeeaaaassssse???


Chicago * Detroit * Minnesota * Atlanta * Carolina * Houston * Indianapolis * Dallas


Chicago * Detroit * Minnesota * New Orleans * Tampa Bay * Jacksonville * Tennessee * Seattle

Monday, December 10, 2007

Maybe this explains why Brett was laughing

For those who were able to watch the Packers-Raiders game yesterday, you may remember toward the end of the game where Brett was smiling and almost laughing at times coming out of the huddle and at the line. Big smiles. Turns out that might have been because his old buddy Warren Sapp was calling out the plays the Packers were going to run. Now, once in a while a defender may guess right or tip off his teammates about how a play is going to go. But turns out that Sapp was doing this play after play and, apparently, only got it wrong once. Still, the game was a runaway and not even knowing which direction the play was going seemed to be of much use to the Raiders. But had the game been closer? Anyway, seems as if the Packers players were amused, even if they might have to adjust how they call their plays or huddle up. See this story for more on Sapp-gate.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Final: Packers 38 - Raiders 7

NFC North Division Champions: the Green Bay Packers! The universe is once again in order. The Packers are atop the division by virtue of defeating the Raiders 38-7.

Remember how I said that the Pack needed to get their act together in the second half? They did. Remember how I said this game had an "Oh-oh" feel to it? It did. But it was "Oh-oh" for the Raiders.

The last Packers' TD came with about 4 minutes left on a 46-yard pass from Brett to Donald Lee. Lee seemingly had about 25 yards of that on the run-after-catch, breaking several tackle attempts on his way to the endzone. Packers 38 - Raiders 7.

It appeared that there were no significant injuries in the game. Barnett returned in the third quarter and showed no ill effects from whatever the injury was near the end of the first half.

So, the Packers are division champs and are in the playoffs. The remaining schedule sets up well for the Packers, with the next two games away at St. Louis and Chicago, and the final regular season game back at Lambeau against Detroit. It will be interesting to see what personnel moves the coaches make in terms of resting key players. You always play to win. But at this point, it's now about winning in the playoffs to get back to the Super Bowl.

11-2...not a bad season...not bad at all. And it isn't over yet.

End of 3rd quarter: Packers 31 - Raiders 7

A wild third quarter, ending with an interception return for a TD that wasn't, and a 26 yard run by Grant.

But let's start at the beginning. The first drive of the quarter culminated with a 44-yard field goal by Crosby after another drive stalled out on a third-and-one play. This made it 17-7 Packers. The next Packers series was a quick one. An 80-yard TD pass by Brett to Jennings. Packers 24 - Raiders 7. The Raiders eventually got a drive going, aided by a 15-yard blow to the head penalty on Justin Harrell (hey, there he is!). The Raiders missed the 44-yard field goal attempt to keep the score 24-7.

The Packers had to punt on their next series. The returner had the ball stripped by Jason Hunter and Will Blackmon recovered the ball in the endzone for a TD. The referees initially called the player down by contact. The Packers challenged the ruling and -- upon further review! -- the runner was not down when the ball was being fumbled. TD Packers! Score: Pack 31 - Raider 7. By the way, Blackmon became only the fourth player in NFL history to return a punt for a touchdown and return a fumble for a touchdown in the same game. Not a bad way to get your name in the record book.

The next to last play of the quarter was an interception by Atari Bigby after a tip by Nick Collins. Bigby returned it for a TD but a penalty was called on Cullen Jenkins for blindsiding the Raiders QB away from the ball. The Pack kept the ball but lost a TD. The final play of the quarter saw that 26-yard run by Grant mentioned earlier.

Grant has 29 carries for 156 yards.

Halftime: Packers 14 - Raiders 7

The Packers offense continued to move the ball in the second quarter, this time with points to show. Ryan Grant already has 18 carries for 90 yards, including a 6-yard TD run to make the score 7-0. Not long afterward, following a Raiders series riddled with big first-down negating penalties, the recently returned Will Blackmon got his first NFL touchdown on a 57-yard punt return to make the score 14-0. Coaches and fans alike have been awaiting Blackmon's return to returning from his series of injuries. This return was an indication why. Al Harris got an interception later on.

The Packers final drive of the half was much like its first two: a drive with no points. Brett missed Greg Jennings on a third-and-eight play which would have broken for a TD if completed. As it was, the Pack had to settle for a 43-yard field goal attempt by Mason Crosby, who missed it badly to the left. This left the Raiders with decent starting field position with about 90 seconds remaining. The prevent defense, of course, didn't prevent the Raiders from moving the ball and getting a 25-yard TD pass to Jerry Porter over Al Harris. Linebacker Nick Barnett also went down with an injury; almost looked as if he might have been poked in the eye or got his bell rung a bit from they way he looked on the sideline.

The Packers are not playing sharply. Offensive drives are not being finished with points. And the defense, for as good as it played most of the half, seemed to go to sleep during the Raiders 2-minute drive.

As noted earlier, this is a game which has an "Oh-oh" feeling to it in the first half. The Packers are leaving points on the field and against lesser opponents -- example: Da Bearz -- it's this kind of performance which leaves you only one bad play or turnover away from losing a game that should not be close.

The Packers need to get their act together in the second half.

End of 1st quarter: Packers 0 - Raiders 0

The story of the quarter: the Packers moved the ball twice to about the Raiders' 30 yard line and came away with no points. The first time, the Pack went for it on fourth down with about four yards to go and missed on a short pass play. The second time, Brett attempted to throw about a 25 yard pass to Koren Robinson; it appeared the pass may have been affected by the wind because it was to the inside of Robinson, got deflected and intercepted. The Packers "D" is playing well and not giving the Raiders much of anything. If the Packers can't take advantage of the field position they keep getting this could be one of those games that make you go, "Oh-oh." But you gotta believe things will click sooner or later...the Packers are just moving the ball too well.

Packers - Raiders preview

It's less than 2 hours to game time at Lambeau. And this time of year, one has to take a closer look at the weather forecast. So, courtesy of The Weather Channel, here's what might be expected: "Snow showers. High 22F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 70%." Welcome to Green Bay, Raiders.

A couple of points to ponder. The Pack go into this game as 10-1/2 point favorites. That's a big spread, even against a team such as Oakland, which really probably isn't as bad as their 4-8 record might indicate. OK, their rushing defense is 30th in the league, their QB is...who?...and...that's about it. So, not great.

