Saturday, December 27, 2014

NFL Week 17: Packers vs. Lions Preview and Predictiion

First, Packer fans, apologies for not posting a post-game review of last week's win in Tampa; holiday commitments during this last week left no time...that's my story and I'm sticking to it. But for purpose of closure on that game...the Packers won. Now, let's move on.

This weekend's game sees the Detroit Lions coming to Lambeau Field to battle the Green Bay Packes for the NFC North Division Championship. Sunday is winner take all. Well, sort of. Regardless of the game results, both teams are in the playoffs. It's now just a matter of how good it will get in that regard for the winner of the game and how bad it will get for the loser. It's about winning it to secure a higher seed in the playoffs, including a possible first-round bye and perhaps -- if things fall a certain way -- even home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers made that latter option much more difficult for themselves with that loss in Buffalo. Win there and win out in the regular season...ah, to dream of things as they might have been.

As it is, the Packers will have their hands full against arguably (or not) the best Lions team to visit Lambeau in the last 20-some years. This Lions team has weapons on offense and defense; we won't enumerate them know who they are by now. The Lions have finally proven to themselves that they can come from behind to win. In fact, this season they've overcome second-half deficits five times before winning. They won't come apart if they get down.

On the Packers part, they have special teams issues that are a real concern, untimely penalties and missed tackles that hurt them on occasion. Well, so do most teams. It's football. But the Packers also have Aaron Rodgers, albeit likely a somewhat less mobile version than we have seen recently due to his calf injury from last week. The Pack has a battering ram running back in Eddie Lacey, an offensive line that is opening holes for the running backs and protecting Rodgers in the pocket, an ability that will be much needed against the Lions defensive line and pass rush schemes. The Pack's receivers are among the best in the league. The Packers defense -- so much criticized especially in the early part of the season -- has come around pretty well: it hasn't given up a touchdown in the last two games (remember that the only TD given up in the Buffalo game was on a kickoff return).

The Prediction
We could spend a lot of time here reviewing all sorts of stats to see which team may come out on top. Here's just one: the Pack is currently favored by 7-1/2 points at the time of this writing. The Packers will have to play a nearly flawless game to cover that kind of spread; they haven't played a flawless game in at least a month or more, leading some pundits to suggest that the team has peaked early. I don't think so. I think they just need to assert themselves once again as the best team in the NFC. They have the talent. The question is whether or not they will put it all together at the same time.

I'm not sure I can answer that last question. We'll just have to wait to see how things unfold on Sunday. Many are looking at the first meeting between these two teams to suggest that the Lions defense will control the game at the line of scrimmage versus the Packers offense. A reminder to all who go that route that the line was missing Bryan Bulaga at right tackle and was just a work in progress overall, including a rookie center just starting to figure things out. The line is settled in and performing at high level, barring injury during the game.

Anyway, as for us at, we're calling it 27-24 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

NFL Week 16: Packers vs. Buccaneers Preview and Prediction

After last week's stumble in Buffalo, some Packers fans are a bit leery of another letdown in Tampa today. Let's just make this clear: the 10-4 Green Bay Packers will not lose to the 2-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not. Going. To. Happen. Period.

Yes, we know: on any given day blah blah blah. Today, however, is not that day.

How do we know? For starters, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has never had two bad games back to back. And, yes, the Buffalo game was a bad one for Rodgers, admittedly. But his history is that he follows up a performance like that with a good one. So, we expect a good one.

Secondly, as this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, "Rodgers is 8-2 for his career against Lovie-coached teams, and in his last six against Frazier, he's 5-1 with 18 touchdowns and one interception." The Lovie being referred to is, of course, formers Bears head coach Lovie Smith, now Tampa's head coach; Frazier is Leslie Frazier, formerly the ViQueens head coach and now the Buc's defensive coordinator. They have lots of experience in Chicago and Minnesota against the Pack...losing more often than not regardless of locale. Expect that trend to continue today, despite what will likely be a very good effort from a team that just doesn't have the talent that fills the Packers' roster.

As we know, the Packers have had trouble against some of the better defenses in the league; in fact, three of their four losses have come against Top 5 defenses. Good news, Packers fans! The Buccaneers' defense ranks 25th.

The Josh McCown-led Bucs offense ranks 30th in the league. They have capable running backs and a very good, big, strong rookie receiver in Mike Evans. So the Packers defense will have to show up, as they did big time in Buffalo (recall that it wasn't the defense that was at fault last week, holding the Bills to just 4 field goals).

With Washington's improbable win over the Eagles last evening, with a Packers win today the team will secure a spot in the playoffs, regardless of what the train-wreck Chicago Bears do or don't do in their game against Detroit today. We would expect the battle in Lambeau next week to be for the NFC North title.

But first, the Packers have to take care of business in Florida. They will. The Packers are favored by 12 points.

We're calling it 38-17 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

So long, Fuzzy
We can't let this week go by without remembering Packers Hall of Famer and Glory Years left guard, Fuzzy Thurston. He passed away recently, and a memorial service was held for him at Lambeau Field on Friday. I had the pleasure of meeting Fuzzy a few times briefly. He always had a smile, a handshake, and a sparkle in his eye. His life wasn't always easy. He had both business ups and downs and health problems over the years, including throat cancer which left him with a lasting rasp from surgical procedures. But none of that diminished his great spirit. You''ll see that spirit on full display in this video of Fuzzy singing. Fellow great, Jerry Kramer, is also in the video, posted by his daughter Alicia. Enjoy this great memory of the one and only Fuzzy Thurston. Thanks, Fuzzy. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Packers step in big Buffalo chip

This, Packers fans, was not how things were supposed to go today. All indications were that it would not be an easy game, certainly, given the Buffalo Bills defensive prowess. But all things being equal, the Green Bay Packers were surely the better team. Except on this day.

The Packers were mediocre, beginning with league MVP candidate, QB Aaron Rodgers. As he goes, so goes the Pack. He was off early and often. This was not one of his better games. Not just this season, ever. To be fair, his receivers didn't do him or the team many favors when they did get their hands on the ball. Drops were everywhere, including what could have been a 96-yard TD catch and run by WR Jordy Nelson in the second half, had he but held on to the ball.

Eddie Lacy had a good day. And the defense, for the most part, had a good day despite having a lot of missed tackles. Special teams, however, continued to have its problems, giving up a punt return for a TD and then having a long FG attempt by Mason Crosby blocked. That's essentially 10 points right there, the difference in a 21-13 game.

The Packers remain winless in Buffalo. Head coach Mike McCarthy remains tied with Vince Lombardi for career wins as the Packers' coach. And the Packers dealt themselves a serious blow to the prospects of not just a bye and homefield advantage in the playoffs but of first just winning the NFC North.

The game was ugly. If the Packers had to get a clunker out of their system before the end of the season and the playoffs this would be it. Still, this loss hurt. Depending upon how things actually fall, they could be a 12-4 team that doesn't even get a wild card, imagine that!

So, let's hope the Packers regroup this week and do some real soul-searching before the game in Tampa next week. That now becomes a must-win leading into the season finale at Lambeau against Detroit. Everyone thought that might be for the division championship, but now it might just be to secure a playoff spot. A lot to be determined yet today as Minnesota attempts to upset Detroit in Detroit and the 49ers attempt to do the same at Seattle. If one or both of those teams somehow get a win, it will be to the Packers benefit. As much as we may dislike having to root for the ViQueens or the Niners, today we can do so. Nay, must do so.

NFL Week 15: Packers vs. Bills Preview & Prediction

This week the team from the NFL's smallest city, Green Bay, travels to the NFL's second-smallest city, Buffalo. Yes, folks, in a rare meeting between these two teams and rarer still in Buffalo, arguably the league's highest flying offense matches up against arguably the league's best defense.

Here's how Vic Ketchman, editor, puts it in his game scouting report: "The Bills defense is No. 5 overall, No. 8 against the run and No. 5 against the pass. By comparison, the Packers’ opening night opponent, Seattle, is first, third and first, and Week 3 opponent, Detroit, is second, first and 10th. The Packers lost to those opponents and managed only 23 points combined. Even more impressive is the Bills’ No. 1 ranking in sacks and No. 2 ranking in third-down defense."

Now, the Bills offense has improved a bit since veteran Kyle Orton has taken over at quarterback. (For anyone counting, Orton has actually won one more game against the Packers than Jay Cutler...which still isn't saying much.) If given time, Orton is a reliable quarterback if given time. And he has a great receiver in rookie Sammy Watkins and a good running back in Fred Jackson. If the Packers defense continues its inconsistent performance, as witnessed this last week in the game vs. Atlanta, the game could go Buffalo's way. There needs to be pressure early and often on Orton. Plus, Packers defenders will need to at least be in the same zipcode as the receivers they are supposed to be covering.

