Sunday, December 29, 2019

NFL Week 16 Review of Packers win vs. Minnesota, NFL Week 17 Preview vs. Detroit — The last of our regular season twofers!

Packers fans, the time has come. The time for the last of our season-long slacking and, hence, twofer-type posts.

But, you know, it has seemed to work. And while not being a superstitious sort (knock on wood, a-hem), given how well the Green Bay Packers have played while we have been following this pattern, we're reluctant to change now. with it.

The ViQueen Takedown

What can we say that hasn't already been said about the way the Packers overcame three uncharacteristic first half turnovers and still held Minnesota to just 10 points off those turnovers? Oh, and that wasn't just the first half point total allowed...that was for the entire game! While the Pack's offense put up 23 points (Mason Crosby's first missed PAT of the season on the last TD kept the points from being spot on again in terms of our point prediction for the Packers), it was the defense that was the collective star of the game. Za'Darius Smith, in particular, was a beast in terms of pressures, QB sacks and overall disruption to the Vikes game plan. Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Preston Smith, et al locked down the Minnesota offense in all phases of the game.

Granted, Minnesota was without its top running back, Dalvin Cook. But left to rely on QB Kirk Cousins, he lived up to his winless record on Monday Night Football, now 0-9. The Packers, in contrast, finally got their first win in four tries in the new Humpty Dump (whatever the new stadium is called, nothing will ever replace the Humpty Dump in the minds of many). And with the win, the Pack captured the NFC North Division title, sitting at 12-3 going into today's regular season finale.

With the Packers defense finally rounding out into what looks like championship-calibre form, and the offense being solid if not spectacular, a win today in Detroit against the 3-12 Lions will put the Pack in position to potentially grab the #1 seed for the NFC Playoffs, pending a 49ers loss this evening in Seattle. So let's now get onto the preview of today's game, shall we? Yes, we shall.

RB Aaron Jones has been a beneficiary of great Packers offensive line play
this season, on the verge of 1,000 yards rushing and 20 TDs. The linemen
will tell you that he inspires them to that level of play.
(Photo: Getty Images)

The Preview and Prediction

As noted above, the Packers seem to be starting to peak at the right time in all phases of the game, albeit with issues still remaining in the receiving game. But, the Pack goes into the game being healthy overall and playing for the possibility for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. In most circles, that's what's known as "incentive."

Detroit, on the other hand, will be without QB Matthew Stafford, as they have for a good chunk of the season. There's been ongoing questions about second-year head coach Matt Patricia even going back to last season. The only thing the Lions truly have to play for today is draft position: if they lose they will have the 3rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, win and they will get the 5th overall pick. With as dreadful a season as the Lions have had, might as well get something for the effort...lose and grab that #3 pick, guys. Just a suggestion.

The Packers, on the other hand, need not to have a letdown after Monday's night emotional and impactful win over the ViQueens. They need to build on that momentum going into the playoffs. It would be wonderful if the Pack could get off to a fast start and take what few Lions fans will be in the stands today — yes, most fans will probably be Packers fans — out of the game. Some Detroit players will, of course, be playing today's game for work next year, if not in Detroit, somewhere else. But it's likely, as some other pundits have noted, that most players will be looking to clean out there lockers and hit I-75 out of town.

Some Packers pundits have called today's game as much a "must win" game as was the game against Minnesota. As noted earlier, with a win and 49ers loss the Pack gets the #1 seed, a first-round bye and and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Huge. With a win and a 49ers win in Seattle, the Pack will have the #2 seed, and still have a first-round bye. With a loss and a 49ers win (and the Saints play into some of these combinations, too), the Pack will get the #3 see and a play a first-round game at home. Good, but surely not as good as grabbing a first-round bye.

The Prediction

We see the Packers continuing to work on their offensive "identity"...better late than never. RB Aaron Jones should have another big day. He's close to hitting the 1,000 yards rushing mark and scoring 20 TDs in a season...yowza! RB Jamaal Williams, at the time of this writing is listed as questionable for today's game, which means rookie Dexter Williams may get some playing time, as might versatile late season pick up RB Tyler Ervin. Hopefully, one or more receivers will step up their play and be a reliable counterpart to Davante Adams, not just today but throughout the playoffs. If the Packers just play their game, despite Detroit perhaps staying close for a quarter or maybe even the first half, Green Bay will come away with a win.

We're calling it Packers 34 - Lions 13.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, December 23, 2019

NFL Week 15 Review of Packers win vs. Chicago, NFL Week 16 Preview vs. Minnesota — Still with the twofers!

In what looked like a relatively solid and safe, if not spectacular, victory through 3 quarters of the game vs. Da Bearz last weekend, after which they led 21-3, the Green Bay Packers played...what's the word?...I dunno...good enough to win in the end.

But it sure got tight down the stretch didn't it, Packer fans? Much tighter than it should have been. Coming ultimately within a yard of Da Bearz possibly tying it up and going to overtime. Remember that crazy last-play lateral-a-thon that was finally fumbled and recovered on the Packers' 1-yard line by Tramon Williams? Final score, 21-13. Whew!

So in the 199th and 200th meetings between these two storied rivals, the Packers wound up sweeping this season's series. Despite misfiring on offense again, yet doing enough on defense again, the Packers were able to move on with an 11-3 record and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs still atop the NFC North.

Which brings us to tonight's game in Minnesota. With LOTS on the line. Especially for the Packers.

The Packers will once again need a big night out of NT Kenny Clark
and the entire Packers defense if they hope to come away with the win
tonight in Minnesota.

(Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Preview and Prediction

This will be an interesting game for many reasons, including the fact that the Packers have yet to win in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (going 0-3 in prior games in the successor to the HumpDome), and Vikes QB Kirk Cousins is 0-8 in Monday Night Football games. So either the Pack or ViQueens will finally get off the shneide. Let's hope it's the Packers.