But, the Packers are still dinged up. Most importantly, ol' #4 is still nursing some hurts from the Dallas game, although he will start the game, of course. (That's 250 consecutive regular season starts...but who's counting?) What might that mean as far as the game? Probably a lot more handoffs than we've seen to this point in the season. It's possible that Ryan Grant might have a career high in rushing attempts today. That would be just fine if those rushes moved the chains and resulted in points. The other thing that might be expected is far fewer 7-step know, the kind that really worked against the Pack in the first half of the Dallas game? But I digress. The point is that in order to minimize the exposure of Brett to hits from old friends such as Warren Sapp, passes will probably be more of the 3- and 5-step variety, slants and quick timing passes. If the Packers were able to build a substantial lead in the second half, we shouldn't be surprised if Brett gave way late to Craig Nall in mop up duty. Brett should only be left in as long as absolutely necessary.

Charles Woodson practiced Friday and would love to play against his old team. On the other hand, it might be better for the Pack to hold him out unless he is absolutely recovered from his toe injury, which he is not. Having Woodson healthy for the playoffs is more important than any grudge match he may be wishing for today.

KGB will be back today. Bubba is still doubtful. Johnny Jolly is still out and probably will be the next player to be put on injured reserve when the Packers need to make a roster move. And, as noted in a post here earlier this week, QB Aaron Rodgers is out with a hamstring injury following his admirable performance in relief of Brett against the Cowboys.

So, what does all this add up to? A Packer win. Although the Packers still have to show up. If they do that and take care of business, the Pack clinches the division today. I don't expect a high-scoring game. For the sake of argument, let's call it 24-14 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Ironman shows he's a softy

Brett Favre was honored yesterday by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America as one of eight winners of this year's Chris Greicius Celebrity Awards, "honoring top celebrities and organizations who embrace the Foundation's mission and granted remarkable wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions." Not surprisingly, many of these kids want to meet one of their sports heroes. And, really not surprisingly, for many kids in Wisconsin and elsewhere that sports hero is Brett Favre. Nine-year-old Anna Walentowski, a "wish kid" Favre met three years ago, was on hand to share the stage with Brett. Anna was mentioned in both the Sports Illustrated article naming Brett as the 2007 Sportsman of the Year, as well as in Deanna Favre's book, Don't Bet Against Me.

When asked to say a few words after receiving the award, Brett got choked up several times. But rather than have me tell you about it, why not watch the video for yourself here. You'll have to sit through a brief commercial first, but then settle in for the next 12 minutes or so. If you don't have that much time, Brett's on at about the 5 minute mark.

Yes, Brett is one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game. But he's also one of the best men to play the game...period. And as much as we like that QB part of things, the other part is the one that is truly most important.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rodgers is not Mr. Durable

Admittedly, we are spoiled about all that is Brett Favre. But especially about him being there week after week, year after year. We take this as normal for QBs now. We take his upcoming 250 consecutive regular-season starts for granted.

So, it's one of those things that brings back a dose of reality to Packer fans. Last year, in the one game where Brett had to leave due to injury and be replaced by Aaron Rodgers, Rodgers broke his foot and was done for the season. Now, on the heels of Rodgers' good relief performance last Thursday, news comes that he has a hamstring injury and could miss one to two weeks. Recently-signed Craig Nall will be the primary back up against the Raiders on Sunday. And it's not inconceivable that he will be called upon as Brett is apparently still feeling some tingling in his arm and hand. Yikes.

This may be just bad luck or coincidence for Rodgers. But it sure doesn't generate a lot of confidence in his staying power. Play in a game and -- boom! -- out. Yup, we're spoiled. But c'mon...

If you want to read a bit about this latest downtime for Mr. Rodgers, check out this story.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brett is SI 2007 Sportsman of the Year

The accolades keep on rolling for Mr. Favre, although perhaps this one might have been a bit unexpected. Sports Illustrated has named Brett Favre their 2007 Sportsman of the Year. This is an award Brett has never received before. In fact, he's only the fourth quarterback ever to receive the honor in the 50+-year history of the award.

If you thought you already knew all there was to know about ol #4, think again. There's also a special little piece to the story about a then 4-year-old girl whose "Make a Wish" wish was to meet Brett. She made such an impact that she also wound up getting a mention in Deanna Favre's book, Don't Bet Against Me. SI print copies go on sale tomorrow. But you can read the article online here. Congratulations, Brett!

Murphy Named Packers New CEO

As expected, current Northwestern athletic director, Mark Murphy, was unanimously approved yesterday by the Packers board of directors as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Learn more about Mr. Murphy here. From all the comments about him, he seems to be the perfect fit for the most-storied franchise in sports. Good luck, Mr. Murphy!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's old (back up) is new (back up) again

Guess who's just been re-signed to be a #3 QB? Craig Nall. Remember him? He was drafted by the Packers in 2002 and spent four seasons with the team before leaving to try to get a starting -- or at least better back up gig -- with Buffalo in 2006. He was released by the Bills earlier this season and spent about a month with Houston before being cut last month. Apparently, the injury to Brett in the game against Dallas made the Pack want to gain a bit of depth at QB going into the last 4 games of the season and the playoffs. Obviously, Nall would be a good fit, knowing the team as he does, although he departed just as Mike McCarthy was coming on board. So, like Brett and Aaron Rodgers, he will have to get up to speed on new terminology. To make room for Nall, the Packers once again cut safety Marviel Underwood, who was signed the week before the Dallas game to provide depth in the defensive backfield which had been hit with injuries.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The morning after: ouch

Yes, fellow Packer fans, it was not a bad dream. It was real. Our Pack getting beat yet again in Dallas. Brett looking like more the QB of the 90's losing in Dallas rather than the QB of 2007 winning anywhere and everywhere.

But the big ouch was Brett getting knocked out of the game in the second quarter. Initially it was diagnosed as an elbow injury. Later on it was stated as an elbow sprain and funny bone injury affecting the nerve more than the bone. We awake this morning, though, to also learn that Brett suffered a partial separation of his left shoulder on that same play. What is amazing, though, was that Brett addressed the media after the game and about the only mention he made of the shoulder was that it was hurt but if need be they'd just "shoot it up" and he'd be ready to go in the game against the Raiders on Dec. 9 at Lambeau. As some of the radio folks were saying this morning, how do you not know you've separated your shoulder? To which one of the other radio folks replied, "He's a freak of nature...but in a good way." Ya think???

Other than Brett's injuries, Coach McCarthy last evening indicated that there were no other injuries he was a aware of coming out of the game. That's good. Because, as noted here and elsewhere, there were certainly enough going into the game. And, it could be argued, those injuries certainly did have an impact on the outcome of the game. The loss of Charles Woodson in the secondary was huge. Jarrett Bush was burned repeatedly, eventually being replaced by Tramon Williams. Players looked out of position and confused. Al Harris admitted afterward that there were "communication problems" in the secondary. But Harris also admitted that there should be no excuses and that the Pack just got beat. The injuries on the defensive line -- Johnny Jolly, Colin Cole, and KGB -- also showed up in the total lack of pressure on Tony Romo all night long. The Pack did not get any sacks, and rarely pressured Romo. Combined with the lack of pressure on the QB and the lack of communication in the secondary, it set things up for a big night for the kid from Burlington, WI.