This Bills team is good and can beat the Packers if the Packers allow their defense to take command. As Ketchman notes in his scouting report, the Pack hasn't always fared well when put up against great defenses. Now, one if not both of the games he's referencing admittedly were played when the Packers offensive line wasn't configured as it is now. Admittedly, this game will be won in the trenches: the Packers offensive line against the Bills defensive front. If the Packers linemen can keep Aaron Rodgers from being pressured and sacked, and can get some running room for the team's running backs, the Packers will win. And of course, if the Pack can get up big early -- assuming the defense doesn't decide to take the second half off ala vs. the Falcons -- the Pack will emerge 11-3. If, on the other hand, the Bills defenders take control at and through the line, it could be a long day for the Packers. Also figure that the Bills are playing for their playoff lives at 7-6.

Still, we shouldn't minimize the fact that the Packers are also playing for the NFC North Division title, a first-round bye, and home games during the playoffs.

The Prediction
With Packers RB Eddie Lacy probable for today's game after battling a hip injury all week, we should probably expect to see more of RB James Starks. It's a homecoming for Starks, having grown up in the Buffalo area and attended the University of Buffalo. We might expect that he'll want to be at his best today when given his opportunities, just as he did late in the game against the Falcons with the game on the line.

Packers RB James Starks with huge run against the Falcons.
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The weather is not expected to be a factor: cloudy and 38 degrees. The Packers are favored by four points.

If the Packers defense plays up to its potential and does so for a full four quarters, that will negate anything the Bills offense might generate. If the Packers offensive line is able to handle the Bills formidable front, and the Packers don't have turnovers, I'll take Rodgers over Orton any day of the week. All of the Packers three losses this season have been road games. I expect this game, however, to be their fourth road win.

We're calling it 27-20 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Week 14: Packers vs. Falcons Preview and Prediction

As the last game of NFL Week 14, tonight's game between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons should be a good one. At least by one team. Who could that be? Let's just say the name begins with Green Bay and ends in Packers, shall we?

Now, that's not to say the game is a gimme. Atlanta leads the NFC South. Admittedly, that's not saying much given the woeful state of that division. The Dirty Birds are only 5-7 and stand a chance of making the playoffs as a division winner with less than a .500 record. Oy.

So what does Atlanta bring to Lambeau Field this evening? A quarterback who's hot and cold, a great receiver in Julio Jones, a defense that has big pluggers up front and an overall takeaway count of 24 (third best in the league), an offensive line that will have Clay Matthews' young cousin at left tackle, and an old tormenter in the form of Devin Hester.

Other than As long as the Packers do what they do...and need to do.

If the Packers can get off to their usual quick start and, unlike last week's game against New England convert their red zone possessions into TDs instead of FGs, the game shouldn't be close. The Pack is favored by 13 points with an over-under total of 56 points. You can imagine how that total is skewed in the Packers' favor.

The weather for the game is at present forecast as 33 degrees and cloudy (but at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 will anyone really notice clouds?). Whether there is any snowfall, we'll have to wait to see.

So what's our call? We just think the Packers are on too much of a roll both offensively and defensively right now. It's almost to the point where we hope they aren't peaking too soon.

We're calling it 38-20 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

By the way, according to TipIQ as of a few days ago:
  • "At an average asking price of $112.67 per ticket, this Monday's game vs Atlanta is the Packers' cheapest regular game since began tracking the ticket market in late 2009.
  • This is by far the cheapest game of the season, with the next being November 16th vs Philly averaging $206.51. This is also 49.92% below the Packers season average of $224.97.
  • The cheapest ticket available is currently Section 212 Row 24 at $50 each. The most expensive ticket listed is Club Center Section 419 Row 11 at $614 each."

Brett Favre in his playing days.
Photo File/Gannett Wisconsin Media

Favre returns to Lambeau tonight...maybe
At the time of this writing, several media sources are reporting that former Packers (and Atlanta, lest we forget) quarterback Brett Favre is on his way to Green Bay. Whether or not he will actually attend the game this evening is another matter. This will not, as far as seems to be the case, be his number retirement ceremony. But there will sure to be a lot of media coverage of Favre back in GB either way. It will definitely be a little extra incentive to watch this game. Although, if you're a real Packers fan, you'll be watching anyway.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Packers Beat Patriots in Epic Style

Early last evening, the Green Bay Packers held on for a hard-won victory over the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field. With no timeouts left, QB Aaron Rodgers was able to kneel down three times and run out the clock to seal the 26-21 win. In truth, the game was not as tight, for the most part, as the score would indicate.

The Packers racked up a dominant offensive performance, accounting for 478 total yards, the most given up by the Patriots this season, holding a more than 13-minute time of possession advantage over the Pats, and running 70 plays to New England's 50-something. Rodgers threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns. But the Packers also left lots of points on the field, having to settle for field goals rather than touchdowns on early redzone possessions, otherwise they could have put a large point spread between themselves and New England. As many have pointed out, had the Packers gone on to lose this game, that would have been the storyline: how many points the Pack didn't get that they should have.

But on this day, the Packers played in near-championship style against an equally great opponent and coaching staff. They ran Eddie Lacy early and often to force the Pats to bring up a safety nearer the line. While Jordy Nelson was only able to snag two passes on the day because of the tight coverage, one of those two went for a 45-yard touchdown catch and run with 14 seconds left in the first half. It was huge. Rookie wide receiver Davante Adams also had a good day, although he had what could have been a game-changing drop late in the game. It was a pass at the goal line where he was open and failed to make the catch. It was another one of those lost opportunities for points. As was a rare missed field goal by K Mason Crosby.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets sacked late in the 4th quarter by Packers Mike Neal and Mike Daniels
Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

But let's not focus on the negative here, especially with such a great win. Instead let's give some praise to the Packers defense which stymied QB Tom Brady most of the day. While the Pack only got one sack on the veteran quarterback (which came at a very good time and led to a missed field goal late in the game), the defense had enough pressure on Brady often enough to alter his throws. At times, Brady looked very off. In this battle of number 12's from California, Rodgers was the clear winner.

Give head coach Mike McCarthy kudos for mixing up the game plan, the formations and the personnel. One of the biggest changes was the use of LB Sam Barrington in the middle on the nickel scheme in place of A. J. Hawk. Given this was the scheme for a good chunk of the game, second-year player Barrington received most of the playing time over nine-year veteran Hawk. It's been obvious to many -- including yours truly -- that Hawk's mobility isn't what it used to be...and it used to be slow to begin with. He got exposed badly in Minnesota last weekend and obviously coach McCarthy made the calculation he couldn't have that type of exposure against the Patriots. Barrington performed very well. We may be starting to see the changing of the guard at middle linebacker. See this article for more on Barrington and Hawk.

So, Packer fans, our team sits at 9-3 atop the NFC North and tied for wins in the NFC with Arizona and Philadelphia. Next up is Atlanta which leads the woeful NFC South with a 5-7 record.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weel 13: Packers vs. Patriots Preview and Prediction

It is the game of the weekend, Packer fans. The 9-2 New England Patirots vs. the 8-3 Green Bay Packers at historic Lambeau Field, with arguably the two best quarterbacks in the game right now and the two best teams going head to head. Over the past two decades, the series is as even as it gets: 5-5. Of course, there was that Packers' 35-21 win over the Pats in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans (remember that?).

But that was then. This is now.

Today, we'll see two powerful offenses matched against defenses that will try to keep up and make a stop when it most matters. It could well be one of those games where whichever team has the ball last wins. The oddsmakers are basically seeing the game as a toss-up, giving the Packers the 3-point edge that comes with home field advantage. They're expecting a shoot-out, too, with the over-under set as the weekend's largest point total: 58-1/2.

The Patriots

The Patriots, aside from curmudgeonly head coach Bill Belichick, begin and end with QB Tom Brady. What more do you need to say? If the Pat's win today -- and many suspect they will -- it will be because of Brady. At age 37, and after a slow start to the season, Brady and company are on track. The weapons for Brady are many, going beyond TE Rob Gronkowski, who gets most of the press. Other receivers who can and do cause problems for opposing defenders are Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, as well as TE Tim Wright. Lots of receiving targets to cover. To keep a balance to the game, the Pat's have RB LeGarrette Blount who had the best run of career at Lambeau in 2011 as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Blount isn't the starter, though. That distinction goes to Shane Vereen, who is currently listed as questionable for today's game on the injury report. Jonas Gray should also should play extensively. Those are a lot of different running styles to adjust to, especially behind a pretty good offensive line.

On the Pat's defense, they have a very good defensive line, anchored by NT Vince Wilfork and DT Alan Branch. It will be tough sledding for Packers RB Eddie Lacy trying to get yardage up the middle today. In the secondary, the Pats also present challenges in cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browne. Packers receivers had problems getting separation last week against the ViQueens. Against a better secondary this week, at home, the Pack's receivers need to have a better showing in order to stay in this game.

The Prediction
Assuming for a moment that the offenses are similar and of equal scoring ability, who has the edge? It obviously goes to defenses and special teams. Let's set aside the special teams play, although the edge on field goals in this game -- if that's what it comes down to -- should go the Packers way. It comes down to defense. Run-stopping ability may also be a push. While the Patriots have two very good corners, the Packers entire secondary is very good. So it comes to pass rush. The edge there should go to the Pack, particularly with the mobility and come-from-anywhere mode of LB Clay Matthews and the rejuvenated Julius Peppers.