Minnesota is favored by 5-1/2 points in this game. Hmmm. As others will also point out, they don't have a victory this season against a team that has a winning record...which, as you know, the Packers have. Probably gives the Packers an extra bit of incentive to be a bit disrespected this way. Seems as if the Packers are the about the quietest 11-3 team out there...not getting much chatter yet in terms of a potential playoff threat. We'll save that conversation for another time.

The Pack will also benefit tonight from not having to face RB Dalvin Cook who is out with an injury, although the Vikes certainly have enough other weapons to cause havoc particularly if the Packers defense plays as loose as they sometimes do. A consistent pass rush against Cousins will help considerably. Give him time and he can certainly do damage in the passing game.

Defensively, Minnesota will try to shut down the Pack's running game with their good linebacking corps, led by ILB Eric Kendricks, and put pressure not so much on QB Aaron Rodgers per se as on the receivers; if the wideouts don't get separation on coverage — as has been an ongoing problem this season — it will make Rodgers' life much more difficult. After last week's game, head coach Matt LaFleur said that WR Jake Kumerow deserved more looks and time on the field. Agreed. The team is still in search of a solid and reliable second receiver behind Davante Adams. At least for now, that may be Kumerow. Allen Lazard has also earned looks from Rodgers. Swinging RB Aaron Jones out as a receiver has also paid benefits, especially when RB Jamaal Williams has it going; that's a powerful combination and the Packers need to employ it more frequently in our view.

This game means more to the Packers than to the Vikes as Green Bay is playing to secure the NFC North with the win tonight and a first-round playoff bye if they then beat the Lions in Detroit in the season finale. They can control their destiny now, into and perhaps even through the playoffs if they can get this win tonight. It's that big. And it's time they step up all the way around. They will need a solid effort in all three phases of the game.

The Packers have been challenged all season and somehow, someway have typically found a way to hold on to win late in the 4th quarter. This game could certainly go either way and, obviously, the oddsmakers think Minnesota is to the plus-side even without Dalvin Cook. We think the Pack will do just enough to come home with a win in yet another Cardiac Pack game.

We're calling this game Packers 24 - ViQueens 23.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

NFL Week 14 Review of Packers win vs. Washington, NFL Week 15 Preview vs. Chicago — A twofer once more!

In yet another of our season-long "twofer" type posts, Packer fans, we are heading down the stretch of the regular season, and doing so by entering play against NFC North divisional opponents for the final 3 games.

But first, a very quick review of the game at Lambeau Field vs. Washington: the Green Bay Packers won 20-15. After getting off to a fast start, going up 14-0, the remainder of the game became a bit of a struggle offensively in terms of moving the ball consistently. More on that in a moment. Let's first acknowledge that the Packers defense once again came up big, getting takeaways that definitely helped the Pack hold on for the win. When the defense creates turnovers, the Packers win, simple as that.

But back to the's inconsistency has been, unfortunately, a season-long problem for the Packers. Despite the 10-3 record going into today's game, even QB Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur concur that the offense has yet to find its "identity" and at this stage of the season "what you see on film is who you are".

So, we can rejoice in the fact that, somehow, someway, through 13 games the Pack has found ways more often than not to win. There are weapons on offense, although not as many in terms of young wide receivers stepping up as was anticipated. The Packers need someone other than Davante Adams to be a consistent threat at wide receiver. Barring that, the Packers tight ends become better options in the receiving game, along with Aaron Jones who occasionally lines up as a receiver. That versatility offered by RB Aaron Jones, along with the pounding style of Jamaal Williams, makes the running game a legitimate threat each and every game.

Packers rookie left guard Elgton Jenkins has been a great fit and performer
this season along the O-line and will be counted on again today against a stout
Chicago Bears defense.
(Photo: Ronald Martinez, Getty Images)

The Preview and Prediction

Let me first of all just say that my friend, Billy Da Bearz fan, is heading to Green Bay as this is being written. He doesn't think Chicago will win, he told me yesterday, but still holds out hope that Da Bearz will somehow pull off the upset. I've always admired him for his insights. Especially, in this case, about how he doesn't expect Da Bearz to win today.

In the 200th meeting of these teams (the Packers currently lead the series, by the way, 98-95-6), in what will be a cold, 18-degree Lambeau Field, the Pack is favored by 4-1/2 points. While Chicago still has a shot at the playoffs after their 3-game win streak, the Packers have more to play for in the form of the NFC North title, playoff seeding and perhaps even a first-round bye and home field advantage through the playoffs; they'll need to win the 3 remaining games in order to have their best shot at all that.

In looking at today's game, the Packers are the healthier of the two teams, they have the better quarterback and offensive weapons (if they can all step up at the same time) and a bend-don't-break defense that is usually adept at getting pressure on the opposing quarterback and in generating turnovers. If all that holds today, the Packers will go to 11-3.

We're calling it Packers 20 - Bears 17 in yet another close game in this epic NFL series.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

NFL Week 13 Review of Packers win vs. Giants, NFL Week 14 Preview vs. Washington — Yet another...twofer!!

A disturbing pattern has arisen, Packer fans. Not with our beloved Green Bay Packers per se, but with yours truly. Despite the best intentions after each week's game to offer a timely review of that game and another separate post looking ahead to the coming game...not. So things have devolved to doing a combo posting — a "twofer", as you will — with a brief review of last week's game and a preview and prediction for today's game. At this point in the season, if you are a regular reader — and you are, aren't you??? — you're used to it. So...let's carry on then.

Last Sunday saw the Pack bounce back, as we expected they would, from their disappointing drubbing at the hands of the 49ers the prior week with a solid win vs. the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. In a game that saw rain, sleet and snow, the final score was 31-13 Packers. (Our prediction, by the way, had the Pack winning 31-20 ... so we were once again spot on with the Packers' points. Just didn't count on our defense getting 4 turnovers and the Giants being even a bit worse than initially anticipated.) 

The Packers showed, once again, that when they are able to generate and come away with turnovers that they are difficult to beat (but let's be real: any team that is able to benefit from 4 takeaways in a game should darn well win that game, right?). In fact, if memory serves, the Pack's only losses have come in those games where they don't get turnovers.