With that said, as noted in the last post of last evening, backup QB Aaron Rodgers brought the Pack back, leading the team back from a 27-10 deficit to make it 27-24 late in the game. He spearheaded drives leading to two touchdowns and a field goal and kept the Pack in the game right up until the last minute. He looked very sharp on his throws and very poised. If for some reason Brett were unable to go against the Raiders, or could not go all the way, fans should feel much more comfortable with the guy filling the shoes. As Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Packers, said during a radio interview this morning, Rodgers can beat the Raiders. This is not hype from a Packers mouthpiece. Larrivee is a seasoned sportscaster and, in fact, noted that he has watched Rodgers play since his first game at California. Larrivee did and still does college play-by-play announcing and thus had a chance to see Rodgers on more than a few occasions during his college career. Larrivee liked him then and indicated that, unlike many top college QBs who have come into the league and got thrown into play and "get beat up", as Larrivee expressed it, with bad teams, Rodgers -- in his third year -- has had a chance to mature and watch one of the game's best. As Larrivee noted, that will serve both Rodgers and the Packers well whenever Brett decides to finally...well, you know...

If you want to read more about Brett's injuries and related matters, check out this story.

As noted in the final post of last evening, there's a lot to digest about this game. Perhaps there will be more here later today. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Final: Packers 27 - Cowboys 37

Yes, Packer fans, the Dallas curse continues. The Pack went down by a score of 37-27, and their record now stands at 10-2.

A very goofy game, as all these games in Dallas seem to be. Pass interference calls that really aren't. A bobbled pass by T.O. in the end zone that drops into Al Harris' hands. Stuff. But most of it not in favor of the Pack.

If there could be any silver lining to tonight's game it's that we had a chance to see backup QB Aaron Rodgers in extended action. That comes at the price of Brett being knocked out in the second quarter though with an unspecified elbow injury. Still, Rodgers did an outstanding job, at one point completing 11 passes in a row. He finished with over 200 yards passing and about 30 rushing, including several for first downs.'s still a loss. And it does eat at you a bit as a fan because, despite all the injuries and the breaks and calls that went against the Pack, they were within a TD as late as about a minute left in the game. They showed character and they never gave up. At least we can comfort ourselves with that tonight.

Check back here for more details and analysis tomorrow. Now, it's just time to let all this settle in.

Halftime: Packers 17 - Cowboys 27

This will be a brief report: not good.

The Packers for some reason, after having a great opening drive for a field goal, then seemed to get out of their recent ways of success and start taking long downfield shots with no success. It exposed Brett to getting hit (more on that in a moment), which resulted in 2 interceptions (leading to 14 points) and could have resulted in more turnovers. As to Brett getting hit, on his second interception in the second quarter, Brett suffered a right elbow injury. Reports are he has no feeling in his hand. Aaron Rodgers came in for Brett and spearheaded a nice TD drive just before half. Rodgers will likely have to finish the game.

More details in a post-game -- or maybe, next day -- report. Lots of angst that will take time to process.

This game has the feel of those freakin' 90's games again. Weird stuff. Like on Dallas' first series, Al Harris actually stripped T.O. of a pass reception along the sidelines. But one ref called the play dead for forward progress and thus the takeaway was not allowed. That would have been a huge play right off the bat. Instead, Dallas is able to tie up the game at 3-3.

The defense for the Packers has gotten no pressure on Romo whatsoever. They are picking on Jarrett Bush.

This game is not looking good or feeling good. And Dallas gets the ball first in the second half.

Packers vs Cowboys: late-breaking news

Bad news for the Packers as they go into tonight's game. Three of the players who were expected to be gametime decisions because of injuries have all been ruled out for tonight: Charles Woodson, KGB, and Aaron Rouse. With Woodson out, Jarrett Bush will once again be called upon to pick up the slack. Jason Hunter will have to fill KGB's shoes. Nick Collins was going to return to his starter spot tonight even if Aaron Rouse had been able to play, but combined with Woodson's absence it again affects the entire depth of the secondary. The Packers anticipated this situation earlier in the week, though, when they placed Colin Cole on injured reserve and re-signed safety Marviel Underwood to the squad. Reports are, though, that Underwood will be inactive tonight and Will Blackmon will fill one of the back up spots.

These are key hits on the defensive side of the ball. As noted in my earlier post, this game will be an indicator of how deep the Packers really are. But will it be a true test of team vs. team straight up? That may have to wait until the playoffs. Because these two teams will be meeting again.

Go Pack Go!!!

Packers vs Cowboys: The Day Has Arrived!

This is it, Packer fans. The day. The first time since 1990 that two teams with 10-1 records have met up. More importantly, though, one of those 10-1 teams -- for the first time in a long time -- is the Packers. Unfortunately, this game is being played in Dallas. This is where Brett is 0-8. Remember the 1990s, folks? When it seemed like every freakin' year the Pack had to play the Cowboys in Dallas. And every year, something bad would happen to yank victory out of the Pack's collective hands.

But this is a new era. The Packers have been re-born. Still, not many of the prognosticators are giving the Pack much of a chance tonight. The point spread on the game has actually gone up from 6-1/2 points to 7 in favor of the Cowboys. Other than the home field advantage, what can account for this? The thought is the 'boys have a stronger running game. OK, I'll give that edge to them with Barber and Jones to our Ryan Grant. They apparently are giving the defenses a push. While admitting that the Dallas secondary is ready for the picking, they also note that unless Charles Woodson can play most of the game, the Packers will also be weaker in that area given the question mark on Aaron Rouse's health and the fact that Nick Collins is just returning after two weeks of inactivity due to injury. The edge in receivers clearly goes to the Pack. Dallas has T.O. and Witten and that's about it. That might be enough, however, if Woodson is out. Give the edge in QBs, of course, to Brett. The game may well come down, all things being equal -- or relatively so -- to how well each offensive line can protect their quarterback. The expectation, as mentioned in an earlier post, is that when the Pack goes to 4 and 5 receiver sets Dallas will blitz and bring everything they've got. Not keeping a back in to help protect Brett might be deadly in such situations. This will be a chess match, especially early on.

Given all this, the other factor which seems to be looming large in people's minds as to favoring Dallas is that the Pack has more injuries coming into this game. That's true. And it may well be that the effect on depth is enough to undermine the Pack's chances. Or, it may be -- just as it has been all season -- that when one player goes down the next one steps up. On the other hand, that's worked against teams far from the caliber of Dallas. This will be a good test of exactly how deep the Packers go, especially on defense. Because it may come down to which defense can shut down the most key plays. Which defense can bend but not break.

