Packers keys to a win over the Bears.

There are few things during the year that make me get more excited than a Packers-Bears game. The Pack are looking for their 6th straight win over the Bears which would put the all-time record to 92-89-6 giving Green Bay a chance to tie the series up by the end of next season. Let’s take a look how the Pack can close the gap tonight.

1. Take some shots early- The Bears are giving up a mind-boggling 29.4 points per game this year. While the team is still doing well in the take-away department the Packers can try to end this one early with a few rainbow shots to Jordy Nelson. 

2. Cover up the ball- While this might seem like the most obvious thing to do in the world, the Bears have had some good success stripping the ball from Packer receivers. Just ask James Jones and Jermichael Finley. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is the best in the league at punching the ball out a runner’s hands. If the Pack needs to sacrifice a few yards tonight to avoid the risk of a turnover then that is a win in my book.

3. Respect Josh McCown- McCown is not Jay Cutler but he is a backup that has had a lot of experience. He played well two weeks ago filling in for Cutler and has had two weeks to prepare for the Packers. Remember it was McCown’s touchdown pass to Nathan Poole in 2003 that beat the Minnesota Vikings and sent the Packers into the playoffs. Let’s hope we see that play more tonight than the Fail Mary.

  • Side note- Over/under four times we have to witness the Fail Mary tonight?
4. Packers corners vs. Marshall/Jeffrey- This is the deepest the Packers have been at cornerback during the Mike McCarthy era. They will have their hands full tonight with Brandon Marshall and the emergence of second-year man Alshon Jefferey. These guys have been one of the top wide-out duos in the league and are monsters at 6’4 and 6’3 respectively. 
 
I’ve got to go with the Packers tonight with the Bears having no Jay Cutler or Lance Briggs on defense. The Packers could be in a tad better shape tonight if James Jones is back but with the way Aaron Rodgers is playing I don’t think it matters who he throws to tonight. Pack 30 Bears- 20. 
 

 

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Keys to a week 6 win.

The trend continues for the next man up mentality in Green Bay. The Packers lose Clay Matthews for the next month with a broken thumb and won’t have Brad Jones against the Baltimore Ravens because of a hamstring injury. Time to look at how the Packers can pull out the W against the defending Super Bowl champs.

1. Replacements stepping their game up– The Packers didn’t lose one middle linebacker last week against Detroit, they lost two. Brad Jones is out for tomorrow and backup Robert Francois is done for the year after tearing his Achilles. Third string middle linebacker Jamari Lattimore will get a chance to show what he can do with his first NFL start. Mike Neal will also be bumped up to the starting outside linebacker spot for Clay Matthews. Neal has made an impressive transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in just a matter of a few months. He will have to continue making plays in the backfield. Undrafted rookie Andy Mulamba and sixth round pick Nate Palmer have a great opportunity to earn a spot in the linebacker rotation in Matthew’s absence. 

2. Pressure Joe Flacco– Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the NFL but the Packers have to take advantage of getting pressure on the least mobile QB they have played in this young season. Flacco has been sacked 14 times this year and thrown 8 picks. Matthews is out so Nick Perry needs to continue playing like he did last week against Detroit.

3. Contain Ray Rice, focus on Torrey Smith– The Packers did an excellent job containing Reggie Bush last week. It also helped that Calvin Johnson didn’t play. Rice is a top five running back in this league and he needs to be the play-maker the Packers focus most of their attention on this Sunday. Torrey Smith is off to an impressive start and with his speed will be a constant threat. However there aren’t any other weapons on this offense the Packers should be too concerned about. 

4. Take some shots down the field– Aaron Rodgers was 5-7 for 200 yards and a touchdown last week on throws that traveled 20+ yards in the air. The Ravens run defense is outstanding and ranks sixth in the NFL. This could be a similar showing to a lot of Packers games the last few seasons where Rodgers is slinging it all over the field. 

Packers 27-24

Week 2 picks.

After a rough week one of picks, Josh and myself will be looking to rebound in week 2. Here are our five picks of the week. 

 

1. Washington at Green Bay- Did RG3 shake off enough rust to put it together this week against the Packers? Also Alfred Morris needs to look better this week than he did last week. For the Packers, can the secondary stop anyone? If Morgan Burnett is back I will feel a lot better. However I think Rodgers has a huge game and it won’t matter.

Packers- 31-24

2. Dallas at Kansas City- I am very intrigued by this match up. Dallas even after getting six takeaways from the Giants didn’t put the game away early. Their offense looks potent and if DeMarco Murray stays healthy, watch out. Kansas City now has a decent QB in Alex Smith and a coach in Andy Reid, but the team needs to take some shots now and then to really open this offense for Jamaal Charles. Dallas’ offense proves to be too much.

