Sunday, December 27, 2020

2020 NFL Week 16: Packers vs. Titans Preview and Prediction

A Quick Look Back

Well, Packers fans, the Pack did what they needed to do last week against Carolina, although not in the best way possible. They lit it up offensively in the first half behind a strong running game and then seemed to go almost totally away from that in the second half, allowing the Panthers to claw their way back to make it a far too close of a game down the stretch. A win is a win, but why a team would leave behind what's been working for an entire half to go to a different scheme ... ? Your guess is as good as ours ... or the head coach's for that matter. Mike LaFleur wasn't a fan of what the team did in the second half of that game and, hopefully, learned a valuable lesson without it costing the team a win. We'll see what happens going forward.

QB Aaron Rodgers will need a productive game tonight vs. the Titans
to help the Packers secure a win and hang on to the #1 seed for
the playoffs. (Photo by Dan Powers USA Today Sports)

The Preview

Most previews of tonight's game at Lambeau Field — the regular season home finale — seemingly begin and end with accolades and warnings about Titans' running back Derrick Henry. Radio Voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, said in preview interview that Henry has 100 yards before he gets off the bus. So there's that. 

Described as a "bulldozer" type back, Henry is well on his way to 2,000 yards rushing this season, coming in with nearly 1,700 yards rushing and 15 TDs. He tends to prefer to run between the tackles and look for cutback lanes, but he can also present problems when he gets around the edge. Against a weak run defense (any teams come to mind, Packer fans???), he can take over a game and be the best defense the Titans have by keeping QB Aaron Rodgers and his weapons off the field. That's not a good scenario. Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill is also having a good year overall. Combined, they contribute to the league's number-one ranked offense (before this weekend's games).

Of course, the Pack comes in with the NFL's third-overall offense. So we have strength against strength in tonight's game. Defensively, the Pack's numbers have actually been improving over the last few weeks to put them roughly in the middle of the rankings, give or take. The Titans defense, on the other hand, is toward the bottom of the rankings. Again, Wayne Larrivee described the Packers and Titans as basically mirror images of one another: both good in the same areas and challenged in the same areas.

The Packers will need to establish their ground game again tonight. When they stick with it, good things happen; when they go away from it, as they did in the second half last weekend, they don't always perform at a peak level. They need to feed Aaron Jones. Jamaal Williams likely won't play tonight so rookie RB A.J. Dillon should get some reps and can be a powerful addition at the goal line.

The ground game will be especially important this evening as snow is expected (it's falling at the time of this writing), with temps in the upper 20s and wind chills in the teens. Will be a tough environment for punters and kickers tonight. Conditions overall would seem to favor the better running team. But they should also favor Rodgers over Tannehill if receivers can make their catches.

The Prediction

The oddsmakers have set the Packers as 3 to 3-1/2 point favorites, depending upon your source. The over-under is indicated as 56 points. We agree with those saying this will likely be a shoot-out and could even come down to which team has the ball last. We hope not. We hate those types of games ... at least when the Pack is involved.

The Packers can clinch the number 1 playoff seed in the NFC tonight be defeating the Titans. The team has had an uncanny ability to follow up a poor performance (i.e., last week) with a good one, and to turn it up on defense when needed to hang on to a victory. Both of those traits will be called upon tonight to beat the best team the Packers will play until a potential Super Bowl berth.

We're calling it Packers 34 - Titans 31. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

2020 NFL Week 15: Packers vs. Panthers Preview and Prediction

An opening observation: Boy, there's a lot of "p's" in the title to this post!

OK, now that that's out of the way ... 

A reminder that the Packers beat the Lions 31-24 last week in Detroit to lock up the NFC North Division title for the second year in a row and the seventh time in the last 10 years. Yes, the Packers are the Kings of the North. 'Nuff said.

Except for this: the Packers also now hold the number 1 seed in the NFC playoff hunt by virtue of their tiebreaker win over the New Orleans Saints. If the Pack wins out, they have the lone first-round bye for the playoffs and then the road to the Super Bowl for the NFC runs through Green Bay. In January. Yeah, that's right.

And even if the Packers stumble in one of their three remaining regular season games — Carolina and Tennessee at Lambeau and then Da Bearz in Chicago for the season finale — they can still retain that number 1 seeding. Too complicated in terms of the scenarios to go into here right now. Plus, you can look it up. Lots of football left.

We should see Packers RB Aaron Jones heading to the end zone a lot
in tonight's game at Lambeau Field vs. the Carolina Panthers.
(Photo from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Preview

The 10-3 Green Bay Packers host the 4-9 Carolina Panthers tonight at Lambeau Field. The Panthers will be without arguably their best offensive player in RB Christian McCaffrey. QB Teddy Bridgewater has been rather mediocre and there hasn't been many receiving weapons for him that would pose a threat to the Packers defensive backs even if he was performing better. Still, the Packers defense needs to put pressure on Bridgewater because if they do they should be able to generate an interception or two tonight.

On the offensive side of things, the Packers continue to put up points and they should be able to do so once again tonight against a young set of Carolina d-backs. Unless the Packers defense fails to show up, the Panthers offense won't be able to keep up with the Pack.

The Prediction

The oddsmakers favor the Pack by 8-1/2 points at the time of this writing. We think the Packers will cover that spread ... if we were betting types (which we are not).

While the Panthers may be able to keep it close for a time, we expect QB Aaron Rodgers and his crew of receiving and rushing weapons to have a good evening. We're calling it Packers 38- Panthers 24.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

2020 NFL Week 14: Packers vs. Lions Preview and Prediction

A quick review of last week's win at Lambeau Field over the Philadelphia Eagles ... the Green Bay Packers won, 30 -16.

But wait, there's more! The Packers defense actually played pretty well, getting some sacks and second-year D-back Darnell Savage picking up his third interception of the season. As usual, on offense QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Davante Adams and RB Aaron Jones had great games individually. Rodgers threw his 400th TD pass and was the fastest ever in NFL history to do so in terms of the fewest games needed (we know, fastest/fewest sounds a bit confusing, but it works here). Not surprisingly, Adams was the recipient and was aware enough not to toss it into the empty stands. Instead, he knelt down and presented it to Rodgers as A-Rod was then symbolically "crowned" by TE Robert Tonyan. A real keeper moment, that.