Solid play came pretty much on both sides of the ball. Yes, there were the 4 takeaways by the defense, but as has been the case pretty much the entire season, there remain concerning gaps and lapses in terms of giving up big plays. But, it's also been the case that generally, the defense has stiffened up when the opponent nears or gets into the redzone. So there's that.

QB Aaron Rodgers did what he needed to do in helping guide the Packers
to a big bounce-back win out east against the Giants last Sunday.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (Photo: Adam Hunger, AP)
It's also the case that the Packers offense may have discovered a reliable Number 2 receiver behind Davante Adams. Allen Lazard had a great game with big catches totaling over 100 yards in receptions, if memory services, including a huge TD catch. Rodgers has confidence in him that seems to be growing each game. Head coach Matt LaFleur said this week when asked that Lazard is the type of player that really gives his all each week in practice whatever he's asked to do. Remember that he's also been very good on special teams coverage. Big and fast are always two great attributes on a football field, any time. RB Jamaal Williams seems to also have some "mudder" in him, reminiscent of the running prowess of Edgar Bennet in his heyday. He showed power and moves in less-than-ideal playing conditions. And Aaron Jones continues to be a multi-dimensional threat that defenses have to account for whenever he's on the field.

The game was really never in doubt. The Packers had to get back on track after their second West Coast flop of the season to get ready for the 4-game stretch run, with 2 games at Lambeau Field and the final two on the road, with the final 3 being against NFC North Division opponents Da Bearz, the ViQueens and the Lions.

The Preview

As for today's game against Washington, it is a team that comes to Green Bay with a record of 3-9, the mirror image of the Packers 9-3. Washington has won its last 2 games in a row behind rookie QB Dwayne Haskins (the second rookie quarterback in a row to be faced by the Packers) and a reliance on its running game that includes a veteran running back by the name of Adrian Peterson. Remember him? He may be on the outer edges of his career these days but he can still cause problems if not attended to. The Packers defense will need to stop, or at least contain, the run today as we could expect Washington to try to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines as much as possible by running the clock with its ground game. Washington's defense is said to be coming on, particularly its front.

Offensively for the Packers, it should pretty much be business as usual. Protection for Rodgers and opening some running lanes will be key offensively for the Pack. Such a simple game, really, isn't it?

The inactives list hasn't been published at the time of this writing so we're not entirely sure who's in today and who's out. The injury report had a few players listed as questionable, most notably RG Billy Turner who was out late this last week due to illness; expect shuffling on the O-line in terms of personnel if that lingers into today's game.

We would expect also to see the first action for newly-acquired running back/returner Tyler Ervin who may finally give the Packers something that they haven't yet had all season: positive yardage on returns.

The weather forecast has it set for a balmy 40-degrees for the game with no precipitation anticipated. Good football weather, especially for fans. Just not great December weather advantage football for the Pack.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by a whopping 12-1/2 points for this game. Yowza. We actually never like to see the Pack favored by this much because it seems as if they often fall short of covering the spread in situations such as this. However, for today's game, we think that's pretty realistic all things considered.

We're calling it Packers 34 - Washington 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, December 01, 2019

NFL Week 12 Review of Packers loss vs. 49ers, NFL Week 13 Preview vs. Giants — A twofer once again!

So, Packers fans, we come into game 12 of the NFL season (13th week overall) atop the NFC North at 8-3 (well, technically tied with a tiebreaker advantage over the Vikings). This is a record which, we're guessing, most all Green Bay fans would have gladly taken at the beginning of the season. Indeed.

Still, after the particularly concerning way in which the Pack was handled by the Niners in last weekend's game (by the way, dear reader, this is the only mention we will make by way of "review" about that game), some folks may be questioning if the team is as good as the record.

Keep in mind that the Packers have basically been through the hardest part of its schedule in terms of opposing teams' records; the Pack now goes into these final games of the season with the easiest schedule of any playoff contender based upon opposing teams' records. So there's that. Three of the remaining 5 games are on the road. Next up is Washington at Lambeau Field. Then the final 3 games are all vs. division opponents, with Da Bearz at home then at Minnesota and Detroit to close out the regular season.

The Preview and Prediction

With its game today vs. the Giants in New York, the Packers begin what should be a run to another division title. If. If they can stay as relatively healthy as they are now. If they can somehow figure out a way to cover over the middle and down the field. If they can somehow figure out a way to keep getting Davante Adams and Aaron Jones the ball in addition to at least one more playmaker (someone needs to step up regularly) so Aaron Rodgers can spread the ball around. If they can stay out of 3rd and long. If they can somehow, some way find a way to get a punt return or two along the way...just even for positive yardage. If. Lots of ifs.

Packers WR Davante Adams needs to have a big day today against the Giants.
(Photo: Tony Avelar, AP)
But coming off last weekend's debacle in the Bay (San Fran not GB, that is), the New York Giants should be what the doctor ordered. Aaron Rodgers always seems to play well in New York and also typically has a good bounce-back game following a loss. Given the hype and expectations that fell flat in the Niners game, there should have been some soul-searching during this week on the part of the Packers players and coaches. Head coach Matt LaFleur said he definitely needed to do a better job coaching. Yep. He failed to have the team make the adjustments they needed to during the game and was out-coached by his former fellow coaches and his brother.

Wipe that slate clean. Today sets up well for a win. The Packers are favored by 6 points on the road going against a rookie QB with fumbling problems and a Giants team that has lost 7 games in a row. But players still need to perform. The offense will be helped greatly if RT Bryan Bulaga is able to return from his leg injury and play at a high level; if not, there will be reordering along the offensive line which could present problems for both the rushing and passing attacks.

Overall, let's hope the Packers got a reality check last weekend and play with renewed commitment and energy today.

We're calling this game Packers 31 - Giants 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

NFL Week 10 Review of Packers win vs. Panthers, NFL Week 12 Preview vs. 49ers — Yes, still another twofer

If it's seemed as if it's been a while since we've checked in, Packers fans, it's because it has been. Note the headline: a week 10 review and a week 12 preview. What? What happened to week 11??? That was our bye week, kids. Well, not "ours" but the Pack's. So, since it was so long since our last post, let's just remind you, dear reader, that the Packers beat Carolina 24-16 in that game.

