Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 NFL Week 4: Packers vs. Bills Preview & Prediction

After last week's dud in D.C., Packers fans, how are you feeling about today's game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field? A game with a still-gimpy QB Aaron Rodgers, a game likely without WR and sometime returner Randall Cobb, offensive guard Justin McCray, defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson (done for the season), and several other nicked-up Packers? A game against a team that was a 17-point underdog vs. the ViQueens last weekend and wound up spanking the 'Queens in their home stadium 27-6 behind a rookie quarterback?

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers calling an audible.
(Photo: Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)
You have to believe that that win by the Bills in Minnesota last weekend got the Pack's attention. This is no gimme game, as it might have been perceived when the schedule came out. Recall that the Bills made the playoffs last season and have a stout defense (currently the fifth-ranked run defense in the NFL combined with being tied for 10th in sacks) that harassed Kirk Cousins all game last week, shutting down an explosive Minnesota offense. Offensively, the Bills likely will have running back LeSean McCoy on the field to take pressure off QB Josh Allen, who is no slouch in the running game either having run himself 18 times in two games. As Packers defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine was quoted as saying about Allen this week, “This is a big athlete. He's got good vision. He doesn't look at the rush. I think he does a good job with feeling it. And if you give him an open lane, he's going to take it and he can make you pay for it.

But perhaps the Achilles heel for the Bills is the team's 29th rank in opponent passer rating (108.1). So, if the Packers can protect Aaron Rodgers -- and the Pack also ups its own running game, particularly in what is expected to be wet conditions -- the Packers should be able to take care of business at home today.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 9-1/2 points at the time of this posting. Well, the 'Queens were 17-point faves, as already noted, and that certainly was jut a tad off, wasn't it?

Still, the Packers are at home, coming off an uninspired performance in Washington in a game they were favored to win, and at 1-1-1 through the first three games, have something to prove. If not to the fans at least to themselves at this point. It's time they start getting the season on track. Could the Bills pull off two back-to-back road win upsets behind their rookie QB? Sure. But on this day, we don't think so. We think the Pack gets it together.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Bills 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2018 NFL Week 3: Packers vs. Redskins Preview & Prediction

How are we feeling today, Packer fans? Still a bit mixed feelings after last week's tie with the ViQueens? Yes, we can all relate to that. The Packers had all sorts of opportunities to put that one away, but the Packers defense couldn't stop a hot Minnesota offense in the second half. And relying for so many points off the typically sure-footed Mason Crosby...well, at some point that will come back to haunt you. And it did. Not his fault.

Having said that, let's recall that the Green Bay Packers are still undefeated. Yay. Does that tell us anything about today's game at Washington? Well, the Pack put up 46 points in the first two games against two of the better defenses they will probably face all season. Washington isn't close on that front. The 'skins lost to the Colts at home last weekend in an uninspired effort.

Packers RB Aaron Jones
(Photo: Jim Matthews/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin/@jmatthe79)
The Packers get RB Aaron Jones back off his two-game suspension, although head coach Mike McCarthy insists that he's going to have to work his way back into the lineup. We'll see how that goes. Given that he's the only explosive back they have on the roster, and with the disparity between run and pass in the first two games at 38 to 87 respectively, a gimpy Aaron Rodgers could use a little relief from the pass-happy approach of the first two games. Of course, it will always skew to the pass game as long as Rodgers is at QB and McCarthy is coach. That's OK. But a greater balance would sure help, as well as a home run threat coming out of the backfield. Jones may well have to get his game legs and timing together. But the only way to do that is to feed him the ball. Let's hope that happens a lot today.

Anyway, a lot could be said but lack of time spares you, dear reader, from having to labor through that amount of verbiage. Washington does have Alex Smith at QB and the venerable Adrian Peterson at RB. That means things can happen if the Pack's D once again decides to sleepwalk.

Still, Washington is not of the calibre of either Chicago or Minnesota.

Our Prediction

The Packers are favored by 3 points heading into this game. We expect them to exceed that.

We're calling it Packers 31 - Redskins 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 NFL Week 2: Packers vs. Vikings Preview & Prediction

So, Packers fans...have you recovered yet from last Sunday evening's remarkable comeback victory over that team from Chicago? Proves once again that it's not how you start but how you finish that counts. And, boy, did the Pack finish! Thanks to a gutsy performance by a one-legged QB by the name of Aaron Rodgers.