And Jones scampered off to an amazing 77-yard TD run, as well. Another great moment, made even more memorable by the fact that LT David Bakhtiari himself trundled all the way down to the end zone as part of the escort. Analysis by those with the tools to do so showed that the big man was trucking along at 16.75 mph (NextGenStats)! Holy Roadrunner, Batman! Good hustle from the now highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Shows leadership and commitment. Kudos, Mr. Bakhtiari!

Oh, not that anyone pays much attention, but we were again close on our prediction: we had it 31-20 Packers. That missed PAT from Mason Crosby and one also by the Philly kicker who returned the favor...go figure.

We should expect to see a lot of TD celebrations in Detroit.
(Photo from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Preview

What to expect today? Well, for Detroit, we know QB Matthew Stafford can have some big games against the Packers. He's thrown for more TDs against Green Bay than any other team during his career. He's coming off a 400-yard passing game. And the Lions still, even with a 5-7 record coming into the game, are only a game back in the Wild Card hunt. So they have something to play for, certainly.

Plus, after former head coach Matt Patricia was relieved of his duties (about time) and replaced by offensive coordinator and former Wisconsin Badgers QB, Rose Bowl winner, Packers QB coach Darrell Bevell (was that enough Badgers/Packers ties for you?) as interim head coach the Lions got a win last week. We love to see Bevell do well as he is genuinely a good guy. But not when he plays against the Pack. So no love here today, Darrell, sorry.

The other thing that might be expected based upon past history is that the Packers could very well fall behind early. As Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Packers reporter Tom Silverstein points out: "In the last seven games – four of them at Lambeau Field – the Packers have fallen behind. Going backward from the teams' first meeting this season on Sept. 20, the deficits were, in order: 14-3, 17-3, 13-0, 31-0, 24-0, 27-3 and 20-3. The Packers rallied to win the most recent three games but lost the four prior to that, so falling behind again could be a recipe for disaster against a team trying to stay in the playoff race."

So...there's that. For most of this season, the Pack has gotten off to a hot start. It would do well for them to do so once again today in Detroit or they may wind up feeding the Lions' new confidence level following last week's 34-30 win against Da Bearz in Chicago. The Lions have been putting up points, even in their losses and, with a few notable exceptions — including their 42-21 loss to the Packers in their first meeting of the year and the 20-0 loss to the Panthers — usually keep the game within a score or two.

For the Packers, unless last week was an aberration, the defense looks to finally be on an upward arc. They got at Carson Wentz last week, even forcing a QB change, because they had him so rattled. They've started to generate some turnovers. Folks on that side of the ball seem to be generally healthy. May it continue thusly!

On offense, the Pack has been averaging nearly 32 points per game, leading the NFL in that category, while giving up an average of about 25 points per game. We'll take that any game of the season, won't we, Packer fans?

With WR Davante Adams having what some are beginning to call an MVP season in his own right, a complement of other receivers that Rodgers has confidence in — particularly TE Robert Tonyan — and a backfield consisting of Jones and Jamaal Williams, and an offensive line that, even missing starting center Corey Linsley is arguably the best in the NFL, there's no indication that the Pack won't again be putting up at least their season average of points today. Plus throw in the entrance of new returner and WR Tavon Austin and that may help spark some special teams magic ... which, let's admit it, certainly needs some magic on its coverage units. If the coverage units continue to plays as they have, i.e., not well, and the game is close, giving up a long return and or return for touchdown could be just the thing that flips the game to the opponent's favor.

The Prediction

It seems as if, not matter how poorly the Lions play over the course of a season, they play the Packers tough. We would expect nothing less today.

The Packers are listed as 7-1/2 point favorites at the time of this writing. Seems as if that's fair.

We're calling it Packers 38 - Lions 27.

Go Pack Go!!!
A late addition: My good friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan, after reading my prediction today, texted to say I'm living in fantasyland. Yeah, he really said that...and he being a Bearz fan! Anyway ... his prediction is 20-17 Lions. I know. But remember: he is a Bearz fan. Hasn't seen a good team in ages. gentle with him. He's a nice guy. Really.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

2020 NFL Week 13: Packers vs. Eagles Preview and Prediction

Packers fans: regardless of what else might be going on in the USA and around the planet, all is well and in balance in the universe when the Green Bay Packers beat Da Bearz. And that is exactly what happened last week when the Pack beat Chicago, 41-25, at Lambeau Field in front of a primetime TV audience. Doesn't get better than that. Oh, and let's just add that the game was nowhere near as close as the final score may indicate. Our prediction indicated it would be a bit tighter of a game. Very glad to say that it wasn't. The Packers now sit at 8-3 in the NFC North with the ViQueens and Da Bearz following at 5-6 and the Lions in their usual spot at the bottom of the standings at 4-7. The Packers can pretty well lock things up in the division today, if not officially then practically speaking, with a win over the 3-7-1 Eagles.

This is how we hope to see Packers QB Aaron Rodgers exit
the field after today's game vs. the Eagles: victorious!
(Photo by William Glasheen, Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-WI)

The Preview

The Packers have the highest scoring offense in the NFL once again this week, edging out Kansas City. The Pack is averaging 31.7 points per game. The Eagles come in at about 10 points less per game, 21.5. That spread bodes well for today. The Eagles offense has lost a lot of its offensive line, and will be starting its eleventh configuration in 12 games today. This should open some opportunities for the Packers pass rush today if they can get it going consistently. Put pressure on that line and sacks and turnovers would likely be in store.

Philly is also out some of their key offensive weapons. And while QB Carson Wentz is just a few years removed from an MVP calibre season, he seems to have faded a bit, particularly in terms of his passing accuracy when you look at the stats. But as Wayne Larrivee, "Radio Voice of the Green Bay Packers", said in a pregame discussion today, if you look at poor quarterback play you can usually factor in poor offensive line play and lack of weapons to rely on. Still, if the Pack's defense can exploit that weak offensive line and pressure Wentz, he will be off target. Now, Philly has a good running back who gave the Pack problems in last season's Eagles' win. So, the Pack's suspect run defense needs to show up as they did (except for one 50+ yard run) last week. Wasn't great, but it was better. That progress needs to continue.

The Eagles defensive front is solid. As for what that translates to for the Packers offense remains to be seen. Starting center Corey Linsley was placed on the 3-week IR list this week following the knee injury he sustained last week. Uber-utility lineman Elgton Jenkins will get the start at center today with rookie lineman John Runyan getting his first start. Runyan has filled in admirably when needed so we wouldn't expect any drop-off in play from the O-line.