Let's just mention two key aspects of that game, although there were certainly more. One was Panthers head coach "Riverboat" Ron Rivera going for the 2-point conversion early in the 4th quarter and failing to convert. He had no need to do so. But we're glad the miss kept his team in a position where it would have had to have both gotten another TD and 2-point conversion just to tie. As it was, the Panthers almost got the touchdown. Almost. This was the second key play we wish to point out: with 4-seconds left on the game clock, Carolina put the ball in the hands of its best player, RB Christian McCaffrey. With only a couple yards to go, the Packers defense rose up and stopped McCaffrey just shy of the goal line. WHEW! Game over. Packers win, Panthers lose. The Pack headed into their bye week with a record of 8-2 and a game against the now 9-1 San Francisco 49ers on the horizon.

This photo from the 2018 meeting between the Packers and 49ers
pretty well portrays what will likely be a similar battle today.

(Photo: Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)

49ers Preview & Prediction

The Niners have the best record in the NFC not by coincidence. They are solid performers on offense and particularly on defense. Highly ranked. The counter to that record standing is that they haven't hit the hard part of their season yet. In fact, the Packers begin a real tough portion of the 49ers' schedule.

While there aren't many perceived weaknesses, QB Jimmy Garoppolo is subject to interceptions; he has 10 interceptions on the season, with interceptions thrown in all but two games. In the last two games, he's had three interceptions. So if the Packers defense can get some pressure on him, it will certainly increase the likelihood of a pick...or two...two would be good.

The Niners have a good rushing attack and can pressure a defense over the middle particularly if TE George Kittle plays today. He's been battling knee and ankle problems but is expected to play today. As Packers fans know, over the middle has been a soft spot all season for the Pack's D; they need to figure out a way to limit the potential damage Kittle and others might cause running free.

There's a lot more that could be said, of course, but let's just get on with the prediction, shall we?

We see this as an extremely tight game. The Packers are the healthier of the two teams, but the 49ers are playing at home, giving them the upside on a 3-point spread at this writing. The rankings would tell you that the 49ers are the better team. But the Packers have the better quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. He also has some rushing and receiving weapons that enable him to spread things around, which will hopefully keep the San Fran defense a bit off guard now and then.

This seems to be a pick 'em type of game, perhaps one where the team that has the ball last wins. The Pack's defense has experience with making big, last minute (or second) stops. We think Green Bay's QB and bend-don't-break defense will be able to do just enough to come away with the win and the #1 slot in the NFC rankings. Which, oh, by the way, means a first round playoff bye and home field advantage. Long way to go in the season yet, but wouldn't that be a nice gift at the end of tonight? Yes, yes it would.

We're calling it Packers 24 - 49ers 23.

Go Pack Go!!!

P.S. A guest prediction of sorts...from my wife...who hails from the Bay area: 49ers in a close one...27-24 over the Pack. No doubt the in-laws would join her in that view.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

NFL Week 9 Review of Packers loss to Chargers, NFL Week 10 Preview vs. Panthers — Another twofer

Packers fans, what can be said about last Sunday's loss in LA? Not the Rams, but the Chargers. Ewww. It stunk from the get-go. Not good in any aspect of the game. But give the Chargers credit. They played to a Lambeau West crowd the way many thought they were capable of playing all season long. Let's hope that a lesson was learned by some of the Packer players: you have to show up with your "A" game every Sunday (paraphrasing head coach Matt LaFleur and QB Aaron Rodgers on that one). Moving on...

The Panthers Come to Town

The Carolina Panthers roll into Green Bay this afternoon minus QB Cam Newtwon, out for the rest of the season. That's a plus for the Pack. Unfortunately, the Panthers do still have both potential MVP candidate RB Christian McCaffrey as well as TE Greg Olsen. McCraffey has been tearing it up this season while Olsen is still Olsen. The two key offensive weapons for Carolina just happen to be at the positions that have given the Packers defense problems nearly all season, running back and tight end.

Keeping Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey in check today
will be one of the keys to a Packers victory.

(Photo: Jim Dedmon / USA TODAY Sports)
As Packer fans know all too well, what started off the first few games looking like a real strength of the team, the defense over the majority of the season has had issues, shall we say. Things like, oh, covering receivers, tackling runners, getting a sustained pass rush...that sort of thing. Generally, except really for last Sunday, it's been a bend-don't-break approach, giving up at times explosive plays by the opponent but then holding teams to field goals in the red zone seemingly as often as not.

Of course, the Packers defense also has someone on the offensive side of things that can often cover up some of its deficiencies: one Aaron Rodgers to be exact. And a Rodgers with weapons can make anything happen.Yeah, he has those.

The Prediction

While we were way off on our prediction for last week — thinking the Pack would continue its generally solid play and come away with a sizable win — we think that embarrassment, being at home and in the first real "cold weather" game of the season, plus wanting to go into the bye week with a win before heading out to San Francisco to play the as yet still undefeated 49ers will give the Pack enough motivation to get it done today. But it could be a close one.

The Packers are favored by 5-1/2 at the time of this writing.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Panthers 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

NFL Week 8 Review of Packers win vs Chiefs, NFL Week 9 Preview vs. Chargers — We're on a twofer binge!

Looking back at last week's game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers displayed some magnificent offensive firepower in coming away with a 31-24 win ... which, by the way, was exactly the score that we predicted in our pregame prediction (is that redundant?).

Anyway, the Pack had some explosive plays, which they haven't had many of this season. Aaron Jones is solidifying himself as a true threat both running and receiving. Fellow RB Jamaal Williams isn't too shabby in that department either, making an epically-good-highlight-reel-corner-of-the-endzone catch that really helped the Packers nail down the win. WR Jake Kumerow also made a nearly impossible catch at a critical point in the game. The offense was humming. And, still, WR Davante Adams was on the sidelines. So the Packers are good at offense, particularly with the best QB in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, at the helm.