I'm drinking the kool-aid on this game, kids. Packers 31 - Cowboys 27.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Packers - Cowboys: the day before the showdown

So it's the day before the big game in Big D. You know, the biggest game in the NFC this season that only those people who have the NFL Network or live in the local viewing markets will be able to see. Have you got your seat reserved at your local sports bar, fans? For most of the nation, that's the only way you'll see the game. Sad state of cable affairs, indeed.

Aside from that issue, what else do we need to know? Well, that as of the moment, the Packers are 6-1/2 point underdogs to the 'Boys. Two 10-1 teams and there is this kind of spread? Wow. As Donald Driver and some of the other Packers players noted when told about this, the team hasn't been given any respect all year and this is just another sign of that. You know, that little "no respect" chip on the shoulder seems to have served the team well throughout the season so far. I think it will provide even a bit more incentive tomorrow night.

Wayne Larrivee, the radio voice of the Packers and a seasoned all-around sports play-by-play announcer, was asked during a radio interview this morning what he thought about some of the aspects of the upcoming game. He said he felt that when the Pack goes to its 5 wideout scheme that Dallas will blitz and blitz hard. Larrivee noted that Dallas apparently only has one really good cover defensive back, so they don't want to expose their secondary problems on long downfield passes. That means, he said, that the Packers will have to run a lot of slants and short, quick passes in order to short-circuit the blitzes that will be coming. Seems to make sense. It might also be a good thing if the Packers can get a few rushing yards out of Ryan Grant early on, just to keep the defense guessing and perhaps give Brett time to find a receiver downfield on occasion. There will be opportunities to make plays, Larrivee said. Indeed. Other pundits have pointed out that this will be a high scoring game. Probably so.

As to what the Packers will look like on the field, the offensive unit should have all pieces in place. On the defense, we already know that two pieces of the defensive front rotation will not be available: Johnny Jolly and Colin Cole. KGB is also hurting. Ryan Pickett got nicked up. That puts more pressure on the players who are available. It also gives opportunities for some of the other young players to step up in a huge game. Primary among them will be the Packers first round draft pick, Justin Harrell, who to this point of the season has been nearly invisible, actually inactive for quite a few games. This will be an opportunity to show the team and the fans that his selection was not the mistake that many thought it was. How the coaches will play him in the rotation will be an interesting subplot to the game. The other critical question mark on the defensive side of things is the health of Charles Woodson's toe, which he injured on a punt return last week. He will be a gameday decision, although Larrivee said that Woodson would definitely start. The question, as Larrivee acknowledged, will be how long he is able to go. If he can play even the majority of plays, he and Al Harris can take on Dallas' receivers in ways those players haven't seen this season. If Woodson can't go, Larrivee pointed out that Jarrett Bush -- who Larrivee thinks is a fine young player making progress each week -- will be tested. Tony Romo will go right at him the way that John Kitna did last week after he replaced Woodson. Bush will have to step up his game in a hurry. If you want to read the latest on the injury front, check out this article.

That's enough for now. More later.

Breaking News: New Packers President to be Named

The Green Bay Press Gazette is reporting that the Packers will name current Northwestern University Athletic Director Mark Murphy as the new President and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. Murphy has no prior NFL administrative experience, which was something the current and outgoing President Bob Harlan indicated he felt was essential. So much for that idea. Murphy did play in the NFL for eight years as a safety for the Redskins and has some experience with the NFL Players Association. You can read more on this important story here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Packer - Cowboys week: the local angle

And what did you do on your weekend vacation, Bobby? You know, the one without Packers football? Yes, we had our treat early, true, with that Thanksgiving day victory over the Lions. But still...didn't it seem...empty on Sunday? Of course, the talking heads at ESPN and elsewhere did give some mentions of the Pack over the Lions and the upcoming game against the 'boys in Big D. But still...well, you're a Packer fan...I don't have to explain, do I?

One of the main story lines for this week, at least in Wisconsin, is that of the homegrown QB for Dallas, Tony Romo, from little Burlington in the southeastern part of the state. Nothing to really distinguish Burlington except for its annual Chocolate Fest and perhaps the distinction of being the only "Chocolate City USA" in the country...which comes by way of having a Nestle's plant in the city. Then there's the world famous Burlington Liars Club which, as it so happens, is still taking entries through Dec. 17 in search of the 2007 World Champion Liar (see this article for more on that). Oh, and it also has Fred's, Home of the World's Best Burger. OK, there are a few things which make Burlington a nice little city. But Burlington has probably never gotten as much attention as it has since Tony Romo began his rise to NFL star status. He grew up watching and rooting for Brett Favre. Now, he gets to play him for the first time. Some pundits are even starting to say Romo is the next Favre because of the way he plays. Let's wait about 15 years before we see how that works out, shall we?

But by all accounts, Romo was a good kid from a nice family, who -- according to the Burlington High School Athletic Director in a radio interview -- worked for everything he got. So, as you might imagine, hearts and minds are a bit divided this week in Burlington. The consensus might be that locals hope Tony has a good game individually but that the Packers win the game. I think that would be a good compromise, too.

If you'd like to read a story about Burlington's split personality this week, check out this story.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just in time for the holidays

This is a blatantly commercial plug, fellow Packer fans. Just in time for that most blatantly commercial time of year. You know, the season for buying and exchanging gifts and racking up even more credit card debt than ever before. It's the American way, after all.

It's in that spirit that I have set up a shop. It's a place where you can get official (what other kind would there be?) PackerFansUnited merchandise. You'll find apparel for guys, gals and kids, as well as some cool gift items. Things you can get for yourself, for fellow Packer fans, or even to give to those less fortunate fans of those...other teams...just to annoy them. You know who I mean.

Other items may be added later. But for now, there will be enough to get you started on your holiday shopping. You can either click on the link in the right hand column that says "Visit my store..", or you can click here.

Thanks for reading. And thanks for shopping!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Packers banged up

It's that time of the NFL season when team depth starts to show, well, how deep it is. (Is that a redundancy?) Fortunately for the Packers, they have so far been able to fill every hole that has opened up. Some folks questioned the reasoning in keeping 11 defensive linemen. Not any more. Example: yesterday Colin Cole was not only activated for one of the few games this season but saw a lot of action because of the injury the prior week to Johnny Jolly. Cole wound up fracturing his forearm during the game and he is definitely out for the game against the Cowboys and perhaps longer if surgery is required. Mike Montgomery came in and was involved in several pressures and tackles. This coming week, with both Jolly (out indefinitely) and Cole definitely out, that means first round pick Justin Harrell and Daniel Muir, another rookie, will move up in the D-line scheme.