We do hope that the line is able to open up some holes for the running game today. And they should be able to do so. For as problematic as the Packers run defense has seemed for most of this season, it actually ranks higher than Philly in terms of total yards given up (i.e., meaning giving up fewer yards). So yards should be had by the Pack's backs, thus opening up the passing and play action game for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and his receivers should have a big game today against the Eagles undersized defensive backs.

Special teams play for the Packers hasn't really be special this season. Newly-acquired returner/wide receiver Tavon Austin might have a chance to make a big difference. He brings speed. And while expected to be active today, news just hit that reportedly he is not, meaning Tyler Ervin likely is healthy and active for the game. Great to have fast options either way. Will be interesting to see which way the Packers go with these two players today.

The Prediction

The Packers are winning and the Eagles have lost 3 in a row. Admittedly, and as crazy as it sounds with that record, Philly is still alive in the horrible NFC East Division so they do have something to play for today.

The oddsmakers have put the point spread at 8-1/2 to 9 points in favor of the Packers, depending upon who you're looking at. We think that sounds about right.

We're calling it Packers 31 - Eagles 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

2020 NFL Week 12: Packers vs. Bears Preview and Prediction

Sadly, Packer fans, my prediction of a loss last week to the Colts came through. Took overtime to make it final. But a loss it was. After rushing out to a sizable first half lead ... well ... a change of fortunes in the second half and OT. A game there for the taking. But, no.

So instead we look to this evening's game vs. Da Bearz at Lambeau Field for a bit of revenge. In the storied 200-game history of this rivalry, the Pack has won 99 times, Chicago 95, with six ties. Let's make tonight an even 100 wins out of 201 games played, shall we?

Let's hope the Packers defense rises to the occasion and puts
pressure on Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky tonight.
(Photo by Dan Powers/USA Today Network - Wis)

The Preview

What we know is that the Packers offense will score. It hasn't always been as consistent throughout the course of a game as we might like, but it's been good enough to average about 30 points or so a game (4th best NFL offense overall) and help lead the Pack to a 7-3 record and a NFC North Division lead. And it's a good thing that offense has been as prolific as it has been behind QB Aaron Rodgers because the Pack's defense and special teams ... well, not exactly the picture of perfection to this point in the season.

While the state of the Packers defense and its coordinator, Mike Pettine, has been and is a point of much concern among fans, they seem to be able to rise when they have to more often than not. It's not the best approach for winning a Super Bowl, but it is what is right now. The biggest problem for the defense is not, arguably, talent but energy. Doesn't seem to be any vocal leadership this season. The Smith Brothers have been fairly quiet, as opposed to last season. Kenny Clark is double-teamed most plays. Linebackers? The schemes Pettine uses are also questionable, giving offenses too much room underneath, which even head coach Matt LaFleur  acknowledged this week. Let's see if that gets addressed tonight. Facing Mitch Trubisky ("Bisquet" as my friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan calls him) should also offer the defense some turnover opportunities ... he hasn't played in a while so let's hope he's a bit rusty and take advantage of that.

Offensively, it would be nice to see the Packers running game get untracked again tonight. Hasn't been as explosive as early in the season. Recovering that balance would help going down the regular season stretch. Davante Adams and Allen Lazard should factor in tonight, but I'm looking for a good make-up game from Marques Valdez-Scantling. I think he really took the overtime fumble last week hard. And I think he's growing into the role of really being a big-time receiver. He can stretch the field. He can make outstanding catches. He needs to be consistent. That redemption may well start tonight.

The Prediction

The Packers are 9-1/2 point favorites in this game. Big spreads always make me nervous. Still, unless the Packers offense gives the ball away multiple times and the defense comes out totally flat (both of which, admittedly are possibilities although not probabilities), the Packers will prevail.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Da Bearz 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

2020 NFL Week 11: Packers vs. Colts Preview and Prediction

Before the preview and prediction for today's game between the 7-2 Green Bay Packers and the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts, let's just quickly say that last week's game vs. the Jaguars certainly didn't play out as most thought it would. The Packers played one of their flatest games of the season on both sides of the ball in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. Why the team comes out with such little energy is hard to figure. And if it wasn't for the defense finally rising up to get some key stops down the stretch, the Pack would have had an embarrassing loss at home. Gotta give the Jags credit, though. They came to play, the Packers didn't. Thankfully, talent won out in the end. But ... whew!

Packers fans hope to see a lot of this type of TD celebration
in today's game vs. the Colts.
(Photo from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Preview

Today's meeting is a meeting of strengths: the Packers offense vs. the Colts defense. As good as the Pack's offense is, they have had trouble against smash-mouth defenses this season. The Pack's defense? Middle of the NFL rankings. So ... meh. The team's seeming Achilles heal to this point in the season. Today, they face veteran Philip Rivers behind a very solid pass-blocking offensive line. Rivers isn't mobile, but he doesn't need to be. Particularly against a Packers defense that hasn't exactly been exerting pressure...or generating turnovers.

This is the type of game that makes us nervous. It's a game that, on paper, the Packers should win. But even the oddsmakers aren't comfortable with things, installing the Colts as 1-1/2 to 2-point favorites over the Pack...which admittedly is not quite giving the Colts the full benefit of home-field advantage...but they aren't overly optimistic about the Packers in this scenario, either. A bit of a toss-up.

We're running a bit short on time for a fuller preview of the game today. Sorry. So let's just get right to the prediction, shall we?

The Prediction

Unless the Packers somehow are able to come out of their funk and bring some energy to the field for 60 minutes, they will come home with a loss. As much as we hope we're wrong, and as often as the Packers follow up a flat game with a good one, we just don't like the feel of things today.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Colts 31.

Still ... GO PACK GO!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

2020 NFL Week 10: Packers vs. Jaguars Preview and Prediction

The Green Bay Packers have one of their rare meetings — only the seventh ever — with the Jacksonville Jaguars today at Lambeau Field. The Packers are 6-2 and the Jags are 1-7. But as we know, on any given day ... 

More on that in a moment. But first, a word or two about last week's trip to the West Coast to take on the Pack's nemesis from last season, the 49ers. While losing twice to the Niners last season, including in the NFC Championship game, this time around the Pack had the benefit of playing an injury-depleted Niners team. The result was a Packers win, 34-17. Perhaps not a fair test. But a win's a win, thank you very much.