Packers RB Aaron Jones had a big day vs. the Chiefs.
(Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP)

But, to be honest, there are still issues on the defense, particularly in the secondary. KC receivers were open far too often with no Packer defender in sight. This has been nearly a season-long issue, although it seems to have gotten worse in the past four or five games. What will turn that around? If you have an answer, mail it to 1265 Lombardi Ave., Green Bay, WI. Still, the defense has been doing enough, at the right times, to keep the Pack in the win column. At least there's that. And, really, that's all that matters when the play clock strikes zero.

Packers will be playing the Chargers at Lambeau Field West today

While this is a home game for the 3-5 Chargers, it's LA and Los Angelinos haven't exactly warmed to the San Diego transplant or its temporary home at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. The expectation is that the stadium will probably be more like a home game for the Packers than the Chargers. The chargers head coach (whoever it is) said that they really don't play for the fans anyway so that won't matter. We'll see. Not exactly a great way to attract fans. Of course, if they wanted to do that they would have stayed in San Diego. Just sayin'.

It is agreed, however, that the game is played on the field. The Packers are apparently as healthy this week as they have been pretty much all season, listing only 2 players with injury designations for today's game: WR Davante Adams and TE Robert Tonyan were both listed as questionable. Rookie TE Jace Sternberger was activated yesterday off the injured reserve list, although whether he will be active for the game today remains uncertain at the time of this writing. A decision was still awaited on S Ibraheim Campbell who was also on the injured reserve list. The Pack comes into this game at about as full strength as they can get, whether or not Adams is active. Yay.

The Chargers are going to be missing a few players on defense, with one DL already out and 3 other defenders listed as questionable. That should bode well for the Packers long as Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari can handle the excellent edge rushing tandem of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. This is a tough challenge for Bulaga and Bakhtiari, perhaps especially so for the latter who has been getting flagged more than usual recently for holding penalties. Let's hope that doesn't come at a critical time in today's game.

The Chargers do have weapons in the form of QB Philip Rivers, of course, and RB Austin Ekeler who takes what Aaron Jones does up a notch. He is going to be a lot to handle, particularly in the receiving area. You don't want him tearing things up, but given recent coverage tendencies, the expectation is he is going to cause some damage in the Packers defense. And let's not forget former Wisconsin Badger standout RB Melvin Gordon, who seems to just be kicking off the rust from his unsuccessful contract holdout. Gordon can also cause problems for a defense.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 3-1/2 points. We see the Packers continuing their offensive roll, with the defense continuing its bend-don't-break trend. Combined, that's a win.

We're calling it Packers 38 - Chargers 23.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

NFL Week 7 Review of Packers win vs Raiders, NFL Week 8 Preview vs. Chiefs — Yes, another twofer!

We're now at the halfway point of the NFL season, Packers fans. Sitting at 6-1, things are looking pretty good. Let's be honest, better than likely many expected. 

The Raiders Leave Lambeau with a Loss

Last Sunday, we saw the Pack beat the Raiders 42-24 in a game in which QB Aaron Rodgers had a perfect quarterback rating, throwing for 5 touchdowns and running for one. He received help from 8 different receiving targets, if memory serves correctly. It was a great game from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, the Packers still are giving up too many explosive plays particularly through the air in the secondary. Seemed as if in many cases there wasn't even a defensive back in the same zipcode as the Oakland receivers. Somehow, someway, that has to be tightened up. But they also seem to make enough plays at the right time, goal-line stands, etc., that have been making wins possible. So there's that.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on his way to a perfect QB rating
and win vs. the Raiders on Oct. 20, 2019 at Lambeau Field.
(Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Kansas City, Kansas City Here We Come

But what about now? What about tonight's game in Kansas City? In this rematch (in name only) of the teams in Super Bowl 1, the Packers are favored by 4-1/2 points at the time of this writing. The Chiefs will be without their MVP QB, Patrick Mahomes, as well as reportedly about 5 other starters. That likely helps explain the Pack being favored. Arrowhead Stadium is arguably the loudest stadium in the NFL and opponent offenses often have to rely on hand signals to make their calls. Not an easy place to play so getting the Chiefs with so many missing parts right now is a bit of a gift. 

While still without WR Davante Adams, the Packers have been winning as other receivers have begun to step up in his absence. The Pack's running game also has to be respected with the two-headed threat of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

We have to believe that a Rodgers-led Packers offense will get it done against a Mahomes-less Chiefs. The biggest challenge for the Pack's defense will be to somehow minimize the damage that wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, along with TE Travis Kelce, can do. The secondary, as noted, as had its issues this season, and covering good tight ends — of which Kelce is among the best in the league — has also been a challenge. But if the defense can keep these weapons in check and the offense does what it's capable of doing, the Packers are likely to leave KC with a win.

The Prediction

We already gave it away in the last sentence above, didn't we, Packers fans?

We're calling it Packers 31 - Chiefs 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Self-Check at the Midway Point of the Season

We'll revisit this after today's game, but taking at look back at our Preseason Preview, we had the Packers coming through the first half of this season at 5-3. Depending on what happens against the Chiefs, the actual record will either be 7-1 or 6-2. Either way, glad to know we underestimated this team. Better and deeper than earlier looks indicated.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

NFL Week 6 Review of Packers win vs Lions, NFL Week 7 Preview vs. Raiders — Again with the twofer!

It's sad, isn't it? Not that the Green Bay Packers keep winning, but that we can't seem to get out of this combo Review-Preview kick. Sorry about that, dear readers. But, as we heard so well from the White House this week, "Get over it!".

With that out of the way, let's take a quick look at the Pack's win over the Lions.

Wow. That. Was.Close.

The Packers beat the Lions 23-22 on a last second field goal by K Mason Crosby. It wasn't the prettiest of games. The Pack went down 13-0 early on a couple of big plays by the Lions. But that score begins to tell the tale of the game: a TD and 2 FGs...the first 2 of 5 by the Lions kicker. Yes, just 1 touchdown given up by the Packers defense. Extreme bending, but no breaking.