Others who came out of the game nicked up include: Charles Woodson, who apparently has a jammed toe suffered on his 34-yard punt return; KGB, who hurt his ankle; Aaron Rouse, who was starting in place of the injured Nick Collins, came out with a knee injury; Mark Tauscher's already injured ankle made him give way late in the game for Tony Moll; Donald Driver appeared to have a sore ankle after getting rolled up on while blocking on a rushing play.

Of course, some players have already been out for a while: Bubba Franks and Will Blackmon among them.

So, as we go into this showdown of 10-1 teams next Thursday night -- only the fifth time in the last 60 years that two teams with 10 wins or better have matched up in the regular season -- it might be important to keep an eye on the injury reports for both teams. If you want to keep up to date on the Packers injury status, go here. If you care to keep an eye on the Cowboys injuries, go here.

The Pack needs as many of their topline players available as possible come next Thursday. Given that veteran players like Woodson, Driver, and Tauscher will want to be in that game, count on adrenalin to help carry them onto the field if at all possible. The Pack will need to be firing on all cylinders for the entire 60 minutes of the game. If the starters can't go, the back ups have to be ready. So far this season, they have been. And they'll have to take their game to another level. This game could very well determine home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It will be the Pack's biggest challenge yet. They have the team -- and the coaching -- to get it done. Let's get ready to r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-umble!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pack beats Lions 37 - 26

As expected, the Packers beat the Lions today. The Pack took the lead up by 22 points at one point in the fourth quarter before the Lions made it close again by scoring 14 points in about 3-1/2 minutes. The Pack closed their scoring out by driving down for a 26-yard field goal to make it an 11 point victory. The Lions got one more chance with the ball after that with about 1-1/2 minutes to go.

Items of note: Brett set a new Packers record for pass completions in a row with 20 -- he surpassed the previous record of 18 held jointly by Lynn Dickey and Don Majkowski; Brett has an NFL record 63 three TD pass games; he had his 7th 300+ yard passing game of the season; Ryan Grant surpassed 100 yards rushing on the day with some nice cut back runs, including a couple key runs in the last scoring drive.

All in all, quite a game. A little more nerve-racking at the end then it needed to be, but as Brett said in the post-game on air interview, "We made plays when we needed to." He pointed out that "We have things to clean up" and "At 10-1, we're not a bad team." Indeed, Brett, indeed.

It will be interesting to see as the Pack prepares for next week's showdown in Dallas how some of the injuries they incurred today will come into play. Donald Driver came up gimpy after getting leg whipped and his ankle rolled up on during a 4th quarter running play. Neither Charles Woodson nor KGB returned to the game after halftime. So hopefully all will be healed and ready to roll.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, folks. 10-1. Gobble gobble...and pass the cranberries, please.

Halftime: Packers 17 - Lions 9

This has not been a pretty half for the Packers. The defense let the Lions march down on their first drive for a field goal. A fumble on the Pack's first offensive play occurred when Brett was stepped on coming out from behind center and the exchange between he and Ryan Grant got messed up at about their own 25. Luckily, the defense held and the Lions had to settle for another 3.

When Aaron Rouse picked off a John Kitna pass and took it down to about the 10, the Pack converted a TD immediately on a quick slant pass to Greg Jennings. Packers 7 - Lions 6. The Pack then held the Lions and commenced an 80-yard drive, consisting of some great catches by Donald Driver and a 5-yard TD run by Ryan Grant. Packers 14 - Lions 6.

After a touchdown-saving tackle by Tramon Williams on the kickoff return, the Lions had to once again settle for another field goal as the Packers D continues to bend but not break. Packers 14 - Lions 9.

With a little more than 2 minutes left in the half, the Packers began a 78-yard drive which took the ball down to about the Lions 2-yard line. They had to use their third and final timeout of the drive to stop the clock with about 4 seconds to go. Mason Crosby came on to make a a 20-yard field goal to put the pack up by 8 at halftime, 17-9.

Some interesting stats: Detroit has run 45 plays to the Packers' 25; Detroit has 113 yards rushing, the Pack 7. The time of possession heavily favors Detroit.

On an injury note, CB Charles Woodson left the game in the first half after injuring a toe on a return; KGB left the game late in the half after apparently getting an ankle injury while making a sack on Kitna; report is KGB is done for the day.

Favre set to carve

Gobble gobble, Packer fans. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. May your plate be full and your pants be expando-matic today. This is the day we give thanks for all the good things in our lives. And certainly, one of the things we are most thankful for this year is our 9-1 Packers. And what better way to rejoice in all that is America's real team than to start our holiday celebrations by watching the Packers beat the Lions?

It's a slightly early start time today, 11:30 a.m. Central time. And, of course, the Pack is coming off just a few days rest following its victory over Carolina on Sunday. But nothing should prevent the Pack from taking care of business in Detroit. Of course, they will have to stay focused and not start thinking too soon about those big turkey dinners waiting for them when they get back to Green Bay later this evening. Or looking past the Lions to the game against the Cowboys next Thursday evening.

Detroit was hot, now they've lost two in a row. They need to win to keep within striking distance of the Pack, although that's a long shot. As is the playoffs for them if they don't win today. As one of the Packers players said in a radio interview earlier this week, this will be Detroit's Super Bowl. So the Lions will be jacked up and may keep it close for a while.

Perhaps this year more than in recent memory, the Lions actually think they have a good team. But the passing game is about all they have. They've rushed for minus-18 and 25 yards in the last two games. And QB John Kitna has to rely on his not-so-great O-line to protect him while the receivers try to get down field. As a result, Kitna's been sacked a lot...a lot. Now, put that up against the Pack's D-line who have been known to get an effective pass rush going and it could be a long day for Mr. Kitna. Cue Aaron Kampman and KGB. The Pack will be missing DT Johnny Jolly, but Colin Cole and the other guys in the rotation will fill in admirably. Now, don't get me wrong, Kitna will make some throws and, if the Packers D-backs aren't on their usual game, could burn the Pack a time or two. This must be what the oddsmakers are factoring in to their 3-1/2 spread in favor of the Pack.

But those same oddsmakers must be forgetting the porous secondary the Lions will be putting on the field to go against the Pack's group of outstanding receivers. How many 4 and 5 receiver sets do you think we'll see today? Word to the Lions secondary: be very afraid.

The Pack have the running game going enough to keep the defense guessing, despite starter Ryan Grant having a bit of a gimpy ankle coming out of last week's game. Brandon Jackson and Vernand Morency might see a bit more action than in prior weeks, but the group should still be able to keep things rolling. And as for ol #4? Count on a big game today.