Now, back to today's game.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers should have a big
day against an inexperienced Jacksonville secondary.
(Photo via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Packers will need to bring their own energy to Lambeau today with no fans in the stands, something they failed to do in their last home game against the ViQueens, resulting in a very flat performance and the team's second loss of the season. Hopefully, lesson learned.

This Jaguars teams is young and inexperienced, particularly at quarterback where 6' 6" and sixth round pick Jake Luton is behind center for only the second time this season. He has a big arm and also a very good, fast receiver in DJ Chark, whom he teamed up with last week on a 73-yard TD play. So the Packers secondary is going to have to be sharp, especially since Jaire Alexander and Kevin King will be out again for today's game. The Jags also have free agent rookie RB James Robinson who has had two productive running games coming into today's game. As Packer fans are all too familiar with, the Pack's run defense often leaves much to be desired, especially in a base three-across defense which coordinator Mike Pettine seems to prefer. One plus is that there will be a new center-QB combination today for the Jags, which might also disrupt things on their end a bit, as well as give Kenny Clark an advantage up the middle.

For the Packers offense, QB Aaron Rodgers — despite the strong winds and perhaps sloppy conditions — should be able to do what's needed against an inexperienced Jaguars secondary. The Packers running game should also be counted on today, particularly with the weather conditions. One would think the play-calling by head coach Matt LaFleur would tend towards a pass-run balance. But who knows? He'll take whatever the Jags will give him.

The Prediction

The Packers are 13-1/2 point favorites at the time of this writing. Seems about right, don't you think?

But we'll kick it up a notch. We're calling it Packers 38 - Jaguars 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Thursday, November 05, 2020

2020 NFL Week 9: Packers vs. 49ers Preview and Prediction

Before anything else, Packer fans, lets clear the air...losing to the Minnesota ViQueens at Lambeau Field last Sunday stunk, didn't it? For as on track as they seemed, at least on offense, in the first half, everything just flopped in the second half. The defense is the Achilles Heel of this team. They had no pass rush, no run defense, and looked like a JV team playing the varsity. And it was the Vikes! And another game without any takeaways from the defense. C'mon, man!

Enough about that horrible game. And a chance for quick redemption tonight in San Francisco ... or Santa Clara, to be more geo-precise.

Packers RB Dexter Williams may well get the lion's share of
handoffs in tonight's game against the Niners.
(Photo by Dan Powers, Dan Powers/USA Today Network-Wis)

On a short week, and traveling to the West Coast to boot, the good news is that the Packers will be taking on a decimated 49ers team. Depending upon who you listen to, the Niners will have only three starters from last year's NFC Championship game on the field tonight. They have been hit extremely hard by injuries. Of course, the Pack has its own set of important players who either won't be playing tonight or are likely not to play. They are especially short-handed at running back as Aaron Jones is still listed as questionable. Jamaal Williams is out, as is A.J. Dillon. Dexter Williams may be the featured running back tonight.

One bit of good news on the receiver front is that Allen Lazard was on the team plane yesterday; he hadn't travelled recently as he was recovering from his injury. Head coach Matt LaFleur said yesterday that Lazard was "very close" to returning. Even if just running occasional routes as a decoy, that might help open up Davante Adams a bit. And, let's be honest, none of the other receivers have grasped the brass ring of opportunity during Lazard's absence. So his return to the field would be a boost, for sure.

On the defensive side of things for the Pack, the Niners schemes on offense seem to work no matter who they have at running back, quarterback or receiver. San Fran has defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's number. Complicating matters is the Pack's lack of depth right now at inside linebacker. Along with no pass rush, no tackling and no turnover capability.

But when push comes to shove...

The Prediction

When push comes to shove, the Packers still have Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams on the field. They don't play defense, granted, but we have to believe that as off as the Packers are in terms of personnel availability they still have more right now than do the Niners.

Apparently, the oddsmakers agree, favoring the Packers by 7 points. We never like these big spreads as it seems as if the Pack nearly always underperform in such situations.

With much trepidation, we still see it going Packers 24 - 49ers 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

2020 NFL Week 8: Packers vs. Vikings Preview and Prediction

Packers fans, the universe (at least the football version) was in balance once again this past week. After their 38-10 loss in Tampa Bay coming out of their bye week, the Pack resumed their winning ways in Houston last Sunday by a score of 35-20. And they looked fairly good doing it. 'Nuff said. Oh, except Da Bearz lost, so the Pack resumed their first place standing in the NFC North. There's that, too. Yay!

The Preview

The ViQueens make their annual visit to Lambeau Field. The 'Queens will be without their top 3 cornerbacks which, under normal conditions, would seem to make it an arial field day for QB Aaron Rodgers and his receivers, especially Davante Adams who had a huge receiving game in the season opener in Minnesota. The problem is the weather forecast calls for windy conditions, 25 mph, with gusts even higher. That may well affect the downfield passing game. But against the 'Queens defense, the short and medium passing attack should be able to keep the chains moving and the score increasing.

Conversely, Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins has had his issues with interceptions this season even under good weather conditions. He's been intercepted 10 times, including once by Packers CB Jaire Alexander.
Packers CB Jaire Alexander grabs an interception off Vikings QB
Kirk Cousins intended for WR Adam Thielen in the season opener.
(Photo by Dan Powers/USA Today Network-Wis)

In game conditions such as these, the ground game for both teams will be key. Minnesota will have RB Dalvin Cook back and will no doubt hope he can take over the game and keep Rodgers and company off the field. The Packers defense will have to see to it that doesn't happen. Stopping the run will be key, as will getting to Cousins and forcing him into a bad throw or two with interceptions the result. The Pack D has to start generating turnovers and playing against Cousins could be just what the doctor ordered.

The Packers will unfortunately be without RB Aaron Jones, who is out with a calf injury. Still, Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon will handle the running game just fine against a suspect defense and give Rodgers just enough flexibility to keep the 'Queens on their heels.

An area of real concern is the availability of kicker Mason Crosby who missed some practice time this week with a left calf and back injury. He's currently (at the time of this writing late Saturday), listed as questionable. If he can't go, backup plans call for either using punter JK Scott in that role or signing rookie kicker Nick Vogel, who had a tryout Friday. Not a great situation under good weather conditions, let alone what's expected Sunday in terms of the havoc that wind conditions can have on punters, kickers and long snapper. Let's hope that the game doesn't come down to that. It shouldn't.

Other Packers listed as questionable at this moment are LT David Bakhtiari, RB Tyler Ervin, safeties Darnell Savage and Raven Greene, DL Tyler Lancaster, and TE John Lovett.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 6-1/2 points coming into this game. The over-under is set at 50. We see the Pack continuing its domination of the NFC North.