One of the Pack's keys in the past several weeks has been getting out to a big lead early. If that were even the case today, against Brady that's no guarantee of Aaron Rodgers getting the second half of the game off as in those earlier blowout wins.

Much of the buzz about today's game is that this is a preview of the next Super Bowl. That might be a bit premature, but certainly not out of the question. And because this is an interconference game, it's not a do-or-die, late-season situation for either team. Still, we think the Packers need this game more.

We think the oddsmakers have the point spread on this game right. It will be a nail-biter...perhaps down to the last play of the game.

We're calling it 34-31 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Packers sneak by Vikings, get ready for Lambeau showdown with Patriots

Last Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings probably didn't play out as many Packer fans would have hoped, other than getting the win, of course. Coupled with Detroit getting spanked by New England, the Pack is once again all alone atop the NFC North. Order in the universe is once again restored.

But back to the game against the ViQueens...

The Pack seemed sluggish on offense, ditto on defense, and the perpetrator of a few ill-timed penalties (which begs the question: are there any well-timed penalties? Actually, yes, as it turns out, but that's a conversation for another day). As 8 to 9-point favorites, the Packers escaped Minnesota with a 3-point victory, 24-21. Despite the relative disparity in overall talent level, the game turned out to be -- to the 'Queens' credit -- one of the old smash-mouth divisional varieties. It was a game that was hard-fought on both sides of the ball and, unlike the prior two weeks where QB Aaron Rodgers has sat out most of the second half, the game wasn't secured until RB Eddie Lacy ground down the clock in the closing minutes.

Packers RB Eddie Lacy converts a 10-yard shovel pass into a TD against Minnesota
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lacy rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries during the game and had a few key pass receptions, as well, including a nice little 10-yard shovel pass from Rodgers that he turned into another touchdown. On a day when Packers receivers had a difficult time getting separation from the defenders because of coverage schemes, a big day from Lacy was needed. He delivered. Even as he was, we found out later, battling gastrointestinal problems.

Rookie TE Richard Rodgers accounted for the third of the Packers' touchdowns on the day, garnering his first NFL TD reception. He was the recipient of what is officially a 1-yard TD pass, but one that in reality travelled about 34 yards in the air. QB Rodgers scrambled nearly to the far right sideline before throwing back across his body all the way to nearly the back corner of the left side endzone to a wide-open TE Rodgers. The latter Rodgers also is credited on the day with making some key blocks in the running and passing game. He's coming on and, eventually, may be the replacement for Jermichael Finley the team has been hoping for. But we also have to give kudos to TE Andrew Quarless who also had a good day on the receiving front sans a touchdown.

Defensively, the Packers had 'Queens' rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater a bit rattled in the first half; he was very much off on his throws. He did start to put together some momentum in the second half, however, as his line generally gave him good protection. Whereas Packers receivers seemed to be well-covered most of the game, Minnesota receivers often seemed to be wide open, particularly on crossing routes over the middle. LB A.J. Hawk, as this writer noted during the game on Twitter (@packfansunited), seemed as if he was often running in quicksand; he looked very slow...slower than usual.

Still, ultimately, the defense did what it needed to and handed the ball back to the offense to secure the win. The Packers are now 8-3.


Next up: the Patriots come to town
We'll have much more to say in our pre-game preview before this Sunday's game. It is the game of the weekend, Packer fans. The 9-2 Pats vs. the 8-3 Pack, with arguably the two best quarterbacks in the game right now and the two best teams going head to head (but don't just take my word for it: even Michael Wilbon proffered as much on yesterday's edition of ESPN's PTI). Over the past two decades, the series is as even as it gets: 5-5. Of course, there was that Packers' 35-21 win over the Pats in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans (remember that?).

We'll see two powerful offenses matched against defenses that will try to keep up and make a stop when it most matters. It could well be one of those games where whichever team has the ball last wins. The oddsmakers are basically seeing the game as a toss-up right now, giving the Packers the 3-point edge that comes with home field advantage. They're expecting a shoot-out, too, with the over-under currently set as the weekend's largest point total: 58-1/2. Yowza.

Anyway, more to come on this upcoming game, Packer fans. So please check back. In the meantime, you can keep up on nearly real-time updates about the Packers by checking out our Amazing 2nd Page.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 12: Packers vs. Vikings Preview and Prediction

It's about 90 minutes until kickoff between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Gone are the days of playing in the Humpty Dump and its piped-in crowd noise, replaced this season with the outdoor home field of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

But regardless of the venue these days, the Vikings are still the ViQueens. A team with a rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who will be good -- perhaps very good -- given a few more years in the NFL. But for now, he's still a rookie and one without many offensive weapons. RB Adrian Peterson is still on indefinite suspension by the league and depth for his replacement is an issue for Minnesota, although rookie third-round draft pick Jerick McKinnon has performed nicely, rushing for 489 yards overall and a 4.9-yards-per-carry average. You have to respect that, and the Packers had better. For receivers, you have to believe Greg Jennings wishes he had stayed in Green Bay. Do you ever hear of him any more? The 'Queens' offensive line is average at best and could be in for a long day if the Packers defensive scheme continues to perform at the same level as the last few weeks.

The 'Queens' defense, at least along the front seven, is probably it's strong suit. RE Everson Griffen may cause Packers LT David Bakhtiari problems. He leads his team in both sacks and quarterback hits. He will have to be accounted for and Bakhtiari will have to be up to the challenge or it could cause problems for Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. WLB Chad Greenway has played every snap and recorded 47 tackles in the last four games since returning from a broken rib that kept him out of the first game against the Pack. He likewise will have to be accounted for and handled. Greenway is a gamer and a good one. At age 31 and after 9 years in the league, he's perhaps not as fast as he once was. But he's still a smart ballplayer and can be a disruptive factor.

The weak spot in the Minnesota defense is the secondary. Some capable, but young, players there. Just the kind that Rodgers and his receiving corps can exploit if Rodgers is given protection.

Randall Cobb grabs a TD pass against Minnesota at Lambeau Field
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The other part of that equation, of course, especially in a game where rain is possible, is a sound running game led by Eddie Lacy. We should expect head coach Mike McCarthy to call plays which not only allow Lacy to run from scrimmage, but to get him on the outside for screens and set up opportunities for yardage after the catch, which we have seen in recent games is something Lacy is getting better and better at.

The 'Queens didn't play well against Chicago last week, particularly on defense. Expect them to come out fired up, especially in the first half where things could be tight. But over the course of the game, barring injuries or turnovers, the Packers' talent should take over at some point. In some recent games, that has happened very early and other teams have then be forced to try to play catch up. Ideally, that same scenario would apply today. We should get an indication of a fast start or a first-half dogfight early on. If Minnesota has to play from behind...well, good luck with that, Minnesota.

The Packers are favored by either 8 or 9 points going into this game, depending upon who you are looking at. We think this game should be a wider spread than that if things stay true to form. The over-under is 49.5 points. So scoring is have to assume it's skewed in the Pack's favor.

We're calling this 38-17 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Packers' superlative performances at home continue as Eagles play latest victim

The final score of the Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles game at Lambeau Field yesterday was...a bajillion to who-the-heck cares. When a team dominates another -- especially a division leader (7-2 coming into the game) -- like the Packers did, well, scores are pretty irrelevant. Just as was the case a week earlier when the Pack disemboweled an even more pathetic Chicago Bears team. (But just in case you are obsessive-compulsive about this stuff, the final scores were 53-20 and 55-14 respectively.)

The biggest challenge for the Packers over the past two weeks could be said to be having sports pundits and bloggers run out of ways to describe an almost super-human performance on both sides of the ball. We're in the rarified atmosphere of record-setting performances for consecutive weeks. And it doesn't seem to matter whether the Packers are playing a good team, as the Eagles supposedly are, or a division bottom-feeder, such as Da Bearz. We Packer fans better savor these times, because they are rare indeed. Don't ever take them for granted, Packer fans. This stuff is not normal. Really. It is extraordinary.

We won't recount all the stats as your eyes would glaze over. One of note, however, is that for the first time in the looooong history of the Packers the team scored 50 or more points in two consecutive games. In fact, in the history of the NFL, this has only been accomplished four other times. Speaking of four, the Packers are 4-0 when they wear the 1929 Championship team uniforms.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in full-on assault mode.
Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As fans are also well aware, QB Aaron Rodgers is playing like a man possessed. He has thrown 29 touchdowns at home without an interception (18 this season), the longest such streak in NFL history. He's actually thrown 322 consecutive passes at home without an interception, blowing well past Tom Brady's old mark of 288 and -- wait for it! -- the longest such streak in NFL history. Again, the numbers just become mind-numbing at some point. In the last seven games, Rodgers' passer rating is 132.3. Incredible. He and the Packers offense, with much credit due and given to his offensive line, have been so prolific in the first half of their home games they are outscoring opponents 128-9 over the last four games. This is a good reason why we haven't seen Rodgers play a fourth quarter in the last two games (he did have one series yesterday in the fourth, but still...).

Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have also been stellar. RB Eddie Lacy is not only a legitimate running threat but has also developed into a trusty receiver this season, actually ranking as the third best on the team in terms of yardage, most of which has come after the catch. Case in point, Lacy's epic screen pass catch-and-run for a touchdown where he would not be stopped.

As good as the offense has been, which we pretty much expected, one of the things we didn't expect was the resurgence of what was a sieve-like defense at the start of the season. They are now dominating other teams, with turnovers a key; the defense has generated 22 takeaways so far this season, including plus-4 in turnover differential yesterday and plus-14 overall (22 takeaways minus 8 giveaways). Also, is it merely coincidence that these last two extraordinary wins have coincided with the move of LB Clay Matthews from the outside to inside where he can freelance a bit more?

If the Packers make a deep run into the playoffs this season, the improved performance of the defense will be key. We know the offense is loaded with talent. They can and will score...big. But 14 points yesterday came directly as a result of a pick-6 and a fumble recovery by the defense. That's huge.

As for special was a mixed bag yesterday for the Packers: a 75-yard punt return by Micah Hyde, but a muffed extra point hold, a blocked extra point, a missed field goal (long, granted), and a blocked punt. So with all the good bits out of yesterday's game, special teams just shows there is still much to work on. If the Packers ever get back into a tight game -- and reality says they will -- they can't afford those errors; the game and the season could turn on such things.

But for now, Packer fans...let us rejoice and be glad. The Packers are tied for first in the NFC North after Arizona defeated Detroit yesterday. The ViQueens are next up, on the road. Then back home for one of the tougher remaining games on the schedule against New England. There's six games to go. A lot can happen. But what's happening now is the stuff of legend. Yes, it is. And the stats prove it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 11: Packers vs. Eagles Preview and Prediction

The high-flying, 7-2 Philadelphia Eagles pay a mid-afternoon visit today to Lambeau Field for their showdown with the 6-3 Green Bay Packers. Along with New England at Indianapolis and Detroit at Arizona (I still can't believe that last one), this is the game of the day. Obviously, the NFL and TV programmers thought so, too, as the game was "flexed" out of its originally-scheduled noon start to the 3:25 CT start. Make no mistake about it, this game is critical for both teams as the playoff hunt enters high gear. Each team wants this game...needs this game.

The Eagles seem to be rejuvenated in the last week or two (if you can even say that about a 7-2 team) under the similarly-rejuvenated quarterback, Mark Sanchez, he of butt-fumble fame. Getting out from under the dysfunction that is the New York Jets and landing on the roster of Eagles' head coach Chip Kelly may be just what the doctor ordered for Sanchez and his career.

But it's not just Sanchez the Packers defense needs to concern itself with. The Eagles have very good receivers in veteran Jeremy Maclin and rookie Jordan Matthews. RB LeSean McCoy is always a threat, but is averaging more than a yard per rush less this season than in his first five years in the league. And he's not happy about that. For a variety of reasons, the Eagles' running game has gone from first in the NFL last year to 20th in yards-per-carry this season. In a win against the woeful Panthers last week, McCoy rushed for just 19 yards on 12 carries. The Packers defense can't assume that will carry over to this week; with most quality running backs, a game like that will make them angry and anxious to prove a point. The Packers defense will need to make sure they keep McCoy under wraps.

We have to believe the Packers defense will build off last weekend's performance against Da Bearz. Moving Clay Matthews around creates havoc for an offensive line, creating opportunities not only for himself but his teammates to make plays. The Packers secondary will take care of business.

Where the Packers can and probably will be exposed is on special teams where they will have to try to figure out a way to keep Darren Sproles from single-handedly changing the course of the game; he's returned two punts for touchdowns this season.

Packers Guard, Josh Sitton
Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On the flip side of things, the Packers offense is rolling. How do you keep that going? Protect QB Aaron Rodgers, have the Pack's great receivers get separation as they usually do, and use Eddie Lacy as both the rushing and receiving threat that he is. The Packers injured guards -- Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang -- are both probable again this week ... read: they will play. The Eagles defensive line is good, and the Pack will need another good performance from its line.

The Prediction
This is a fairly short preview and an even briefer prediction. That's because the Pack can't allow a Mark Shanchez-led Eagles team to beat them on their home field. Weather conditions -- cold, in particular -- will play a role today, although the Packers should be the team better equipped to deal with conditions. Also of note: the Eagles' two losses have been on the road.

The Packers are favored by 5-1/2 to 6 points depending upon what source you are looking at, and the game has the second-highest over-under total points of the weekend at 55.

We're calling it 34-24 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Packers help Bears hit rock bottom

We were both right and wrong in our preview and prediction of Sunday night's game at Lambeau Field between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. We were right in projecting the Packers to win. We were right in suggesting the Bears QB Jay Cutler is a veritable head case when it comes to playing the Packers. We were right in predicting a point total of at least 55 points. We were wrong in not projecting that the Pack alone would score 55 points. We were also wrong in thinking that Da Bearz would care about playing a football game. We were wrong about Da Bearz, giving them far too much credit.

While we certainly rejoiced in this thorough 55-14 beat-down of Chicago, a victory of epic proportions in the long history of the oldest rivalry in the NFL, you almost had to feel a bit sad for how far this once proud Chicago franchise seems to have fallen, especially this season. Almost.

But back to the Packers.

QB Aaron Rodgers tied Daryl Lamonica's NFL-record six first-half touchdowns. Combine great play by Rodgers, his offensive line and his receivers (including RB Eddie Lacy) with a flat-out give-up performance by Chicago's defense, and the rout was on early. Randall Cobb was quoted after the game as saying that the feeling going into the game was that if the Pack could get up early the Bears would essentially lay down. The Packers did their part to make that happen and, as a result, so did Da Bearz.

The Packers defense also seemed to be playing at a higher level than usual. Whether that was the brilliant and successful move -- at least on this night -- of linebacker Clay Matthews from the outside to the inside or the apparently stirring pre-game locker room speech to the team by veteran and former Bear, Julius Peppers, we may never know. Let's also not forget the return of Morgan Burnett to the secondary.

But the question for the moment is: are the Packers really this good or Da Bearz this bad?
Given how bad Chicago was last evening, with no passion in their play or performance and a typical horror show by QB Jay Cutler (now 1-11 against the Pack, and O-4 at Lambeau Field), we really don't know if the Packers have finally put it together on both offense and defense. We'll get a glimpse this coming Sunday afternoon when the Eagles come to Green Bay. Lest we forget, the Eagles played at Lambeau last season and went home with a victory. We'll take a closer look at this upcoming game later this week, so please check back for updates.

Until then, Packer fans, just revel in the win last evening. Take pity on your poor Bear fan friends and family members. They're embarrassed for their team. All we can hope for on our end, despite that, is that the organizational ineptitude which has gripped Da Bearz for the last two decades continues. Let's hope they keep trotting out the gift that keeps on giving: Jay Cutler. As long as he's at the helm -- and after having just given him a boatload of money to be their main man, he will be for a long time -- the Packers will be in great shape.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Week 10: Packers vs. Bears Preview and Prediction

As the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears look to renew the oldest rivalry in the NFL at Lambeau Field this evening -- this will be game number 190 in the series for those keeping track -- questions arise for both teams as they each come off their bye week.

For the Packers, can the team's 32nd-ranked run defense contain Bears RB Matt Forte? Can its linebackers and secondary cover TE Martellus Bennett? Can the Pack's hobbled offensive line -- possibly minus one if not two starting guards -- protect QB Aaron Rodgers and open holes for RB Eddie Lacy? For Da Bearz, can QB Jay Cutler not throw interceptions? Can a so-so secondary cover the Packers' outstanding receivers? For both teams, will weather conditions play a deciding role?

The preview here is a short one, Packer fans. The Pack has won 11 of the last 13 against Da Bearz. That in itself means little. The fact that the Packers are the better team overall, also means little in this historic rivalry.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Within the NFC North, the Packers, at 5-3, are in an unfamiliar position looking up at the Detroit Lions holding first place; they can’t afford to fall behind especially having lost to Detroit in their first meeting of this season. Chicago is looking up at everyone in the division, at 3-5. They also can’t afford to fall further behind. Lose tonight and it’s a long road to even have dreams of a wild card spot. Aaron Rodgers noted in a locker room interview this week that Chicago would be coming in playing as a desperate team and the Packers had better be ready for that.

Both teams want and need this game. But in a series such as this, on what promises to be a cold and blustery night in Green Bay, anything can happen. The best way for the Packers to prevent that is to get up early and big on Chicago, and to eat clock with their own ground game. To this point in the season, the Packers have been averaging about 59 offensive snaps, 10 fewer on average than their opponents. Time of possession has also favored the Pack's opponents to the tune of about 3 more minutes per game. The Pack needs to close the gap on both of those stats and tonight would be a great night to begin to do so.