Take the Pack to reveal the Lions for the turkeys they really are. And pass the gravy, please.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Packers Fan Hall of Fame voting underway

If you weren't aware of it, the Packers not only have their own Hall of Fame for their outstanding players but also have a Fan Hall of Fame for those fans who are exceptional in their love and support for the Pack. (I know, I know, who isn't, right?) They've had this up and rolling since 1998. Nominations are submitted and then a group of finalists is selected that the public can vote upon. Only one person is selected for the honor each year.

All candidates certainly are worthy of consideration. However, I'd like to put in a special plug for one of the finalists, Bill Riley. You can read about him here. Bill was born in Milwaukee in 1949 but has lived in California since the age of 3.

Now, all true Packer fans can stake claim to certain occasions when their devotion leads them to do some amazing things to see a game. But the mark of someone who deserves recognition in the Fan Hall of Fame is a lifetime of such actions. Extraordinary actions. In Bill's case, that notion is especially true. As you'll discover in his bio, Bill is reliant on a wheelchair to get around. Check this out (from his bio): "One of the many challenges Bill has overcome is traveling alone to see the Packers play. Despite his walking disability, Bill managed to fly alone to Green Bay to see the Packers in 1996, took a bus to Green Bay in 2004 (3 days each way), and traveled by train to San Francisco to see the Packers against the 49ers last December. His latest trip was flying to Green Bay to watch the Packers play against the Redskins in October 2007. His dream was to see Brett Favre play before he retired. These stories are just a few reasons why Bill Riley should be the 2007 Packer Fan of the Year."

Read his story and then please vote for Bill. You have until Friday, Dec. 7 to do so. The winner will be announced by Friday, Dec. 14.

Good luck, Bill! Here's hoping to see you in the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So the NFL is investigating whether or not certain Packers players violated league rules by offering to pay teammates for some type of in-game performance. Last week, ESPN reported that a couple Packers defensive backs offered to pay the D-lineman $500 each if they held ViQueens running back Adrian Peterson to less than 100 yards. Peterson only had 45 yards rushing in that game, and departed for good in the second half after sustaining a knee injury after being tackled by cornerback Al Harris.

Question: do we expect players to know that they can't, on their own, give a little inside incentive to fellow teammates? Seems pretty natural. We've heard stories of running backs and QBs taking offensive lineman out after they've had great performances. Or players buying other players watches or some other bling as a reward or thank you. What's so different here? All this nervousness dates back to the "Bounty Bowl" Thanksgiving Day game in 1989 between the Cowboys and Eagles. Afterward, Dallas coach Jimmy "isn't my hair perfect" Johnson accused Eagles coach Buddy Ryan of putting bounties on QB Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas.

In an episode of today's ESPN Sports Center, one of the former football-player-turned-commentator (can't remember which one, they all blend together after a while, don't they?) was asked about this, after being shown a quote from Detroit QB John Kitna saying that if this type of thing isn't allowed it should be. The ESPN talking head said that this type of thing happens all the time across the league. It has happened for years and will continue to. It has nothing to do with hurting someone -- that was Kitna's point -- it's about incentives for performance.

In other words, it seems there is a bit of an over-reaction on the part of the league about this. Why they decided to do this with the Packers when they apparently could have done it with any team in the league? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

If you want to read more about this, check out this article.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Final: Packers 31 - Panthers 17

The final quarter saw the Panthers mount a drive with about 5 minutes to go. Al Harris took a snooze and let his man get wide open. This resulted, with run after catch, in nearly a 50 yard gain for the Panthers. This was soon followed by a screen pass during which the Packers missed several tackles, allowing the Panthers to take the ball down to the 5-yard line. Vinny threw a TD pass to make it 28-17. The Panthers attempted an onside kick, which was recovered by Donald Driver at the Panthers 37. The Pack failed to convert and tried their third field goal attempt of the day, a 47-yarder by Mason Crosby. Unlike the prior 2 attempts, this one was good. Pack 31 - Panthers 17. Vinny kept tossing the ball. Inexplicably, the Packers were rarely able to get any pressure on this standing stone in the backfield. Vinny can still throw completions when given the time. In fact, he even ran for 16 yards with just over a minute to go. How does that happen? Carolina gave it their last shot on 4th and 5 with about 55 seconds to go. The pass was broken up by A. J. Hawk. Game over. Packers 31 - Panthers 17.

This game was nowhere near as dominant as the game against the ViQueens. The field goal squad could obviously use some work. Those two missed attempts could be the difference in a close game. They have to get that worked out. The D-line didn't look like they really turned it loose on more than a few occasions, but perhaps they didn't need to.

This was the first of three games for the Pack in the next 12 days, with two of those games -- the next two -- on the road. This is a tough stretch. With the Lions losing today, the Pack is up by 3 games in the division. Assuming they don't become the turkey on Thanksgiving in Detroit, this sets up a major showdown in Dallas on Nov. 29. That game could well determine home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And bringing any team to Lambeau in January is something we can all get our chattering teeth into.

The Packers are 9-1. 13 out of their last 14. Sweet.

3rd quarter: Packers 28 - Panthers 10

The second half opened with the Packers receiving the kick off. Koren Robinson took the kick and had a 67-yard return down to the Carolina 28. A few plays later and the Packers were once again in the end zone courtesy of a 12-yard TD pass from Brett to Donald Lee. Packers 28 - Panthers 3. Following the kick to Carolina, Testaverde threw an interception on the first play to Charles Woodson at Carolina's 36-yard line. But for the second time today following a turnover, the Packers failed to convert and had to settle for a 49-yard field goal attempt. Which, also for the second time today, was no good. The first was blocked, this one was wide right. Carolina took over and orchestrated a 60+-yard drive culminating in a 2-yard TD pass for Carolina. Packers 28 - Panthers 10.

Halftime: Packers 21 - Panthers 3

The second quarter saw the Pack offense finally get into gear. There was a 49-yard pass to Donald Driver, who laid out to make the catch. This was followed a few plays later with a 5-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings. Packers 14 - Panthers 3. Ryan Grant had a few good runs in the quarter, including a 23-yard scamper. With just under 2 minutes left in the half, Brett hit Donald Lee with a 26-yard TD pass to go up 21-3. The end of the half ended with a horrible pass interference call on Jarrett Bush to take the ball down to about the 10 yard line. Following this play, Testaverde dropped back to pass and Corey Williams collared him causing a fumble with the Packers recovering. One knee later, halftime. Packers 21 - Panthers 3.