We're calling it Packers 31 - Vikings 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

2020 NFL Week 7: Packers vs. Texans Preview and Prediction

A quick look back ...  


Before we look at the upcoming game against the Texans in Houston today, we need to acknowledge that things didn't go as planned in last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, did they, Packer fans? After rushing out to a quick and relatively easy 10-point lead, the Pack proceeded to give up 38 unanswered points. An ugly performance on both sides of the ball that saw the Pack fall from the ranks of the undefeated and, for a time anyway, cede first place in the NFC North to Da Bearz (ewwwww!).

The Bucs defense had constant pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers throughout the game, leading to two uncharacteristic interceptions, two within three passes actually (including a pick-6 return), while the Pack's D let a non-mobile Tom Brady go by nearly untouched. The offense couldn't get going and the defense seemed lethargic and out of position constantly. Example: why was DT Kenny Clark dropping into coverage? Who knows. Either out of position or a badly designed scheme. But anyway, that's done. First loss of the season. On to Houston.

One of the things that has been in short supply this season for the Packers has been
turnovers. Here, safety Adrian Amos gets an interception last season against the Bears.
The defense needs to start generating takeaways. (Photo by Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Preview

The game at Houston will pit a potentially explosive offense (Texans) against an actually explosive offense (Packers)...despite the latter not actually being so in last week's game, this year's Packers have been known to put up points. Thankfully, the Texans defense ranks at or near the bottom of the league in terms of defense, which sets things up nicely for the Packers to get back on track after the stumble against the Bucs.

Despite not having LT David Bakhtiari for today's game, perhaps not having RB Aaron Jones (supposedly a game-time decision), and going against all-world (and Wisconsin native) DE JJ Watt, this game sets up well for the Packers offense to put up points.

On the other side of the ball, the Packers defense — which clearly has some of its own issues to resolve — will be going up against the type of quarterback in Deshaun Watson that has typically given them fits over the years. Yes, a different year and set of players. But for the last few years, the same defensive coordinator and scheme. Watson is dangerous when flushed from the pocket. He will be hard to corral and sack. And if he is able to get around the end he can either open things up downfield for a pass or scamper to keep the chains moving.

The Prediction

The Packers come into this game (at the time of this writing) as 3-1/2 point favorites. The Packers need to get the running game going today to not allow Watt and company time and opportunity to get after Rodgers the way the Buccaneers did last week. As noted earlier, it's not clear at this time whether Jones will be active in the backfield today. So Jamaal Williams, A.J. Dillon and other backs, such as Dexter Williams just activated off the practice squad (perhaps a sign that Jones won't be available today), will have to carry the load. If they can do so successfully we should see the offense we saw in the first four games of the season, not the last one. Of course, it would help if the defense could generate a turnover or two, as well, something that they've only done three times in five games so far.

We're calling it Packers 34 - Texans 27.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 NFL Week 6: Packers vs. Buccaneers Preview and Prediction

Hope you enjoyed the Week 5 Bye Week, Packer fans. Always a time to ... I dunno ... what does one do when the Pack isn't playing? A mystery to me still.

Seems like years ago — instead of just two weeks — we took down the Falcons at Lambeau Field by a score of 30-16. (By the way, our prediction, for those watching such things, and which you can find in the prior post here, was Packers 30 - Falcons 20 ... not bad, eh?)

Anyway, today we find our beloved 4-0 Green Bay Packers heading down to Tampa and a meeting with veteran QB Tom Brady and a very good 3-2 Tampa Bay team.

Two future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers meet up today for
only the third time in their playing careers. (Photo by USA Today Network - Wisconsin)

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 1 point going into the game. Earlier in the week, the Bucs were favored by 1-1/2 points. But as it became clearer that the Pack would be getting a few of their key players back today, chief among them WR Davante Adams, the odds changed.

We're not going to go into details today. Getting a bit late for that anyway. But we will say that the Packers will likely be challenged on both sides of the ball in ways they haven't been yet this season. And they certainly haven't faced Brady, who has been as magical over his career as has Rodgers in close games. With six Super Bowl wins to his credit he knows how to get things done. And understatement, to say the least. But Rodgers is looking like he hasn't in years, and with weapons galore — even against a stout Bucs defense — the odds favor the Pack going to 5-0 today.

That's why we're calling it Packers 34 - Buccaneers 30.

Go Pack Go!!!

Monday, October 05, 2020

2020 NFL Week 4: Packers vs. Falcons Preview and Prediction

The Green Bay Packers come into tonight's primetime game against the Atlanta Falcons at 3-0, looking fairly dominating in their performances to date, especially on offense. But before we say more, first, let's take a moment and raise a toast to that win in New Orleans last week. A great team win. We won't take the time to rehash it here. 

Back to tonight's game ... The offensive domination has been especially impressive given the team's top receiver, Davante Adams, hasn't played basically in the last 2 games and most likely will be held out again tonight despite his Tweet of early morning today indicating his frustration with that decision being taken out of his hands by management. The Falcons? Zero wins so far. Two 4th quarter lead collapses of epic proportions. But, they have weapons, including WR Julio Jones who is dressed and on the field right now for warmups. He seems to always have big games — of the 100-yard-plus variety — against the Pack. And they have QB Matt Ryan who can always go deep to receivers who can cover a lot of ground quickly.

Tonight will be a bit different for the Pack. QB Aaron Rodgers will be throwing to the B-squad receivers tonight. In addition to Adams being out, so will be Allen Lazard after a huge coming out game. It's likely there will be some other guys out, perhaps even Center Corey Linsley and, on defense, Jaire Alexander, to name just two.

So the Pack will not be firing on all cylinders tonight. Will the Falcons? And even if so, in what is a real desperation game for them (to avoid going 0-4), can they still beat the Packers?

The Prediction

The Packers come into this game favored by 7 points ... which always makes us nervous. So does the coming bye week, which can sometimes set up the current game as a trap game. Expect the Falcons to score points, expect them to go deep more than once, and likely score off those opportunities.

But the Packers have Rodgers, a creative play-caller in head coach Matt LaFleur, a versatile running back in Aaron Jones, and young tight ends who are coming on. Yes, they don't have their best wideouts in this game. But one or more of those young players will step up tonight and make a name for themselves. The Pack activated former CFL standout Reggie Begelton from the practice squad today so we may get a chance to see what he can bring to the field, too.