Rodgers' hamstring will apparently be a non-issue, as long as it doesn't get tweaked by the cold or game action itself. If that rears its ugly head during the game, it could very much change the complexion of things. How long guards Josh Sitton and/or T.J. Lang might be able to go -- if they go at all -- will also have a major impact upon tonight's play and game plan. Let's hope none of these situations apply tonight.

The Packers are favored by 7 points at the time of this writing. The over-under is 55 points. Clearly oddsmakers are thinking lots of offense and not so much defense. We tend to agree.

We're calling it 31-24 in favor of the Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Bye-Bye Bye Week, Hello Bears Week!

The Green Bay Packers went into their mid-season bye week on a down note last week. After reeling off four consecutive wins, the road trip to New Orleans saw the Pack face a rather desperate Saints team on its home turf where they usually come away with a win. And they did.

Still, at 5-3 at the mid-point of the 2014 NFL season, the Packers are right where we thought they’d be (see our season preview and prediction here).

Monday News
Yesterday, the Packers made several moves, only one roster related. The team extended head coach Mike McCarthy’s contract another five years. Effectively, McCarthy, GM Ted Thompson, and QB Aaron Rodgers are pretty much hitched to the same wagon for the next half-decade. We’ll assume most Packer fans are pretty happy with that arrangement. The one main knock on McCarthy, despite a string of consecutive NFC North Championships, playoffs in six of his eight years, and winning one Super Bowl, is that his defenses under defensive coordinator Dom Capers have been inconsistent to put it mildly and downright dreadful to be blunt. How McCarthy will up the ante in the second half of this season and beyond as regards his defenses may well tell the tale of whether he adds another Lombardi Trophy to his list of accomplishments. Offensively, they have things covered. Defensively…not so much.

The other move of the day on Monday was the release of 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod to make room for the return from the Injured Reserve – Designated for Return list of center/offensive lineman, J.C. Tretter. Tretter’s return will add some much needed depth to a sparse Packers offensive line. While slated to be the starter at center this season, an early injury opened the way for rookie Corey Linsley to take over the job. He has performed so well that replacing him with Tretter at this point is not even being considered. Instead, look for the Packers to use Tretter as back-up at either of the two guard positions, and at center, of course, should Linsley suffer an injury.

Derek Sherrod was released by the Packers Monday
Photo by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As for Sherrod, three-and-a-half years into his pro career, with roughly two years spent sidelined due to a horrible leg injury, the Packers finally decided to cut bait. There was, according to reports, no shortage of effort on the part of the young man to get back onto the field and be productive. Everyone raved about his character. But as the season opener clearly showed for the world to see, when Sherrod was placed in the role of having to play tackle and protect Aaron Rodgers, he couldn’t do it physically. It was time to let him go and they finally did. We wish nothing but the best for Mr. Sherrod going forward.

Here come Da Bearz!
With the bye week behind them, the Packers find themselves in second place in the NFC North behind the surprising Detroit Lions. First up on the schedule is the foe from south of the border, the Chicago Bears, who now find themselves in last place in the division at 3-5. Desperation will accompany them to Lambeau Field for the Sunday night contest, as a loss will likely doom any outside chance Da Bearz have of making the playoffs barring a miraculous turnaround. Considering the chaos that has been widely reported in recent weeks surrounding the team, a miracle of that nature seems unlikely. This is somewhat of a do-or-die game for Chicago if they hope to stay within spitting distance of the Packers and Detroit.

The Packers can do their part this weekend by keeping Da Bearz down. With only one win in his career against the Packers, don’t expect Jay Cutler to author one on this occasion. Yes, the odds at some point should turn in his favor. Even a blind squirrel finds a few nuts once in a while, as the saying goes. And, granted, Chicago has many weapons on offense. Running back Matt Forte could chew up what has been a miserable run defense on the part of the Packers. If Chicago has any chance for a win at Green Bay Sunday, they should hand the ball to Forte at least 30 times during the game.

On the other hand, if the Packers can figure out a way to minimize Forte’s impact and put the game in the hands of Cutler, the Packers should come away with interceptions and seal a win, particularly if the Pack can get up early and force Chicago to play from behind, a scenario which is clearly not in their favor despite their acknowledged receiving talent.

As we get closer to game time, be sure to visit us again for updates. The Pack is currently listed as 7-1/2 point favorites, with a high-scoring game expected by the oddsmakers. Keep up to date on all the latest by visiting our Amazing 2nd Page! and by following us on Twitter.

Monday, November 03, 2014

High Draft Picks Failing to Make Impact in Green Bay

The following is a special guest article...

Historically speaking, few teams have had as much consistent success in the NFL draft as the Green Bay Packers. Dating back to before the tenure of current general manager Ted Thompson, the Packers have consistently selected players who have contributed immensely to the prolonged success of the organization.

That is, up until 2011. In 2009 and 2010 particularly, Thompson hit grand slams by selecting Clay Matthews, Bryan Bulaga, B.J. Raji, Morgan Burnett, T.J. Lang, James Starks, and a slew of other players who remain in productive roles with the team to this day. Since then, however, Thompson’s drafting has been far less dependable.

The downturn began in 2011 with the selection of Derek Sherrod at the back end of the first round. Sherrod was supposed to be the heir-apparent to longtime left tackle Chad Clifton, but three and a half seasons and a gruesome broken leg later, Sherrod’s only impact for the Packers has been negative—epitomized by allowing multiple sacks to Seattle in the 2014 season opener.

The next season found the Packers ranking 22nd in total defense—a horrendous drop-off from their top ranking the season previous. Green Bay sought the services of defenders Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy in the first and second rounds, respectively. Perry’s development has yet to come and he has been replaced for now with veteran Julius Peppers. Worthy is no longer on the team, as the Packers cut their losses by trading him to New England for a low-value draft pick.

The Packers again went defensive in 2013, and selected Datone Jones, who, in two and a half seasons, has only 36 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He, like Perry, has failed to solidify a starting role in Dom Capers’ defense despite it being all but handed to him on draft day.

Until the recent signing of Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews had been the only legitimate pass-rushing threat for Green Bay since Cullen Jenkins’ departure after the 2010 season. Defensive linemen like Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji have been increasingly ineffective in situational roles, while the aforementioned high-profile draftees Perry, Worthy, and Jones have simply busted.

The secondary has been in a constant state of upturn. Casey Hayward, Davon House, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings, and Chris Banjo have all tried to make lasting impacts in Green Bay’s secondary to no avail. The loss of Nick Collins in 2011 is still hurting the backfield of the Packers defense.

In 2014, the Packers—for the third season in a row—drafted a defensive player in the first round, in hopes of getting the defense in balance with the explosive offense. This time the pick was Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who, aside from some egregious missed tackles, has played well in tandem with Micah Hyde this season. He is off to a better start than the three first-rounders before him, but only time will tell.

As many of the excellent selections Ted Thompson made in ’09 and ’10 reach contract years, it is imperative that reliable, young talent continues to flow into the depth chart. But the days of Thompson’s near-perfect drafting are quickly and clearly becoming distant memories.

About The Author:
Ron is the lead editor of FantasyFootballOverdose.Com – prime source of NFL news and rumors. You can follow his NFL updates at this Facebook page.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week 8: Packers vs. Saints Preview and Prediction

The 5-2 Green Bay Packers travel to N'awlins Sunday evening to take on the 2-4 Saints. Despite the records, the Saints are currently two-point favorites given that their two wins are at home this season, and generally the Saints do win at home. It's a tough place for opponents. Even for a team as hot as the Packers, who thoroughly demolished the Carolina Panthers last weekend at Lambeau.

We have to remember, though, that the Saints offense can put up a lot of points if given the chance. Oddsmakers apparently expect this to be a shootout in the Dome, establishing the over-under line at 55-1/2 points, the largest point total of this NFL weekend. One other stat of note for Packers fans is that historically the Packers do not do well the game before their bye week, which is the case with this game. Will the team be focused on football or a week away from football? We'll see.

We won't have to worry about the Packers offense, despite the Dome noise and the defense which the Saints will likely bring hard and often to put pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers. The best way to help offset that pressure will be to get the running game going. That means Eddie Lacy is going to have to have one of his better games of the season. And he's geared to do just that if you take him at his word. We don't know about RB James Starks' availability just yet as the injury list hasn't been put out at the time of this writing. With a good showing in last week's game, he had to leave late with an ankle injury. We think it's likely he's going to be listed as probable for the game, but if he can't go DuJuan Harris might be the main backup to Lacy. That would give the Packers a quickness and elusiveness that neither Lacy or Starks brings, particularly on artificial turf. We'll have to wait to see what shakes out.

Packers DB Davon House has been coming on strong since his injury last season.
Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As for the Packers defense, it will likely be missing some key players. Datone Jones is already listed as out, with Morgan Burnett questionable and Sam Shields doubtful. If Burnett can't go, both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Sean Richardson will get plenty of playing time. You hate to lose Burnett, but Packer fans certainly have to have confidence in the play of both Richardson and Clinton-Dix. From an area of weakness last season, the Packers have arguably assembled one of the best defensive backfields in the league at this point in the season. They are deep and talented. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Packers reporter par excellence, Bob McGinn, is actually proposing that the Pack trade one of their cornerbacks before the 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline...although he admits that's not Ted Thompson's M.O.)