As for the Packers offense, down to back up receivers deep on the depth chart, a potential new target for QB Aaron Rodgers showed up big time: Allen Lazard. If not for some of his catches, including a spectacular over-the-shoulder TD catch, the Pack would not have won the game. There were 3 turnovers by the Packers that kept the Lions churning. And there were some questionable hands-to-the-face penalties against the Lions at crucial times that kept the Pack drives going, including the last game-winning drive. Being able to run out the clock with just under 7 minutes left on the clock? Oh, yeah, that was key as well. Part of that was RB Jamaal Williams having the presence of mind to go to the ground instead of going into the endzone to keep the clock running. Just so many moments, big and small, in this game that allowed for the Pack to get to 5-1 and increase their lead in the NFC North.

Packers OLB Za'Darius Smith (ground) celebrates a sack against the Lions.
Such celebrations may be curtained a bit in the future, but hopefully the sacks
will continue.

(Photo: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)

The Raiders visit Lambeau Field

As you may recall, there was a preseason game between the Packers and Raiders this year. In Winnipeg. Remember that? There were problems with the field so some on-the-spot rules were made up to accommodate a shortened field. It was...odd, on many levels. So that game tells us nothing as no starters played.

The Packers, as noted earlier, are 5-1 coming off a short week (having played Monday night) with the Raiders at 3-2 and coming off a bye after their game and win against Da Bearz in London.

The Pack are injury-riddled at wide receiver and tight end. The team did add veteran WR Ryan Grant this week to boost weapons for Rodgers, but don't expect much of an impact at this point. He could, however, prove valuable as a much-needed slot receiver. The Raiders come in on three straight road games, winning against both the Colts and Da Bearz.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 5-1/2 points at the time of this writing. We have a sense this game could look a bit like the game against the Lions (hopefully without the turnovers), with the offense getting just enough production out of its running backs and receivers to stay on top. That's if the defense continues its winning ways. Which we expect they will. Although it would be nice to minimize those big plays over the top that have been the defense's real weak spot this season.

We're calling this game Packers 27 - Raiders 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, October 14, 2019

NFL Week 5 Review of Packers win vs Cowboys, NFL Week 6 Preview vs Lions — Yes, Another twofer!

We've fallen into a thoroughly revolting pattern, Packers fans. No, not the Pack...they're doing pretty well, thanks. We refer to our now season-long trend of doing combined posts about the last game and the one coming up. Sorry. But it is time efficient, isn't it it, for both you — dear reader — and yours truly? Yes, yes it is. So without further ado...a very quick look back at the win in Dallas.

Packers Beat the 'boys in Big D

It's always a pleasure to beat the Cowboys, especially in Dallas. Something QB Aaron Rodgers has been pretty good at over time. Last weekend was no different. Racing off to a fast start, with RB Aaron Jones turning in his best game of the young season if not one of his best as a Packer, and the defense holding Ezekiel Elliot in check and generating turnovers. The 'boys made a late run and it got a bit concerning there for a while (admit it), until a late fourth quarter field goal attempt "doink" off the upright really put an end to Dallas' comeback dreams. Final score: 34-24. Sweet.

This was game we and many others thought the Packers would drop. So glad we were wrong as that win left the Pack at 4-1 and atop the NFC North Division.

QB Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur are still working on their
new relationship. But at 4-1, it seems to be working just fine.
(Photo JSOnline,com)

The Lions Visit Lambeau Tonight

Once upon a time, Detroit couldn't buy a win in Wisconsin. Was years...decades...centuries...something like that before they finally pulled one out. But the Lions have now won four straight (home and away) against Green Bay, including the two games last year by a combined score of 62-23. Now, to be fair, within this four-game streak Rodgers was injured and out of the game for either all or part of the game in two of them and in a third K Mason Crosby uncharacteristically missed 5 field goal attempts. Really, what are the odds of that?

The Lions are 2-1-1. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur says they are one of the scariest teams he's seen on tape. They are, to our view, hard to figure out. They tied the Cardinals in the first game of the season, barely beat the Chargers, just sneaked by the Eagles in Philly (the same Eagles, as you know, who handed the Packers their lone loss on home turf), and then narrowly lost to the very good Kansas City Chiefs. Now, factor in that the Lions have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game against Green Bay and this game is no gimmee, that's for sure.

Detroit has a defense-oriented head coach that concentrates on stopping the run. Expect that to be the formula again. With WR Davante Adams still sidelined with turf toe, other receivers are going to have to step up. Adams was out last week, too, and Rodgers only completed 4 passes to his wide receivers. Whether that was due to their failure to get open or good coverage...? Fortunately, Rodgers was able to work his tight ends and backs in the passing game. Not big yards, and not even a TD pass if memory serves, but effective. And if the Pack needs to do that again, so be it. As Rodgers said after the game, "It's about the Ws" not the stats. The Packers will be without one of their tight ends tonight, though. Robert Tonyan, who sustained a hip injury in last week's game, is out for tonight.

If the Packers can do what they've done so far this season, getting out to a fast start and a big lead, have the defense put pressure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford to generate a turnover or two, have JK Scott boom his field-position-changing punts, it all should be enough to carry the day. If.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 4 points in this game. There will be a Fall evening low of about 34 degrees. Good NFC North football weather. The Lions, unfortunately, have experienced recent success against the Packers which will make them a confident team coming in. The division lead is on the line.

We're calling this one Packers 31 - Lions 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Saturday, October 05, 2019

NFL Week 4 Review of Packers Loss vs Eagles, NFL Week 5 Preview vs Cowboys — Another twofer!

The 34-27 loss by the Green Bay Packers at home to the Philadelphia Eagles a week ago Thursday dropped the Pack from the ranks of the undefeated. It was another surprisingly sieve-like performance by the rush defense.

Conversely, the Packers rush offense was dealt a blow early when RB Jamaal Williams took a direct hit to the helmet that saw him being carted off the field. Luckily, the injury wasn't severe, although he will still be out this weekend because of precautionary measures. Attempts to get untracked with the run were unfruitful.