We think there will be a fair amount of points put up by both teams. But the Packers, unless they really are already checking out for the bye week, will put up more. And in the end, that's what matters. Let's hope the Pack can get up early and take some of the steam away from Atlanta. If that happens, the Pack will be 4-0 going into the bye.

We're calling it Packers 30 - Falcons 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

2020 NFL Week 3: Packers vs. Saints Preview and Prediction

The Green Bay Packers play the New Orleans Saints down Louisiana way tonight in the Pack's first primetime football game of the season. More on that in a moment.

But first, let's just quickly acknowledge the Pack's second straight division win of the young season last weekend vs. the Lions at Lambeau Field. Not your usual home opener with the dearth of fans due to Covid-19 restrictions, except for the fact that the Pack did to the Lions what they have usually done over the years: win. The Packers doubled up the Lions, 42-21 on a spectacular offensive performance, particularly by RB Aaron Jones (we rightly also need to acknowledge a good defensive effort). Jones rushed for a career high 165 yards and contributed significantly in the passing game as well, to finish with a load of all-purpose yardage to his credit. The downside was that WR Davante Adams, who just the week before against Minnesota tied legendary WR Don Hutson's Packers record of 14 receptions in a single game, left early in the game with a mild hamstring injury. That injury may keep him out of tonight's game, as well. Early reports are that he will be a game-time decision, but you can't imagine the team exposing him to longer-term injury if they can get by without him tonight. Better with him, definitely, but can't risk a season-long loss, either.

What about tonight against the Saints?

The oddsmakers give the Saints the home field advantage of 3 points to win. They also figure this to be a high-scoring game, with a total over-under of 52.5 points; given the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and both teams' potent pass and rush schemes, that's quite understandable. The Pack has sure been prolific in their first two games.

Given that both teams will likely be without their top receivers — Adams for the Packers and Michael Thomas for the Saints — expect both teams to exploit their running games to open up the passing game even more. The Saints will have to try to contain not only Jones on the Packers side of things but also Jamaal Williams.

Packers RB Jamaal Williams breaks away during the game at Minnesota.
He offers a powerful and explosive counterpoint to Aaron Jones,
giving the Saints a lot to worry about.
(Photo by Dan Powers, Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis)

We think that both teams' defenses will be challenged, despite how good they each are in their own ways. They each have their weaknesses, too. If Packers DT Kenny Clark is able to get on the field tonight that will certainly aid the Pack's defensive efforts.

The Prediction

We think that the Pack has just a bit more than the Saints across the board at this stage of the season. Taking away the crowd that brings such an advantage to the SuperDome means Rodgers and crew will be able to get their play calls made without the usual difficulty. So that is a plus for the Pack.

Still, wouldn't you expect a shootout?

We're calling it Packers 34 - Saints 31.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

2020 NFL Week 2: Packers vs. Lions Preview and Prediction

The Green Bay Packers have their season home opener today at historic Lambeau Field against the Detroit Lions. More about that in a moment. But first, a quick review of last week's game vs. the ViQueens.

Recap of win at Minnesota

The Packers won at Minnesota last weekend 43-34. The final score was closer than the actual tone of the game, which was basically a result of the Packers' defense not closing things out in the 4th quarter: with every Packers' score there seemed to be a subsequent score by the Vikes ... 3 TDs plus 3 consecutive 2-point conversions.

On the field for just 49 defensive plays thanks to the time of possession domination by the Packers' offense, the D seemingly picked up where they left off from the NFC Championship Game vs. the Niners by giving up a ton of rushing yards. One could argue that the second half defensive problems were the result of DT Kenny Clark leaving the game with an injury (and who, by the way, will not see action today). But it just seemed that what was exposed against the Packers in that Championship game was also attacked by Minnesota. We could expect that to continue until the Packers figure out a way to shut down the run.

Having said all that, the Pack came away with a win largely due to — shocking! — the stellar play of QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams, who tied the nearly 70-year-old game receptions record (14) of legendary receiver Don Hutson. Rodgers looked in mid-season form. If he keeps this up all season, other teams should be very afraid.

Packers WR Davante Adams making one of his 14 record-tying receptions against
the Vikings last week. Expect him to continue his stellar performance against Detroit.
(Photo by Dan Powers / USA Today Network - Wis)

But on to today's game against the Lions...

According to the Packers Game Day program, the Pack come into this game on a 6-game regular season win streak going back to last season. The Packers have won 7 straight home openers and since 2007 are 12-1 in their home openers. The Pack also have a 17-3 home opener record vs. the Lions since 2000. As fans will recall, the Packers swept Detroit in 2019, although the 2 games were decided by a total of 4 points. Crikey!

Today, while the Pack will be without RG Lane Taylor who was lost for the season in last week's game and Clark, as mentioned earlier, Detroit will be without three of its starters, including corners Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant in the defensive backfield. Expect Rodgers and the WR corps to exploit that weakness. If the running game is able to provide balance (and probably, even if it isn't), this should be another game with a solid offensive performance led by the air game.

The defense...ah, the defense. Without Clark in the lineup it's likely that Tyler Lancaster and Kingsley Keke will share time at the position. Montravius Adams might also see action in his return from a toe injury. They and the entire defense will also not want to overlook the return of veteran RB Adrian Peterson who often, in ViQueens colors, literally had a field day when playing at Lambeau. Where the Packers had problems last week was when runs were bounced to the outside. No doubt the Lions will test that early and often. If you don't contain Peterson, and don't pressure QB Matthew Stafford, it could be another close game.

The Prediction

The Packers are favored by 6-1/2 points at the time of this writing. Seems reasonable. We think it will be a game similar to last week where the Packers can get out to an early lead and the defense will allow the Lions to keep hanging around. Still, the Packers have more than Detroit, are at home — albeit without the home crowd advantage — and will win to go to 2-0 in the division.

We're calling it 38-27 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

2020 NFL Week 1: Packers vs. Vikings Preview and Prediction

With less than an hour before kickoff in Minneapolis, we're going to skip a game preview ... just too many unknowns for us — other than the usual Pack-Vikes rivalry, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, the Smith Brothers, etc. ... and go straight to the prediction.

The ViQueens are favored by 2-1/2 points, basically a shade under the home field advantage. Because there will be no fans in the stands, although probably that stupid horn will be blowing, it's hard to know what advantage there will be.