The Packers defensive line will need to pressure Saints QB Drew Brees, not an easy thing to do. He's one of the elite quarterbacks in the game. He has plenty of tools in his offensive arsenal. It's unclear whether TE Jimmy Graham will play or how much. But if he does, he's exactly the type of tight end that gives Packers defenders fits: big, strong and with good hands. He's a coverage nightmare for defenders. Let's hope he stays on the bench.

The Prediction
I'm posting this preview and prediction a bit earlier than it may be subject to revision before game time.

But as of this moment, I see it this way: Packers 34 - Saints 30.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 7: Packers vs. Panthers Preview and Prediction

After a nailbiter last weekend in Miami, with the Green Bay Packers pulling out a 27-24 win over the Dolphins in the final seconds of the game to squish the Fish, the Packers today play host to the Carolina Panthers and one of the most dangerous players in the league, Cam Newton.

What do we look for today? Packers QB Aaron Rodgers should have a big day against a porous and aging Panthers secondary. The front seven for Carolina can and likely will present challenges to the Pack, but as fast as Rodgers gets the ball out of his hands, he and the Pack's talented receiving corps should rack up yardage and points.

It would help, of course, if the Packers could once again get their running game going. Eddie Lacy had 14 carries for just 40 yards in the game against the Fins. James Starks provided a much-needed spark late in the game and particularly in the game-winning drive. We may see a similar rotation today unless the offensive line can create enough push for Lacy to get up a head of steam. Starks provides a different running style for the defense to worry about and head coach Mike McCarthy has apparently figured out if Lacy isn't making it happen there's another very good back available who just might do so.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Packers defense has two things to worry about: Cam Newton and Cam the runner, one the passer.

With limited offensive weapons, Carolina has resorted to running a read-option type offense. Newton, at 6'5" and 245 pounds, has a strong arm and strong legs. If he has someone to throw to, he can rack up the passing yards. Today, however, especially given the Packers well-known troubles stopping an option-style offense, I'd expect to see Newton run often. Until the Packers defense shows they can contain a running quarterback -- whether it be Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, or, today, Cam Newton -- they will always be tested early and often.

The Packers defense has swarmed to get key stops when needed this season.
Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Packers defense has come up with big stops when they've needed them this season. They've generated turnovers. And, thankfully, they have depth in the defensive backfield because they will be without Sam Shields and most likely Tramon Williams, as well. Fortunately, Casey Hayward and Davon House are there to step in. With LB Brad Jones returning to the lineup after the injury to Jamari Lattimore last week, the Packers linebackers can and will be challenged to contain Newton. If they can do that, it's the Packers game.

This is a game the Pack should win, especially at home. If they let one player -- Newton -- take over the game, they don't deserve to win. But they will. Green Bay is slotted as 6-1/2 point favorites today. I think the Packers blow this game open...but I think the final score may be closer than the actual game play would indicate.

We're calling it 31-27 in favor of the Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6: Packers vs. Dolphins Preview & Prediction

The Green Bay Packers travel to balmy Miami to take on the Dolphins about an hour from now. The weather forecast is hot and muggy, just the kind of weather that can wear down defensive players in particular if they are on the field too long. Throw in the possibility of thunderstorms and this could be a game where the conditions perhaps more than the talent determines the outcome of the game.

Favored by anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3 points depending upon who you are looking at for your spread, the 3-2 Packers will find themselves challenged by the 2-2 Fins. Perhaps to the surprise of many Packer fans, Miami actually leads the head-to-head series, 10-3.

Coached by former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, the Dolphins run a spread offense with Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback. He's fast and can scramble, which is exactly the type of quarterback that seems to give the Packers defense all sorts of problems (e.g., Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick). If the Packers defense can keep Tannehill in the pocket and force him to pass, however, they have opportunities to generate turnovers; he's not so great with his decision-making or downfield accuracy. The Packers defensive line will be tested with a pretty solid running attack; Lamar Miller is expected to split carries with Knowshon Moreno throughout the game.

But the defensive line is perhaps the best asset the Fins have going for them. If the Packers offensive line doesn't maintain the aggressive attitude they put on display early and often against the ViQueens, it could be another tough rushing day for Eddie Lacy, who will split carries more often today, it is expected, with James Starks.

QB Aaron Rodgers
Photo by Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports

It could also be a day where QB Aaron Rodgers -- who plays in his 100th career regular-season game -- sees pressure like he did earlier this season. But we expect that Rodgers, his linemen, tight ends and wide receivers will present enough challenges to the Fins defense that his 100th career regular-season game will also get the Pack their fourth win of the 2014 NFL season.

The Prediction
Assuming the Packers can weather the weather (see what I did there?), the better quarterback should lead his team to victory. In the match up between Rodgers and Tannehill, "Who ya got?". I'll take Rodgers.

I'm calling this one Packers 27 - Dolphins 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Packers stomp Vikings 42-10 in Thursday night blowout

This was the Green Bay Packers team we've been expecting to see: prolific on offense, both rushing and passing, and dominant on defense. This was the Pack's first real complete game of the 2014 NFL season. It came at the expense of the Minnesota Vikings who were without their All-Pro MVP running back, Adrian Peterson, and their potentially outstanding rookie QB, Teddy Bridgewater.

But on this night, on the hallowed turf of Lambeau Field, it probably wouldn't have mattered much who the ViQueens had available. The Packers had the pedal to the metal from the get-go, jumping out to a large lead seemingly at will. It wasn't perfect; there were still a few more three-and-outs than you might like to see. But the positives were there, especially run blocking that enabled Eddie Lacy to have his first 100-yard-plus rushing game of the season and two touchdowns. Lacy had had 132 total yards, including 105 on the ground in just 13 carries. He and his offensive line were apparently tired of hearing all the fan and media questions about the running game. They provided a solid answer on this night. This early run from Lacy set the tone for the evening...
Eddie Lacy with the big gain!

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw his 200th career touchdown pass, this one to rookie WR Davante Adams. Coincidentally, this was Adams' first career NFL TD reception; he, not Rodgers, got to keep the ball. There was also an earlier 66-yard TD pass on play-action to Jordy Nelson who does nothing but continue to be the league's leading receiver in yardage and receptions.

But perhaps the biggest and nicest surprise of the evening for Packer fans was the dominant play of the defense. Going back to the Chicago game on Sunday, the Packers defense actually played five quarters of shut-out football. In the end, they held Minnesota to just 10 points, all put up basically in garbage time in the fourth quarter. For a defense rated dead last in the league against the rush, it stopped two very good running backs who the prior game had combined for more than 200 yards rushing. The defense also generated three turnovers on the night, ultimately turning them into 14 points. Seven of those points were direct, courtesy of a roughly 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by veteran LB Julius Peppers.

The Packers have now completed half of their division schedule for the season, finishing with a 2-1 record in this stretch, the only blemish being the loss at Detroit. Next up are the Dolphins in Miami a week from Sunday. The schedule until the bye week seems favorable overall in terms of opposing teams' records.

These are the Packers we hope to see week in and week out. If that turns out to be the case, the division championship is once again in sight, as is a deep run into the playoffs and...well, let's not jinx it. :-)

Go Pack Go!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Week 5: Packers vs. Vikings on Thursday Night

A few weeks out since their first and only home game of the 2014 NFL season and just a few days removed from their beat-down of the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers return home tonight to take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Do we know what to expect from this ViQueens team? For that matter, do we know what to expect yet from this Packers team? I think we saw glimpses of what the Packers offense can be when almost all cylinders are firing: great performances from the offensive line in terms of pass protection and great performances from QB Aaron Rodgers and the receiving corps, especially Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. But we still are waiting to see what happens once the Packers can get their running game going. That still seems stuck in low gear.
Packers RB Eddie Lacy is still getting used to running out of the shotgun formation. Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Of course, we also saw a schizophrenic Packers defense, giving up more than 500 yards in total offense to Chicago, including more than 200 rushing yards, generally gained right up the middle. Still, the Packers defense intercepted "Smokin'" Jay Cutler twice and shut down a dangerous Bears offense entirely in the second half.

While the Packers are 7-1-1 against the 'Queens since 2010, their new head coach Mike Zimmer was 2-0 against the Packers when he was defensive coordinator with the Bengals and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has certainly been around the block. He helped engineer three straight wins against the Pack when he was OC with the Cowboys...but that was almost a generation ago: 1991-93.

This is not a cakewalk game for the Pack by any means. The 'Queens have several solid performers on defense and two running backs, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon, who combined for 213 yards rushing on Sunday against the Falcons. Even without Adrian Peterson, the Packers will be challenged to once again figure out a way to stop the run. So far, the results have not been good in that regard.

Rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater had a bit of a breakout performance against the Falcons, throwing for more than 300 yards and leading Minnesota to a win at home against Atlanta. But he sprained an ankle and the expectation is that he will not play tonight. Instead, the Packers will likely face Christian Ponder, who had a good performance in Green Bay last season.

Prediction Time!
The weather conditions at Lambeau Field this evening might be wet. Thunderstorms are in the forecast. Who gets the advantage in those conditions? Theoretically, it goes to the members of the offense who all supposedly know where they are going on each play while the defense has to react. If this is the case tonight, which offense has the upper hand? C'mon. The Packers, of course.

The Packers are anywhere from 8 to 8-1/2-point favorites at the time of this writing.

We're calling this one 38-24 in favor of the Packers.

If conditions are very bad, that score could be held down. But the outcome will not change. The Packers pick up their third win of the season tonight.

Go Pack Go!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Packers Beat Bears, Vikings Up Next

Final score: Green Bay Packers 38, Chicago Bears 17. How sweet it is!

As any good Packer fan knows, even in the team's down years, if there were only two games to win it was the two against Da Bearz. Regardless of record, that's one thing that hasn't changed: beat Chicago. Just. Because. They're. Da. Bearz.

In the first of the two meetings of these teams for this 2014 season, the Packers got the job done in style. While the first half of the game was a bit of a back-and-forth affair, the second half was dominated on both sides of the ball by the Packers.

A key series at the end of the first half seemed to help turn the tide in the Pack's favor. With the ball, timeouts, and seemingly an offense that was moving at will, Da Bearz exhibited horrible time management in the last minute of the half. Moving down the field without much resistance, Chicago amazingly opted not to take any timeouts. On what turned out to be the last play of the half -- which would have put Chicago ahead -- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde were able to stop Chicago's receiver from stretching the ball across the endzone. Replays -- apparently with only one angle that had Hyde in effect obscuring a clear view of the ball's position -- confirmed the officials' call that the receiver had not broken the plane of the endzone. Oh, and time ran out. Dumb. And, yes, thank you, Chicago.

The second half saw the Packers take charge, with the defense -- despite giving up more than 200 yards on the ground -- pitching a shutout. Part of that effort included intercepting QB Jay Cutler twice, one by Clay Matthews on a deflection by Tramon Williams and the second by Sam Shields. Cutler, by the way, is now 1-10 in his starts against the Packers. He is the gift that keeps on giving.

Chicago dominated both the time of possession and the number of plays; they had something akin to 30+ more plays from scrimmage than did the Packers. The Pack's longest scoring drive of the day was still under 4-minutes in length. QB Aaron Rodgers spread the ball around, throwing for four touchdowns on the day and more than 300 yards. In doing so, he also became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the 25,000 yards passing mark (i.e., with the fewest passing attempts).

Causes for concern in the game? Sure. Any time your defense gets shredded on the ground right up the middle, something is wrong. On the flip side, when the offense can't get its top running back uncorked, that also is cause for concern. Still, with Rodgers playing as he did on Sunday, everyone knows that the Packers are in the game. It doesn't take long for the team to score points...a lot of them.

So, Packer fans, we savor the moment as we always do against Chicago, especially. As I noted in my preseason prediction, I expected the Packers to go 2-2 in this first quarter of the season. The team is right where I expected them to be. Quoting Rodgers from the prior week, R-E-L-A-X.

But now it's time to move on.

ViQueens up next
With a quick turnaround, the Packers face the Minnesota ViQueens Thursday night at Lambeau Field. As far as we know, RB Adrian Peterson is still suspended and won't play. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be leading the offense. He led them to a win against Atlanta at home on Sunday, throwing for more than 300 yards. The Packers defense will need to up its game. (I have a feeling that's something we might be saying all season, Packer fans.)

We'll give a more exacting preview and game prediction on Thursday, so be sure to check back here for that then. In the meantime, you can follow all the latest Packer news via our Amazing 2nd Page. Just click that link at the top of this page for darn-near realtime updates from more sources than you can shake a "Packers #1" finger at.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 4 Preview & Prediction: Packers vs. Bears...Time to Get the Pack Back on Track

Less than two hours from now, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears meet south of the border (that would be the Wisconsin-Illinois border, for those who don't know the geography) to renew the most-storied rivalry in the NFL. Da Bearz come in at 2-1 with two road victories under their belt, while the Pack has stumbled to a 1-2 start and leaving many questions in the minds of fans.

Allow me to quote Packers beat writer extraordinaire, Bob McGinn from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The defense has been taken to task by coaches for showing no pride late against Detroit. The O-line has been browbeaten by coaches for not finishing in the run game. Offensive kingpins Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy have taken their shots, too. If ever a Green Bay team should be motivated, this should be the Sunday." (See here for more.)

Rodgers typically does not have two off games back-to-back. He was not sharp in the loss at Detroit. Heck, the entire team was not sharp. Does that automatically mean a rebound today? Nope. Would we think there is, as McGinn points out in the statement above, plenty of incentive today to redeem themselves and get their season back on track? You bet.

Havings said that, of course, as with any Packers-Bears game, this will be a battle. Whether more of the offensive or defensive kind remains to be seen. Bears QB Jay Cutler has been rather un-Cutleresque so far this season; in other words, not bad. He's had eight passing TDs in the first three games. He's got three tall and dangerous receivers. He's got one of the best running backs in the league in Matt Forte. The Packers defense will have their hands full. If they are able to get to Cutler early and often, they will give him happy feet and he will make bad throws leading to interceptions. Let's hope that's the way that side of things plays out for the Pack.

Cutler is just 1-8 against the Packers and that's usually because they've been able to force him into making mistakes. Most of the losses came under the coaching regime of Lovie Smith. Cutler's new head coach supposedly has provided more discipline for him. To an extent, that may be true. But what's also true is that, under pressure, we all revert to our instincts. Cutler's instinct under pressure is to force things. If the Packers' defense doesn't get a pass rush on him today, Cutler could have another good performance. He's certainly got the weapons. But get him under pressure, bad things can happen for Da Bearz and good things can happen for the Packers.

If the Packers offense can somehow get out of its own way and find itself, they can certainly exploit Da Bearz' defense. After all, it's not as if the Pack doesn't have plenty of offensive weapons themselves, right? The offensive line, it goes without saying (although I'm saying it), needs to protect Rodgers and create some holes for Eddie Lacy to run through. Rodgers also needs to spread the ball around a bit. If Chicago's secondary loads up to try to shut down Jordy Nelson, the rest of the receivers need to get separation and eliminate the dropped balls that have plagued them so far this season. It's time for some of these players to step up and play like the pros they are being paid to be.

Oh...and not having a turnover right off the bat to put the team down before the game even gets started. That would be good, too.

This game means more to the Packers than to Da Bearz at this stage of things. We have to believe that this is a game where things finally start to come together. If not this game, when? That's not to say it will be a perfect or maybe even a good game throughout. But it should be enough.

In our preseason prediction, we said the Packers would be 2-2 at the first quarter stretch of the season. If the Packers do in fact win today, that's right where we thought they'd be. Not great, not horrible. But getting things together. This is the game to do that. The current line has the Packers favored from anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 points.

We're calling it 27-24 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Packers lose to Lions...anything more than that?

What's to be said in a day-after post-loss review of the Green Bay Packers loss in Detroit, 19-7? In a game in which the Packers defense came up with three turnovers, in which its offense was going against a defensive secondary that was playing its number four cornerback because of injuries and a starting linebacker lost in-game due to a self-inflicted sack dance injury, the Pack's moribund (look it up!) offense could only muster 7 points.

There was no rhythm, no pace, no congruity, nothing. The defense played well enough to win this game. The Packers offense itself gave up 9 points on a fumble recovery on the second play of the game which was returned for a touchdown and a safety. A defense that doesn't give up more than 10 points in a game deserves to win, especially against an opposing offense with the weapons the Lions have.

So, what are the problems?
Where do you begin? Aaron Rodgers -- apart from the second half of last week's game against the Jets -- just doesn't seem to be his usual outstanding self so far this season. When he's average, the Packers are average and that means they have a real chance of losing games they should win. Like this one. Rodgers says he's comfortable with the hurry-up no-huddle offense, and perhaps he is. But that offensive style only works when plays are executed. When receivers drop passes they should catch, or aren't where they are supposed to be to receive the ball, or runners aren't able to gain significant positive yards, the supposed advantage of the hurry-up no-huddle offense is nullified.

As noted above, part of the offensive woes also relate to the problems with receivers right now: dropping passses, running incorrect routes, not getting separation from coverage. Jordy Nelson can't catch every pass.

Packers WR Randall Cobb can't hold onto this 3rd down pass
from QB Aaron Rodgers.

(Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Mike McCarthy also essentially called out last season's rookie sensation, RB Eddie Lacy, in his press conference yesterday, saying quite clearly he's got to play better.