Photo copyright Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What do things look like today for the Pack in the game against the rival ViQueens? Not great, we're afraid. Here's what the SportsLine folks say about its 10,000 simulations of today's game:

SportsLine Projection Model's score: Vikings 24, Packers 23
Vegas line: The Packers are favored by one point, down from 2.5 points (O/U 46.5)

Projected Statistics: Kirk Cousins passes for 257 yards, two TDs and one INT, with Dalvin Cook rushing for 64 yards and Adam Thielen catching six passes for 70 yards to lead the Vikings. For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers goes for 228 yards and two TDs and Davante Adams gets 66 receiving yards.

So, kids, there's that point of view...or views.

We've seen the point spread anywhere between 1 and 3 points in favor of the Packers, for the home field advantage.

The Vikes are a long way from Da Bearz on both sides of the ball. A great defense and, if the Packers' defense lets QB Kirk Cousins stand in the pocket, he has plenty of weapons -- including a good young running back -- to destroy you with. With a healthy Rodgers and Adams, and if RB Aaron Jones were available instead of sitting out the second game of his two-game suspension, this could be a game in the Pack's favor. But as it is today? We think not.

The Prediction

The SportsLine score is about where we had it. We hope we're wrong, but it seems as if the factors fall in favor of Minnesota today.

We're calling it Vikings 27 - Packers 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Our Belated Season Prediction

Before the start of every regular season, we have always given our season wins-losses prediction. We didn't get that together prior to the Chicago game, so let's do it now. Even with that one already in the bag as a known. But guess what? We had that one in the win column anyway.

We don't do a game by game prediction, but rather we break the 16-game season down into quarters (except for that five-game stretch at the end of the season) and predict the quarters. With that said, here we go. Oh, and this assumes a healthy Aaron Rodgers for the entire season, as well. That's a biggie. If he's out for any extended length of time...well, not good.

Weeks 1-4: Bears, Vikings, at Redskins, Bills. Record: 3-1 

Weeks 5-8: at Lions, Niners, BYE, at Rams. Record: 3-0

Weeks 9-12: at Patriots, Dolphins, at Seahawks, at Vikings. Record: 2-2

Weeks 13-17: Cardinals, Falcons, at Bears, at Jets, Lions. Record: 3-2

Season Record: 11-5

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Packers vs. Bears Preview & Prediction - 100th Season Kickoff

Graphic copyright 247 Sports
It's the start of another exciting season of Green Bay Packers football. It's the best time of the year!

But this is not just any season. It's the Pack's 100th season!

Over the course of the first 100 seasons, the Packers have become the most-storied franchise in the NFL, if not in all of professional sports.

Green Bay has become Titletown. Thirteen world championships...Curly Lambeau, Johnny Blood McNally, Don Hutson, Vincent Thomas Lombardi, ALL the Glory Years Packers (Nitschke, Starr, Hornung, Taylor, Davis, Adderly, et al), Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White, Uncle Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver...where does the list start and where does it stop when it comes to the Packers?

A big piece of this amazing team history, of course, concerns that team from south of the border: the ... eeeewwww ... Chicago Bears. Da Bearz. The longest running rivalry in all of football. The Pack leads this century-long dogfight 96-94 with 6 ties. Oh, in a more current timeframe, QB Aaron Rodgers is 15-4 against Chicago, and 8-1 at Lambeau Field. (How does that make you feel about the chances tonight, Packer fans?)

What do we expect this evening? The Packers are favored by 7 points. In an opening match such as this, where the starters on both teams haven't actually played much in the preseason, hard to tell. There are new coaches on both teams, including a new head coach in ChiTown, so how all that plays out...your guess is as good as mine. But since this is my blog, I'll give you my best guess right now.

The Prediction

Let's make this short and sweet, shall we? I know my good friend, Bill Da Bearz Fan, is waiting for my predication and I don't want to hold up his afternoon nap.

So here it is: Packers 27 - Bears 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

A Postscript

I took the entire offseason off, as you can see from the date of the last post prior to this one. Like many fans, the wind was pretty much out of the sails after that clunker of a 2017 Rodgers-less season. Not an excuse, just how it was.

Didn't really cover the draft (was traveling at the time) or opine on it (thought it was a good draft for the new GM, though), OTAs, mini camp, summer training camp, preseason. Yes, I slacked off. So it goes. Hope to at least do weekly game posts and updates if they seem needed. Hope you'll check in once in a while. And thank you if you do so. Your readership is appreciated. I have a much more active presence on Twitter these days so if you wish to follow us there, you'll find us at @packfansunited.