We figure this will be a close game. Lots of weapons for both teams on each side of the ball. But whether the offense or defense of either team dominates at this point, without benefit of any preseason play at all...???

We'll take the Packers (shocking, right?) 27-24.

Go Pack Go

Packers 2020 Season Prediction

Happy Kickoff Sunday, Packers fans!

It's finally arrived ... albeit among Covid-19 et al. Not sure whether there will be a full season for the Pack or not. But, with game time fast approaching (and with such a gap between posts...sorry!), let's just do what we've always done before the start of a season: make a season prediction. Today's game prediction vs. the ViQueens will be in a separate post.

We've always predicted a season using a quarters system rather than individual games. So let's break down the season quarter-by-quarter and give you our take on how the wins-losses looks to us...without benefit of any preseason looks, of course.

2020 1st Quarter

There are two home games and two away games, starting with the Vikes away, the Lions at home, Saints away and Atlanta at home. We're calling this quarter at 2-2. Basically, this first month is the preseason. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it's loaded with good teams who will also be working out the bugs. It's 50-50 here.

2020 2nd Quarter

The 2nd quarter of the season begins with the bye week in week #5. Yeah, not ideal. But after the bye comes two away games, at Tampa (vs. Tom Brady) and Houston, and then the Vikes again at Lambeau Field. We're going 2-1 here.

2020 3rd Quarter

As with the 1st quarter of the season, the Pack alternates away and home games, beginning with a road trip against San Francisco (revenge!), then Jacksonville at home, Indianapolis on the road, and Da Bearz at Lambeau. We'll go 3-1 here.

2020 4th Quarter (Extended)

Because of the bye week in week #5, this final (extended quarter, we call it) has 5 games, three at home -- Philadelphia, Carolina and Tennessee — and two on the road against NFC North Division opponents Detroit and finishing the regular season against Chicago. We'll go 3-2 here.


If the final math is correct (add, subtract, divide by 100, carry the 1...) we predict the Packers will go 10-6. Whether that wins them the NFC North or is good enough for a wild card, we expect the Packers to be in the playoffs.

How the season, if played in full plays out given this bizarre set of circumstances in which all the teams, and we, find ourselves remains a huge question mark.

But no matter... GO PACK GO!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

2020 NFL Draft Day! What will the Green Bay Packers do?

Welcome back, Packers fans. It's Day 1, Round 1, in the 2020 NFL Draft!

And, yes, we have taken an extreme hiatus since our last post (before the NFC Championship Game). Didn't quite work out the way we had anticipated. At all. Sent much of Packerland into a season-ending funk that has lasted months. Of course, the COVID-19 thing has certainly not helped moods, either, has it? Stay well and stay safe out there, friends. That's the most important thing. After all, if you aren't physically on the planet any longer to go to the hair stylist, favorite pub, beach or whatever...none of those things really matter, do they? Be smart. Lots of stupidity happening out there in some circles. Don't be a future Darwin Award winner!

OK, now that that's all out of the way...

A few early thoughts on the Packers first pick

Here are just a few comments we made in a response to Twitter post early today. Take 'em for what they are worth ... which is basically as good — and as bad — as anyone else's thoughts on the matter. We've expanded on them a bit in case you caught our original comments @packfansunited on Twitter.

Wide receiver seems to be the position most are hoping will the Pack's pick at #30, including some involving a trade to get up to #20 for Justin Jefferson (LSU). Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has 10 picks going into this draft, so he has the options to package things to move up if he so chooses. Wide receiver, an impactful one, is certainly an area of need for the Pack and it will be addressed. The question in this draft is when, as this is a deep draft at receiver.

WTMJ-620 radio in Milwaukee had a conversation this a.m. that reminded us not to forget about needing a solid O-lineman. Josh Jones (Houston) may be available at No. 30 as well as Austin Jackson (USC). Wouldn't be the sizzly pick fans would hope for. But getting a tackle to learn from Ricky Wagner for a year wouldn't be the worst idea, would it? Gutey could then possibly grab WR Laviska Shenault (CO) in the 2nd round. He could add a bit of that pizzazz the receiving corps needs.

Defensive line and linebackers are also top needs, as all Packer fans know. Given depth in this draft at WR, unless Gutey has totally fixated on "his guy", he could pop in this group, too. Because D-line help is also deep in this draft, we'd expect him to not use his 1st round pick here.

Naturally, if Gutey feels he can still address a need with one of his targets by dropping back a bit into the top or middle of the 2nd round, and acquiring even more picks, he could do that, as well. And, again, given the depth at a couple of the needed positions, depending how this draft falls, that could be what transpires. We wouldn't be surprised.

A few of the other positions that have been mentioned as possible picks at #30 are quarterback and running back. We don't see those as realistic options this early given other more pressing needs.

Anyway, if we have a change of view as the day goes on, we may have more to say. Or not. Love NFL Draft Days, don't you, Packer fans?!

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 NFC Championship Game: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers - Preview & Prediction

Quick review: The Packers beat the Seahawks in Green Bay in the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs last weekend, 28-23. It was a battle, as was expected. The Pack played one of their better games in all phases of the game. And they closed it out by never giving the ball back to Seattle late in the game due to timely and needed third down conversions. Packer fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Of course, that was temporary. Because next up, for the NFC Championship, was and is the San Francisco 49ers who the prior day had dispatched the Minnesota Vikings.

Which brings us to today.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will need to be "in a Superman cape", according
to former Niners QB Steve Young, for the Pack to have a chance to win today.
(Photo: Stan Szeto, Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Preview by way of review

Outside of Packers fans, of course, not many are giving the Packers a chance today. The Niners are favored by 7-1/2 points going into the game. Much of this, or at least a good deal of it, has to due with the Week 12 blow out that the Niners won by 29 points on their home turf, 37-8.

Well, here we are once again, on their home turf in Santa Clara. But while home field is important, typically 3 points to the favor of the home team, that doesn't explain the dismissiveness with which the Packers are considered in this game. Frankly, the Pack just didn't show up at the earlier game. They were lethargic, playing-calling was mediocre, and they allowed themselves to get beat in every phase of the game. Yes, there were some horrible penalty calls that didn't help matters, as well as turnovers that set up the Niners in great position to score. And they did. When the Niners had to go a long ways they usually did so passing to receivers who had no defenders within the same zipcode. It was horrible defense and the offense did nothing to help mitigate the damge. By all measures, it was a throw-away game.