1st quarter: Packers 7 - Panthers 3

Weird quarter. Rookie DB Aaron Rouse intercepted Vinny Testaverde on Carolina's first series at about the Panthers 35-yard line. The Pack couldn't muster a first down of their own, and went for a 49-yard field goal, which was blocked by Julius Peppers. The Pack then held Carolina again, forcing them into a field goal which became a pooch punt instead. Tramon Williams returned it 94 yards for a touchdown. On its next series, ol' Vinny completed a 40+-yard pass to move the Panthers within field goal range, which they converted. Packers 7 - Panthers 3.

The Packers offense hasn't really been on the field long enough in the quarter to even get in sync. Which they are not. And, as was a concern, Panthers DE Julius Peppers has apparently awakened from his season-long slumber. He not only blocked the Pack's initial field goal attempt, he also already has a sack on Brett.

The Pack needs to have the offense wake up. It's game time, boys! And the Packers defense hasn't come close yet to sacking Vinny. C'mon, guys! He's a stationary object back there! Get him!!!

Pack vs Panthers mini-preview

The spread for this game has come down from 10 to 9-1/2. Big whoop. Granted, the Panthers have the potential for an upset, especially if the Packers are thinking about the Turkey Day game in Detroit or the game against the 'Boys in Big D a week later instead of taking care of today's business. But that's not likely. Yes, Julius Peppers may decide to reprise his years as a dominant pass rusher and give a gimpy Mark Tauscher (or his backup if he can't go) some problems. And Steve Smith, if he can go for the Panthers, might catch a few balls from Old Man Time -- that would be Vinny Testaverde -- himself. But unless the Packers turn the ball over countless times and regress to a point we haven't seen since Da Bearz game, this is another game in the "W" column for the Pack.

What more is there to say?

Oh, yeah...Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pack favored by 10

Going into Sunday's game at Lambeau versus Carolina, the Packers are currently favored by 10 points. That's a LOT of points. On the other hand, we thought 6 points was a big spread against the ViQueens. So much for that idea.

Another statistical tidbit: with Vinny Testaverde named the starter for Sunday's game, this game will see the oldest combination of starting quarterbacks ever in an NFL game. Vinny is 44 and Brett is 38. Who held the previous record? Vinny (a-duh) as a spry 43-year-old about a month ago and that young whipper snapper, 36-year-old Kurt Warner for Arizona. Birthdays have recently edged both Vinny and Brett into this heretofore unseen stratosphere of...I'm sorry...the hyperbole started to run rampant there for second.

Anyway, you'll be watching history. Of course, as Packer fans, we do that every week that Brett Favre plays, don't we?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What motivates the Packers?

Just a quick heads up on a really good article giving insights into what motivates some of the individual players on the Green Bay Packers. Hard luck stories, the drive to excel, feeling the need to prove the naysayers wrong...lots of things drive this current group of players. Whatever they are, they are obviously driving individuals -- young and inexperienced players as well as seasoned veterans -- to excel at high levels this season. You can read the article here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Packers keep flying high

As if their 8-1 record isn't enough -- actually, it is the most important thing, isn't it? -- the Packers now have the NFL's #1 passing offense. Not surprising, since for most of this season that was the offense. You throw a lot and complete a high percentage of passes, including some long TDs and -- BAM! -- you cop the #1 spot from the Patriots.

Now, consider that if the Pack can continue to have a respectable run game along the lines that has emerged over the last three weeks what that can do to continue to open up the passing game. Isn't it amazing to see these five-receiver sets that they are starting to integrate into the offense? It becomes a defense's nightmare. Look who you'd have to try to cover: Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin, Koren Robinson. Actually, the Packers could throw Donald Lee in the mix and now you have six quality receivers to try to cover. With Brett Favre throwing the ball nonetheless. C'mon. Start waving the white flag.

Oh sure, the Pack is dead last in rushing still. But if Ryan Grant can keep pluggin' away for 100 yard or so each game, so what? That's enough to keep the opposing defense worried about stopping the run, which just gives ol' #4 and his merry band of receivers even more opportunities to make plays down field.

Of course, one area where the offense still is having some difficulty is finishing with a TD once it gets into the red zone. Too many time this year the Packers have driven inside the opponent's 20 only to have to settle for a field goal attempt rather than come away with a touchdown. Given the level of play of the Pack's defense, and the ability of the offense to eat up the play clock, this perhaps isn't as big a problem as for some other teams. But it is one of those areas you'd like to see them clean up. And no doubt they will. Seems as if most of the problem areas for the Pack have been getting addressed as the season goes on. They are getting better each week. That's the sign of a champion in the making.

Keep winning, get home field advantage for the playoffs and maybe we can have a rematch of that Packers vs. Pats Super Bowl...and even better, come away with the same result. It's still too soon to talk about bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay...but our dreams have just a bit more of a dash of reality about them than in recent years. And to that, we can give our thanks to this tremendous passing offense which has developed over the season and to the running game which is starting to come around at just the right time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Packers smash the ViQueens 34-0

On the 'Queens first possession of the fourth quarter, they mounted their second drive of the game, down to inside the Packers 10. A pass to the end zone by Brooks Bollinger was tipped by the receiver and intercepted by Charles Woodson, who took it back out to the 4-yard line. Shutout preserved so far.

To give you a real good idea how bad things were for the 'Queens, on this Packers drive with just under 6 minutes to go, Brett threw a 30-something yard pass to Ruvell Martin in the end zone (after an earlier long completion to James Jones down the sidelines). The pass was underthrown and thrown late. Defensive back Cedric Griffin went up for the interception and had it his hands before fellow defender Darren "used to be" Sharper came flying across and slammed into him, causing the ball to pop up and right into the hands of Packers receiver Ruvell Martin. Score: Pack 34 - 'Queens 0. When it's going your way...

Brett passed for more than 300 yards for the sixth time this season, and got his 100th career home field win. Only John Elway has more wins at home, with 104.

One injury note -- although to what extent is unknown at this time -- is that right tackle Mark Tauscher got hurt near the end of the third quarter. He was seen walking to the locker room with a bit of a gimpy leg/ankle with about 3-1/2 minutes to go in the game. During the quarter, the Packers shifted Jason Spitz to Tauscher's position and rookie Allen Barbre moved into Spitz' right guard spot. Seemed like things didn't miss much of a beat. In the last Packers series of the game, back up QB Aaron Rodgers made an appearance. The Pack had to punt with about 2 minutes left.

The 'Queens then had a 49-yard gain on a simple screen pass to Chester Taylor, with a few players missing tackles, which took the ball down to the Packers 30-yard line. The Pack then followed that up with their second sack of the day, this one by Johnny Jolly. The Packers got another sack to take the 'Queens to 4th and 7. A short pass to former Packer Robert Ferguson was stopped short of a first down, allowing the Packers to take over and preserve the shut out. This is the first time the 'Queens have been shut out since they were beaten by New Orleans 26-0 in 1991. And, to cap it off, this is the worst defeat of the 'Queens by the Pack -- ever! Gotta like that.

