Friday, December 24, 2021

2021 NFL Week 16: Packers vs. Cleveland Browns Christmas Day Preview and Prediction

Merry Christmas! May you have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

One of our shared Christmas wishes as Packer fans, of course, is for a Christmas Day win over the visiting Cleveland Browns. In looking ahead, though, we need to take a quick look back at last weekend's skin-of-your-teeth win in Baltimore.

It was certainly a much closer margin of victory than most — including the oddsmakers — had projected. Us, too. But the Pack did enough to win, as they have been doing in 11 of the 14 games they have played this season and, in the process, secured the NFC North Division title for the third year in a row and the number one seed atop the NFC for at least the time being.

The Preview

Because this is an inter-conference game, what we know about the Browns is that they are 7-7, have underperformed expectations because of injuries and COVID-19 challenges. They had 19 players on reserve/COVID-19 at the start of the week — including QB Baker Mayfield — with six more players on injured reserve. Their best defensive player, Myles Garrett, is questionable with a groin injury. But if those two players in particular are able to go Christmas Day, this game may be another one of those that goes down to the wire ... especially if the Packers defense plays as they did in Baltimore and special teams continues its problematic performance.

DT Kenny Clark should return to the Packers defense
for the game against the Browns.
(Photo by Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

One boost for the Packers might be the return of Kenny Clark to the middle of the defensive line. He was missed last week, out with the COVID protocols. He was able to return to practice this week, but will likely be a game-time decision. Our guess is that if he's able to go he will, if not fully at least in spot work.

Anyway, it's Christmas Eve as we write let's just get right to the prediction, shall we?

The Prediction

Currently, the Packers are favored by 7-1/2 points at the time of this writing. While the Pack didn't cover the spread last week (8-1/2 points), we think that at home and with retention of the No. 1 seed in the NFC in their own control, the Packers will come away with the win.

We're calling it Packers 27 - Browns 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

Ho ho ho ...

Sunday, December 19, 2021

2021 NFL Week 15: Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens Preview and Prediction

First, a quick word about last week's win vs. Da Bearz: interesting. Yes, that's the word. From getting down early, and getting down embarrassingly, the Packers overcame one of the worst special teams' performances in recent memory ... in a season of bad special teams' play, this one took the cake, didn't it? No need for the details. If you saw the game, you know. But the defense and offense kicked it in gear in the second half and came away with a 45-30 victory. So QB Aaron Rodgers — and the Packers — ownership of that team from Chicago continues. Our condolences to their fans, such as our good friend Billy Da Bearz Fan. But as Buddha reminds us, life is suffering. And that's especially true for fans of Da Bearz. So it goes.

The Preview

The Packers travel to the East Coast for today's match up against the Ravens. It's a game that might be perhaps known more for those who are not playing than those who are, particularly on the Ravens side of things. QB Lamar Jackson looks to be out, which is a plus for the Packers. Also a plus is that the Ravens defensive backfield is shorthanded due to injury and Covid protocols.

The Packers defense will likely not have to chase Ravens QB Lamare Jackson
today, as he is reportedly out with an ankle injury sustained in last week's game.
(Photo by Gail Burton, AP)

The Packers will, however, have to face the league's number 1-ranked rushing defense. The Pack's piecemeal offensive line will be challenged against the Ravens big defensive front. Opening running lanes will be difficult. But if the line can hold up against the pass rush, Rodgers could have a big day. Look for WR Davante Adams to likely be doubled-teamed most of the day, which could allow other receivers — including RB Aaron Jones — to have opportunities for big plays.

Bottom line: it seems as if this will be a chess match where weaknesses on each side look to be exploited by the opposing side. In terms of scoring potential, without Jackson especially, the edge goes to the Packers. And while the Pack's defense will be missing NT Kenny Clark up front today, it's in better shape overall than are the Ravens. Barring more special teams' disasters today, the Pack should come out of this game with a win.

The Prediction

The Packers are currently favored by 8-1/2 points at the time of this writing.

We're calling this game Packers 34 - Ravens 20.

Go Pack Go!!!

A Special Nod to The Badgers Women's Volleyball Team

Last evening, the University of Wisconsin's Women's Volleyball Team won its first-ever NCAA Championship. By defeating Nebraska 3 sets to 2 in a hard-fought match, the Badgers accomplished something they had been denied on 3 prior trips to the finals. Congratulations to the squad and the coaching staff! Go Badgers!! On Wisconsin!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

2021 NFL Week 14: Packers vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction

When we last saw our beloved Green Bay Packers, they were dispatching the LA Rams, 36-28, in a game that really wasn't as close as the final score indicated...even though a successful on-side kick in the last minute of play might have made it so.

As it was and is, the Pack went into (finally!) their bye week at 9-3. An opportune time to get QB Aaron Rodgers' broken toe time to recover a bit, without surgery. Also a chance to get some players back for the stretch run into the playoffs. And then to get the gift of Da Bearz coming into Lambeau Field for a Sunday night primetime game. Yes, please!

We hope to see RB A.J. Dillon being congratulated for his efforts again today.
The Packers will want to have a balanced pass-run attack against Chicago tonight.
(Photo by Dan Powers /USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

The Preview

Do we really need to do more of a preview than to repeat what Rodgers said to some Chicago fans after scoring a TD in the last meeting in Chicago? You know, that ownership thing? I think not.

Granted, rookie QB and future hoped-for ChiTown savior, Justin Fields, is back from his rib injury and has been named the starter today. The Packers defense will have to account for his ability to run. But they've handled Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes so there is no reason to believe they won't handle Fields. But it wouldn't be surprising if the Packers get a few turnovers today, either.

For the Pack, just keep doing what they've been doing. On both sides of the ball. And do better on special teams. Please.

The Prediction

My good friend, Billy Da Bearz Fan, texted me earlier today with his prediction: 19-18 Bearz. The only thing surprising about that prediction from him is that it might be a score-a-gami type of thing. (Someone look that up, would ya?) So there's that.

Of course, for the more rationally-minded among the readership here, we have to actually consider reality. And the reality is the oddsmakers favor the Pack by either 11-1/2 or 12-1/2 points depending upon who you look at and when you check out such things. That's a big spread. And it's there for a reason. The primary one being that the Packers have Aaron Rodgers and Da Bearz do not. The secondary reason is that, overall, the Packers are just a better team, and better coached, than is Chicago. There may be a changing of the guard in the NFC North at some time, but it isn't now. Or the foreseeable future, for that matter.

We're calling it Packers 31 - Da Bearz 17.

Go Pack Go!!!