But the Packers learned from that loss. The defense had a closed-door players-only meeting after they returned to Green Bay from that game. They wouldn't be as porous or soft in a game since. And the Packers haven't lost since, either. They tightened up. And with the Packers offense finally getting more in sync, albeit still not seemingly firing on all cylinders for lack of receiving threats other than Davante Adams, the team learned how to battle for a full 4 quarters, right down to the wire. In the end, a 13-3 record was the result...the #2 seed...only missing the top seed by virtue of about 12 inches and a TD on a stop in a game in which they were not participants. Oh, and their opponent is also 13-3. Seems pretty even doesn't it?

Not if you listen to the pundits. They emphasize the strength of the Niners defense, particularly the front four, who were able to dominate the Packers O-line in the last outing, a line which, by the way, lost RT Bryan Bulaga early on and had to replace him with Alex Light who was an unmitigated disaster in a backup role. Bulaga is back and is also now backed up most capably by veteran lineman Jared Veldheer.

The Niners offense will have its trio of running backs — Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breidain — in gear. They ran and ran on the Vikings last week and wore down that defense. The Pack's defense must find a way to minimize the Niners rushing attack in order to force young QB Jimmy Garoppolo to beat them. Given time and porous coverage, Garoppolo can certainly do damage; he's got a good arm and, admittedly, a winning record in his young career. His offensive line has protected him well, which accounts for a good deal of his success; defenses this season, with few exceptions, haven't made life difficult for him in the pocket. Somehow, someway, the Packers defense has to make him uncomfortable. A few sacks and lots of pressure by the Smith Brothers, Kenny Clark and others would go a long way to making a Packers win more of a possibility. That, and somehow also finding a way to tackle TE George Kittle when he gets the ball in his hands. He could single-handedly do some big damage if left unchecked. Not going to be easy to do.

The Packers offense, has shown signs of being on the same page in the last six games or so. Even QB Aaron Rodgers has said, “The last six weeks, I’ve felt really locked in on the preparation, and I think that’s helped us on offense to really be on the same page.” What else has helped are receivers and tight ends stepping up and making clutch catches instead of drops. Having a solid running game behind Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams is going to be key to opening up the passing game for Rodgers and keeping the Pack in the game. Special teams also needs to come up big. The pick up of Tyler Ervin and his insertion as returner and occasional running threat has been a boost, as well.

Bottom line: all the pressure is on San Fran as no one expects the Packers to win. But the Packers can match up with the Niners.

The Prediction

This game will not be a reprise of Week 12's blow out loss for the Packers. This will be a 4-quarter game, likely down to the wire as has been the case for the Pack throughout much of the season. The Packers have nearly perfected into an art form this season the "bend-don't-break" defense. They should be able to get at least one turnover that will be converted into points. We think they'll also give up more field goals than touchdowns today. Finally, in a close game, who would you rather have with the ball: Garoppolo or Rodgers? Yeah, us too.

We're calling this game Packers 27 - 49ers 26.

Go Pack Go!!!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Divisional Playoff vs. Seahawks: Preview & Prediction

We've done our now infamous "twofers" for the entire season, Packers fans. The last being a review of week 16's win over Minnesota and a preview of week 17, which was the win over Detroit. Seems like forever ago, doesn't it? Amazing what a week off will do. So, rather than waste time on reviewing the Detroit game, let's move right along to this afternoon's Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field vs. the Seattle Seahawks (eeeewwwww!!!).

The Preview

The Seahawks make their way to Lambeau Field today by virtue of their win last weekend in Philadephia over the Eagles. Many didn't see that one coming, most of all the Eagles. Of course, losing their starting QB, Carson Wentz, after an obvious cheap shot helmet to helmet hit early in the game by DE Jadeveon Clowney (not penalized and also no fine...go figure!) didn't help. The Packers O-line better make sure Clowney doesn't get anywhere close to QB Aaron Rodgers today to make a play like that even possible...or the tide could and would turn quickly in favor of Seattle.

Still, it nearly goes without saying that any team with Russell Wilson at quarterback is a team to be feared. He is, in the estimation of many pundits, if not currently the best and most dangerous QB in the game right now one of the top two or three. While he'll be playing behind an offensive line that may feature several backup players (starting LT and LG may not play today), Wilson's legs can still rip off big gains when he breaks the pocket, which can happen at any time. He also has a legitimate deep threat receiving target in rookie wideout DK Metcalf. Wilson can throw one of the best deep balls in the game and the Packers secondary has been known to be susceptible to the deep ball most of the season. Throw in RB Marshawn Lynch now in his third week back at running back and it gives the Packers defense a lot to worry about. Despite being without their top three running backs, top two tight ends and starting center, Seattle can still put up points, and quickly, if you let them get rolling.

Prime objectives for the Packers defense: contain Wilson in the pocket, don't let Lynch regain his former glory, and don't let Metcalf get behind you deep. Simple, right? A big help in this effort will be Kenny Clark dominating in the middle, the "Smith Brothers" getting plenty of pressure on Wilson in the pocket without letting him break containment, the secondary covering receivers tightly, and everyone making sure tackles when they get their shots. Oh, and getting a turnover or two wouldn't hurt either; Wilson has had his problem throwing interceptions in his games at Lambeau...let's hope that problem continues today.

Defensively, the Seahawks will likely be in a Cover 3 defense most of the game. Nothing too fancy, but they are very solid at what they do. As a result, nothing for the Packers offense will be a gimme, especially in terms of the offense's general out-of-sync-ness most of the season, at least in terms of the passing game. We should expect a big dose of RBs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams today, with QB Aaron Rodgers making key throws to WRs Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, with TEs Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis getting a few reception opportunities. WR Jake Kumerow could also pick up a big catch or two, along with TE Robert Tonyan. It will take a solid effort from the Pack's offense, with no turnovers, to come out on top today.

That's funny. I don't care who you are...that's funny!
Fan-sponsored billboards with this message appeared around Green Bay this week.

The Prediction

As the billboard above says, "The Gum Stops in Green Bay!", a reference to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's infamous gum-chewing ways. An enterprising Packers fan had several of these electronic billboards put up this week around Green Bay. They express every Packer fan's wish for today: the gum-chewer's — and Seattle's — playoff run stop in Green Bay. Can I get an "Amen"?

The Packers are favored by 4-1/2 points coming into this game. The Seahawks haven't won at Lambeau Field since 1999, losing eight straight. Russell Wilson is 0-3 here. Those streaks should continue today.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Seahawks 24.

Go Pack Go!!!