Anyway, bottom line, albeit with a late goal-line tipped pass for an Eagles interception that should have been a pass interference call (along with another earlier), offensive and defensive deficiencies cost the Packers the game. It's usually how it goes in such situations, right?

Our preseason prediction for where we felt the Pack would be after the first quarter of the season was 2-2; instead, the team is 3-1. We'll take that.

Let's move on.

The Cowboys

The Cowboys also come into this game in Jerry's World at 3-1 following a loss to the New Orleans Saints in their last game. The 'boys have weapons on offense – RB Ezekiel Elliott and QB Dak Prescott in particular.  Elliott had one of his worst games in the loss to the Saints, rushing for only 35 yards on 18 carries. You have to believe he's licking his chops to scorch the Pack's defense. And let's not forget that Prescott can run as well as pass. So lots for the Packers' D to worry about.

Can the Pack pull this game out? Of course, QB Aaron Rodgers always seems to come up big in Dallas. He'll be without his number one receiver, Davante Adams, who is out with a turf toe. That means the other receivers, and especially TE Jimmy Graham, will need to step up. So, too, will rookie RB Dexter Williams, who will be the number two back behind Aaron Jones.

The Prediction

The Packers are 3-1/2 point underdogs at the time of this writing. This is a critical game for both teams: one will emerge at 4-1 and the other will fall to 3-2. While neither record guarantees success or failure going forward the rest of the season, it may foretell directional fortune for a few games, shall we say. The Packers will come home for two games, against the Lions and the Raiders, and then play two away at the Chiefs and the Chargers. How do you read those future games? They will be much better if the Pack pulls out a win in Dallas.

Despite having 10 days to fix some issues, we think the absence of Adams and Williams on offense will prove to give the 'boys just enough room to eek out a win.

We're calling it Cowboys 27 - Packers 23.

Still...Go Pack Go!!!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

NFL Week 3 Review of Packers Win vs Broncos, NFL Week 4 Preview vs Eagles — Yet another twofer!

With about 1 hour to go before the Green Bay Packers meet the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field tonight, we're once again in a time crunch. Sorry. Again.

So...for a quick review of last week's game, here it is: the Packers beat the Broncos, as we predicted. We had the 11 point differential correct, albeit slightly more conservative in our score than was the final. But the main thing is, the Pack went to 3-0 on the season to continue their lead of the NFC North. Yay!

Tonight's Game vs. Philly

In last season's game at Philadelphia, NT Kenny Clark chases down
Eagles QB Carson Wentz. He'll need to do so again tonight.

Photo: Jim Matthews / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
The Pack's offense is still searching to find itself. They've scored more points in each game than they did the prior week, so that would be a good trend to continue. But some of the receivers still aren't living up to expectations and the running game is somewhat hit and miss. The Pack's defense, on the other hand, has been dominating at times, particularly in the secondary, and generating turnovers which have led to points for the offense. That also would be a good trend to continue. But the Packers run defense is leaving something to be desired, giving up 198 yards against the ViQueens and 149 yards rushing against the Broncos That has to get tightened up.

So with only 3 days to prepare for this game, how much improvement on both sides of the ball can we expect? Well, probably not much. But at a quarter of the way through the season now, you hope that some of the things that need to start clicking finally will.

The Prediction

The Eagles, it is said, could just as well be 3-0 as well as the 1-2 at which they now find themselves. They have issues, too. If the Pack's defense hadn't been generating 8 turnovers through the first 3 games, they could just as easily be 1-2, as well. But ... not.

The home field advantage counts for a lot on a short week. The oddsmakers favor the Packers by 5.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Eagles 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

NFL Week 2 Review of Packers Win vs Vikings, NFL Week 3 Preview vs Broncos — Another twofer!

Hello, again, Packer fans! Once again, despite best intentions, we're doing a combo post: first, reviewing (quickly) last weekend's Green Bay Packers win at Lambeau Field vs. the Minnesota Vikings and then taking a peak at today's game at Lambeau vs. the Denver Broncos.

The Win vs. the ViQueens

Packers RB Aaron Jones had a big day against the Vikings.
(Photo: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)

Let's say that the Packers' offense did just enough — in one quarter — and, coupled with the second outstanding performance in a row of the young season by the defense. to beat a good Minnesota team 21-16. With Vikes' QB Kirk Cousins doing his best impression of Chicago's Mitch Trubisky, the Packers' defense took advantage of timely turnovers...especially an ill-advised pass to the endzone late in the game that was picked off by DB Kevin King to basically seal the win for the Packers.

The Packers' offense, as noted above, finally showed signs of what it might be able to do throughout the season if it's firing on all cylinders. For a quarter, the squad looked darn near unstoppable. RB Aaron Jones had a great day rushing the ball. When QB Aaron Rodgers was able to get the ball out quickly to his receivers, good things happened.

Let's now see what, if anything, this game's performance might mean for today.

The Broncos Come to Town

In one of those rare occasions when the folks from the Mile High City venture to Green Bay, we get to see a Joe Flacco-led team in the friendly confines of Lambeau today. Flacco isn't the QB he used to be. And he is also prone to making ill-advised passes. So if the Packers' defense continues to perform as in the two opening games, there should be at least one or two opportunities to get turnovers.

Still, Denver should have beaten Da Bearz last weekend. If it weren't for a horrible roughing the passer call in the closing minute of the game to extend Chicago's drive, the Broncos would have won that game.

Denver has potent defenders in the form of linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the latter the victim of that horrible penalty call. But Denver's defense has been unable to register a sack through the first two games. Is it likely that streak will extend to three? Doubtful. Bryan Bulaga and David Bhaktiari will have their hands full, particularly if Rodgers holds onto the ball too long.

The Prediction

The oddsmakers have the Pack as 7-point favorites. That seems about right, although we think the Packers' offense will be able to get in gear more so than in the first two games. The defense will take care of itself.

We're calling this game 24-13 Packers over the Broncos.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

NFL Week 1 Review of Packers Win at Chicago, NFL Week 2 Preview vs Vikings — A twofer!