There's great analysis, as there usually is, from Bob McGinn in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As McGinn notes, despite desires to start fast each season that really hasn't happened except once: "Since McCarthy and Rodgers got rolling in 2009, the Packers have started 2-2, 3-3, 2-3, 1-2 and now 1-2 for the second year in a row in five of the six seasons. The only fast start was in 2011 when the Packers went 15-1." Another more troubling stat that you may be familiar with is that going back over the last 20+ games, the Packers are really only about a .500 club. Now, a good number of those games were without Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Bryan Bulaga, Jermichael Finley and other key players. But still, are we beginning to see a replay of what happened with the Packers and Brett Favre? Where one of the best quarterbacks in the league is not getting the tools around him to win another Super Bowl? Some are beginning to ask that question. In public.

Now, we're only three games into the season so it's not time to jump ship. While I predicted incorrectly -- as most did -- that the Packers would beat the Lions yesterday, my preseason prediction had the Pack going 2-2 in this first quarter of the season. The way it sets up now, the Pack will need to beat Da Bearz in Chicago on Sunday in order to stay at .500. We'd take that, given the performance so far.

So, is yesterday's loss just early-season hiccup? Or is it an early warning indicator of something more? Something that bodes ill not just for this season but beyond? Time will tell, Packer fans. Time will tell. We'll get another take on all this Sunday at Soldier Field. Not exactly where you want to have a bounce-back game, but after poor performances Rodgers usually does just that. We'd feel pretty good after a win against Da Bearz, wouldn't we? You bet.

Check back closer to game day for our preview of Packers vs. Da Bearz.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 3: Packers vs. Lions Preview & Prediction

Today, the Green Bay Packers begin a stretch of games in which they will play half of their division schedule in about 11 days: Detroit Lions today, Chicago Bears next Sunday, and the Minnesota ViQueens the following Thursday evening. Only the last is a home game. It's a tough and critical stretch. (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

At 1-1, and with the first of these three divisional games on the schedule today, the Packers need to return home with a victory in Detroit. Despite the Lions being 2 to 2-1/2-point favorites -- home field advantage factor -- the Packers should win this game. Not that it probably won't be a shoot out (don't you hate double negatives in a sentence?). There are two good quarterbacks -- one better than the other, certainly -- who can put up points quickly and often if allowed to do so. One is also more prone to making bonehead throws. We'll let you figure out which is which between Lions QB Matthew Stafford and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. (Calling Captain Obvious, calling Captain Obvious...)

The Lions have a very fine defensive front which will likely make it difficult for the Packers to get a running game going today. That's something they haven't yet been able to do well this season, and it's unlikely RB Eddie Lacey, James Starks or DuJuan Harris will see much running room today. But Rodgers should have a big day passing as the Lions' secondary has injuries and was questionable to begin with.

On offense, the Lions have Calvin Johnson. He'll be working on the much smaller Sam Shields probably for most of the day. It will be a challenge for the Packers, as it is for every team, trying to defend Johnson. He'll score, certainly. The trick is not to let him score a lot. If the Pack can get a pass rush on Stafford, he will make bad throws into coverage. That will be the key on that side of the ball.

For the Packers, just taking a look at this infographic (courtesy of State Farm) should give you, dear reader, a clue as to how things should go...
With a win today, the Packers will have attained 700 wins in franchise history, joining Da Bearz as the only teams in the NFL to have ever reached this milestone. (Da Bearz?! How'd they get in there...?)

Rodgers is also 9-1 in games against the Lions. As the stats in the graphic indicate, he always seems to do well. We should expect another similar performance from Rodgers today. WR Jordy Nelson and the other receivers should have a big day going against the Lions secondary.

At the time of this writing, however, it's not yet clear whether RT Bryan Bulaga will start or we'll be relying on Derek Sherrod once again. That could be a big factor in the game. Last week, the Packers had to keep a tight end in to help Sherrod block, which effectively took away that threat in the passing game. Whether Bulaga plays or not is viewed here as more of a factor than rookie center Corey Linsley going against Ndamukong Suh. That won't be a cake-walk either, but Sherrod is certainly not a tackle you want to rely on for very long, especially without help.

Without further ado (or needless blathering on about this or can find enough of that as it is), today's prediction is: Packers 27 - Lions 24.

We hope it's not that close. The score for the Packers could well be more than 30 points. But if the Pack's defense is able to keep the Lions to 24 points or less -- as we expect -- the Packers will come away with a "W."

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Packers have slow start but Jets crash in second half

The good news of late afternoon Sunday was that the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Jets 31-24 (our prediction: 34-24 Packers) at Lambeau Field. The bad news was that for the first half of the game, it was about as ugly as it could get for the Pack. The additional good news was that adjustments were made and there was a role reversal before halftime and continuing into and throughout the second half which allowed the Packers to outscore the Jets 28-3.

Oh, and there was that very ill-timed time out by the Jets which reversed a TD catch that would have made it a very different game going down the stretch. As Seinfeld would say, that's a shame.

Bottom line: it was one of the biggest comebacks in recent Packers memory.

Let this picture below sum up how great it was to snag this victory. Down, but not out.

Jordy Nelson scores on 80-yard catch and run.
(Photo: Wm. Glasheen/Post-Crescent Media)

Next up: Detroit
After being crowned by some pundits after Week 1 as the winner of the NFC North, the Detroit Lions stumbled yesterday. Badly. Are they the Deja Vu Lions all over again that we see year after year, with glimpses of great play followed by inconsistency? Or, was it just a bad game? For that matter, which team is the real Packers of 2014? The team who got spanked by Seattle (who in turn lost to San Diego yesterday), who floundered badly on both sides of the ball in the first half of Sunday's game, or the team that rallied on both offense and defense in the second half to have a character-building comeback?

The Lions game commences a 12-day stretch in which the Packers play half of their division schedule: at Detroit, at Chicago, and then a Thursday night game at home against the ViQueens. It's a tough schedule. And the Pack will need to be up to the challenge, obviously. Yesterday's game could be a defining moment in this young season. Or not.

We'll all have to chew on this a while. More later this week. Keep checking back here for further thoughts. And be sure to always check out our Amazing 2nd Page (link at the top) for up-to-the-minute Packers news. Or follow us on Twitter: @packfansunited.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

2014 NFL Week 2: Packers vs. Jets Preview

First, let's toss out the records from Week 1 of the 2014 NFL Season as we consider today's game at Lambeau Field between the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. The Packers lost at Seattle to the defending Super Bowl Champions and the Jets won at home against a bad Oakland team. We can also throw out the fact that in head-to head competition, the Jets lead the series 8 to 3. Yes, really.

The Packers need a balanced offensive attack today, something that really wasn't clicking in the opener against the Seahawks. That means the offensive line needs to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers so that he can work his magic. Rodgers needs to get time to get to all of his receivers, over the middle and downfield.

It also means, hopefully, that Bryan Bulaga is able to start and play the entire game at right tackle. If he's unable to go with his reportedly torn MCL knee in a brace, that means third-stringer Derrick Sherrod will be tasked with performing far better than he did last game. His lack of foot speed, inability to get low and sustain blocks was a continual problem against Seattle's defense, leading in one glaring instance to a strip of the ball on Rodgers resulting in a safety. Given the very good three-man line the Jets will be bringing today, along with their linebackers, having to rely on Sherrod would not be a good thing. Let's hope Bulaga can play and play at a high level. The alternatives on an already-thin offensive line for the Packers are not many or great.

The offensive line will also need to create some openings for running backs Eddie Lacy, James Starks and DuJuan Harris. Lacy was held to less than 40 yards in the Seattle game on 12 carries before leaving with a concussion. Starks was actually the leading rusher for the Packers.

Balance. Balance.

As to the defense, as any Packer fan who watched the Seattle game is aware, it was a major disappointment considering all the preparation and changes that supposedly went into preparing for this season and that game. It looked like the same defense we've seen the last few seasons: missed tackles, lack of pressure, etc. It's time for this defense to show up and actually be a more physical unit just as they said they would be. Head Coach Mike McCarthy indicated that there was a real emphasis this week on fundamentals, especially tackling. What a concept!

There will also have to be better performance by the middle linebackers this week. Granted, going against Russell Wilson and his weapons is not the same as having to face Geno Smith and his crew. But if the Packers defense doesn't step up its performance, anything can happen.

One thing that won't happen this game is an appearance by middle linebacker Brad Jones. He was ruled out by injury. In his place, Jamari Lattimore will get the start. Lattimore has shown promise, but was hindered by a mystery illness last season. Now he gets the chance to show what he can bring as a healthy starter, and to hear McCarthy talk this week it sounds as if he and others on the coaching staff are hoping Lattimore seizes the opportunity. They need better performance over the middle and Lattimore has the potential to up the ante. Let's see what happens.

The Prediction
We could go on and on about this and that. But isn't that what pre-game TV is for?

Depending upon who you are looking at, the Packers are either 7-1/2 or 8-point favorites for this game. I think the Packers offense, at home, should get things rolling, at least eventually, against a very good Jets defense. I also think the Packers defense is a work in progress...still. That means an upgraded Jets offense will score points. But Rodgers and the offense will win the day...and the game.

We're calling this 34-24 in favor of the Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!