BTW, Adrian Peterson never returned to the game after his injury near the end of the third quarter and was held to just 45 yards on 11 carries.

Important Packers stats: Brett was 33 of 46 for 351 yards, 3 TDs and no INTs; Ryan Grant rushed for 119 yards on 25 carries. Oh, and Coach Mike McCarthy is now 16-9 in his first 25 games as head coach of the Packers -- no other coach in Packers history has won as many as quickly. Of course, when you win 12 of your last 13 games going back to last season...

This was a tremendous effort by the defense, holding the ViQueens to under 100 yards total rushing for the day. And it was nearly perfect execution -- but not quite -- by the Packers offense. The Pack is humming along nicely. Next up is Carolina, followed four days later by a trip to Detroit for Thanksgiving. That's a quick turnaround. But the flip side of that is that the Packers will then have 10 days to get ready for their showdown with the Cowboys in Dallas.

It's great to be a Packers fan! 8-1 is mighty sweet.

3rd quarter: Pack 27 - 'Queens 0

The Packers received the second half kickoff and proceeded to put together an opening TD drive, keyed by a great 32-yard pass reception by Greg Jennings down to the 7 yard line. Jennings went up between two defenders to grab the ball. From the one-yard line, Brett faked a hand off to Grant and threw an easy little fade pass to TE Donald Lee in the end zone. Packers 20 - 'Queens 0. Another item of note: RB Ryan Grant went over 100 yards rushing on this opening drive, which took 5:31 off the clock. The Pack's second drive began at their own 30 and resulted in an eight-yard TD pass from Brett to Ruvell Martin. Near the end of the 3rd quarter, the 'Queens finally mounted a drive, before turning the ball back on downs. During that drive, Adrian Peterson wound up being helped from the game after being tackled by Al Harris. Looked as if it was a right knee problem.

Halftime: Packers 13 - 'Queens 0

The Packers are dominating the ViQueens in terms of both time of possession (19:56 to 10:01) and level of play. Still, as in other games this season, there were missed opportunities which meant the Pack left points on the field, including an end of half drive that got the ball down to the 'Queens 7-yard line before a false start penalty (of course) and a high pass in the end zone off the fingertips of Koren Robinson made the Pack settle for its second field goal of the half.

Adrian Peterson has been held to 9 carries and 45 yards. Not only is the Packers defense doing a great job containing him, but when the Packers offense is able to stay on the field nearly twice as long as the 'Qeens that keeps Peterson on the sidelines. That's the best defense of all.

Brett surpassed 60,000 yards passing on a pass to Donald Driver in the quarter, joining Dan Marino as the only two QBs who have passed for more than 60,000 yards in their career. RB Ryan Grant is approaching 100 yards rushing (92), which would be the first time this season that the 'Queens have allowed a 100-yard rusher.

If the Packers play the second half with the same intensity that they have played the first half, 8-1 is only 30 minutes of football away.

1st quarter: Packers 7 - ViQueens 0

The story of the first quarter was not RB Adrian Peterson for the ViQueens, but RB Ryan Grant for the Packers, who rushed for more than 80 years in the quarter, including a 30-yard TD run. The Packers defense has so far kept Peterson in check. As expected, QB Brooks Bollinger is, well, looking like the backup he is, throwing off the mark on the few passes he's attempted. What's a bit surprising, though, is that Brett has been a bit off the mark on a few of his passes, overthrowing Donald Driver on a sure TD route and misconnecting on a few other passes as well.

Pack vs ViQueens Preview

Today's the day the ViQueens visit Lambeau Field. The Pack won at the Humpty Dump earlier this season, and will win at home again today. They're favored by 6 points. While you like to see the Pack finally getting that kind of respect from the oddsmakers, that's a big point spread, particularly in this rivalry and no matter how good or bad the respective teams are at the time of play.

Basically, the 'Queens have nothing on offense except one of the best young running backs to enter the league since...Reggie Bush? OK, that was just a year ago. But Adrian Peterson is the real deal. And the Packers will have to focus their defensive efforts on stopping him. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Peterson will get some yards. Probably more than 100. But as long as he doesn't set another single-game rushing record for the second week in a row, and doesn't make a habit of visiting the end zone, there should be no excuses for the Packers not coming out of this game 8-1. The 'Queens are down to former UW Badgers QB Brooks Bollinger as starter. While Bollinger was a great college QB, particularly within the UW scheme, he is nothing more than a serviceable backup (sorry, Brooks). Don't look for him to win games.

As for the 'Queens defense, they have an excellent d-line; one of the best in the league in terms of rushing defense. So, let's think about this: the Packers rushing offense still stinks and they go against a great rushing defense. OK, nothing different than the rest of the season from a Packers standpoint. Keep the ball in the hands of ol' #4 and his band of merry receivers and all will be well. Oh sure, former Packer Darren "used to be" Sharper (my apologies to Chris Berman) will be ball-hawking in the secondary. Might even get a pick off his old teammate when he guesses correctly. But he will not be able to keep up with receivers going deep. Just ask Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly.

The Packers defense will have a change at safety, with rookie Aaron Rouse replacing Nick Collins who was injured in last week's game. Rouse is a different type of safety at 6'4". He has speed and size. Perhaps against a more experienced quarterback Rouse could be exposed as the rookie he is. But today, he has an opportunity to make plays particularly if the Packers defensive line continues its fine play, putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. With his size, he can also be an effective player against the run. Aaron Kampman could again have a big day with pressures and sacks, although Bollinger is a mobile QB and may negate some of the sack possibilities as a result. But that's only a factor if the 'Queens forget to hand off early and often to Mr. Peterson.

On the offensive line, the Packers will probably be going without Junius Coston at right guard. He continues to have a sore ankle which has been limiting his play. If he can't go, Jason Spitz will likely start at right guard with Daryn Colledge at left. Coach McCarthy had a meeting with his guards earlier in the week during which he expressed his displeasure with their performance not only in the running game, but also in terms of their protection of Brett Favre. We'll see how well they got that message, particularly against a stout 'Queens d-line.

This could be a classic letdown game for the Pack, coming off two remarkable road wins. But a letdown game doesn't come very often against division rivals. And it definitely shouldn't come against a team the Pack is far superior to. Of course, if they were to get sloppy and commit turnovers, or let Adrian Peterson scamper about, things could take a nasty turn. But the odds are against it. Just like they are against the ViQueens.

Count on the Packers to get it done back in the friendly confines of Lambeau.