Just as in the first week back to our Packers blogging endeavor for 2019, we find ourselves in a time crunch. So we're doing a combination review of the Packers' win vs. Da Bearz from the Thursday night NFL 100th Anniversary opening game plus a preview of today's game at Lambeau Field against the ViQueens.

Week 1 — Packers Beat Da Bearz

It's been about 10 days now since the first game of the 100th year of NFL football which was, so fittingly, Green Bay vs. Chicago. And, also fittingly, the Packers beat Da Bearz in Chicago by a final score of 10-3. (Sorry to my dear friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan.)

If you love defense, this was the game for you. Chicago's top-ranked defense from 2018 seems not to have lost anything at this point. Still stingy. The Pack's new offense, under equally new head coach Matt LaFleur's direction, had a difficult time getting untracked due to that defense and the fact that the offense for the Packers really hadn't played much or at all in the four-game preseason schedule.

It especially showed for QB Aaron Rodgers, who never took a snap during preseason, and looked a bit rusty and had a lack of timing with some of his receivers. It wasn't until the second quarter that he seemed to establish a bit of a rhythm for a bit, which led to the go-ahead TD pass from Rodgers to TE Jimmy Graham. But the Pack's running game — which was supposed to be at the heart of this new offensive approach – just couldn't get going.

This was a game won be an impressive effort by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's unit. The offseason free agent pickups have already made a difference, actually pressuring and getting to the opposing quarterback, which was something not seen much in recent years. The Pack's defense, at least on this night, was the equal of Chicago. If that holds true for the remainder of the season, the Pack will be in good shape once the offense kicks into gear.

A great win, despite the 10-3 score, for the Packers!

Packers WR Davante Adams will likely be doing battle most of the game
with Minnesota DB Xavier Rhodes. Could determine much in the final outcome.
(Photo: Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)

Week 2 — Packers take on the ViQueens

The kickoff for today's game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay is less than two hours away as this is written. So let's not waste time with too many particulars.

The Pack is coming off a hard-fought defensive win in Chicago where the offense was able to do just enough, generate one TD and a field goal, to beat Da Bearz. A similar defensive effort will be needed today against a better offense than what the Pack faced in the opener.

But a better offensive effort will also be needed. Let's hope the 10-day interim since the last game allowed for a lot of tweaking and timing fixes. In particular, let's hope the Packers running game is able to get a bit more untracked today, although it's said that Minnesota's defense could be as tough as Chicago's at this point. If that's the case, this game could come down to a turnover or a late field goal.

The oddsmakers have given the Pack the 3-point home field advantage, effectively indicating it's a toss-up. Combined point total is projected to be in the vicinity of 43 points, so scoring is anticipated. (We anticipated that for the opener, as well, and were way off!)

The Prediction

With the Alumni Weekend and halftime tribute to the late, great Packers QB and head coach, Bart Starr, we have to believe that this 2019 team will rise to the occasion. Going 2-0 against NFC North Division rivals to start the season would be a great advantage as the season rolls on.

We're calling it 20-17 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

2019 NFL Season Packers Prediction Plus Packers vs. Bears Preview

Hello again, Packers fans! We're back after an extended hiatus.

As we've done at the beginning of every season since the inception of this blog in 2010, we've made a prediction as to how the Packers would wind up at season's end in terms of wins and losses. We don't do it game by game at this point — although we do individual games week by week — but rather break the 16-game season down as if they were quarters in a football game.

So let's begin with the first four games of the season. Games include Chicago, Minnesota, Denver and Philadelphia, the first away and the last three at home. Given the schedule and the nature of a new system under a first-year head coach, we're predicting 2-2 coming out of this first quarter of the season.

As we go to the second quarter of the 2019 season, the Pack plays Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Kansas City. Two games at home and two away. Initial reaction is to again go with a 2-2 prognostication here, but we think the Pack will pull a victory out of one of the possible two games they could just as easily lose. As a result, the Pack will go 3-1 to take us up to the halfway mark of the season.

The third quarter of the season includes the Pack's bye week in week #11. The Pack plays San Diego, er, oops, the LA Chargers...a-hem, Carolina and San Francisco, with two of the three on the road. But let's add in week #13 to this quarter (the 16-game season is spread over 17 weeks anyway, right?) just to keep things balanced. So that additional game is away against the NY Giants. We're saying the Pack will go 3-1 over this period despite three of the four games played on the road; the bye week comes well-placed after the first two games to help break up this road-heavy segment of the schedule.

The final quarter of the season has the Packers playing Washington, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit, the first two at home and the final two on the road. With the three final games against NFC North Division opponents, this is where the season could be made or broken in terms of division championship prospects or even a playoff appearance. We'll say the Pack will be firing on all cylinders at this point of the season and will take three out of the four to go 3-1 to close out the regular season.

So, in review, we have the Packers going 11-5 for the season which should put them in contention for the NFC North championship and at least a spot in the playoffs.

Packers vs. Bears Preview

We'll make it brief. The Packers have done very well in recent years against Chicago, even in enemy territory itself. QB Aaron Rodgers typically makes those infamous plays that ultimately put a dagger in the heart of Da Bearz. Chicago had the best defense in the NFL last season and that front seven is perhaps as good as they've had since the 1985 season...or so it's said. No one has really seen what the starting Packers offense or defense can bring to the field under the new head coach and staff. But the Packers have a better quarterback than Chicago and a better place kicker. Games are typically close and decided late.

If that holds true tonight, under perfect weather conditions, we have to go with the Packers, of course. But as my dear friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan points out, when don't I pick the Pack? Well, I don't, sometimes. But this isn't one of those times. Sorry, Bill. I also consulted with another dear friend, Jim the Roofer (in the interest of full disclosure, also a Packers fan), and we agreed.

We're calling it 27-24 Packers over Da Bearz.

Go Pack Go!!!

P.S. We know we're a bit behind with some updates here on the site, but we hope to get to them soon. At least before the end of the season.   :-)