Cowboys- 27-20

3. Cleveland at Baltimore- The Ravens have had a week and a half to recover from Peyton Manning’s seven touchdowns. They have to be excited from going from one spectrum to the other with playing Brandon Weeden this week. The Browns played tough last year but do they have enough weapons to pull off an upset. For the Browns to win they will need a heavy dose of Trent Richardson. However the Browns will probably abandon that plan and lose.

Ravens- 31-20

4. Denver at NY Giants- Ahhh the Manning bowl. The one game every four years that gets a ton of hype. Both Mannings threw for a combined 11 touchdowns and around 900 yards. Denver’s defense looked better than what people thought without Von Miller which I think gives them a big advantage in this game. The Giants have issues at running back and their corners are giving each other concussions. High scoring game but the Broncos get to 2-0.

Broncos- 34-27

5. San Francisco at Seattle- The 49ers can’t stop talking about the Packers and calling Seattle the Shehawks. Seattle does plenty of smack talking themselves. Both defenses know how to hit and dish out the pain. After one week Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson didn’t show signs of a sophomore slump. However I was more impressed with the 49ers 34 points over the Pack than Seattle’s 12 points over a Panther’s team that isn’t that good. 

49ers- 20-16

Packer last preseason game.

Here are a few things I want to see tonight from the most meaningless but still enough to keep my interest game of the preseason.  Here we go!

1. How much of the playbook does Vince Young know? Will he play a couple quarters tonight or will the the Pack give B.J. Coleman enough snaps to still make us believe this is still an open competition for the back up QB job.

2. 5th wide receiver job- Tyrone Walker and Myles White have shown flashes of why they belong on this roster. Jeremy Ross should have locked this up ago with his special teams ability but he has had an up and down camp. 7th round pick Charles Johnson will need to explode tonight to not end up the practice squad.

3. Johnny Jolly- I think he makes this team, but another game to prove he belongs doesn’t hurt. Plus he should play a lot to make sure he is in game shape.

4. Mason Crosby- Now that he won the kicking competition will he miss a make-able field goal tonight?!

Packers preseason week 2 recap.

Time to squeeze in some writing while I have internet!

Here is what I liked from Saturday night. 

1. Eddie Lacy- I realize it was only 9 touches, but Lacy gained 51 yards. It’s nice to see a Packers running back break arm tackles. If he stays healthy, the Pack will have their best balance since about 2009. 

2. Jermichael Finley- The fin! I decided to do some finning for J-Mike since he appears to not be celebrating. That was the best Finley has looked since the end of 2009, early 2010 before suffering a knee injury. Along with Lacy, if Finley proves to be the playmaker he can be, the Packers offense will be without a doubt, in the top three of the NFL.

3. Johnny Jolly- I think the man who loved the purple drank earned himself a roster spot on Saturday night. The Packers could keep seven defensive linemen this year and Jolly has proved he can still play. He just needs to get his endurance up. 

Here are a few things I did not like. 

1. Fumbles- James Starks didn’t see the field until the second half and got lucky when he fumbled and the Rams player was out of bounds. Also the muffed punt was an eyesore.

2. Return game- Micah Hyde looked pretty good returning punts, but I still haven’t seen anyone step up and prove Randall Cobb should be taken off of return duty. 

Packers preseason game 2.

It’s nice to have football back, but with not having internet and cable installed yet I have not been able to write as much as I have wanted about the upcoming season. That will change in a few weeks. Luckily the apartment complex I am in has a place with free internet and I always have the radio station. Today I am going to focus on some things I am looking for in tonight’s Packers preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. Notice things I am looking for and not keys to a victory because, well it is the preseason.

1. Eddie Lacy- Lacy missed some practices and the first preseason game with a pulled hamstring. The Packers running game looked pretty similar to what it was last year with a lot of three yard runs. Lacy was brought in to be the guy to break tackles and I am looking forward to seeing some power running tonight.

2. Back up QB- Will Vince Young be able to learn enough in a month or so to be able to pass Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman for the back up job? Young isn’t a guy who has had the greatest career but he does have a lot more game experience than the other guys. Harrell and Coleman need to show the improvement I have read so much about from the coaches tonight or the Packers might have one of the worst backup QB situations in the NFL.

3. 4 and 5 receiver spots- Tyrone Walker showed natural route running ability last week and good hands. Jarrett Boykin has had a good camp but fellow second year man Jeremy Ross needs to prove he can be consistent. 7th round pick Kevin Dorsey has finally started practicing while fellow 7th round pick Charles Johnson hasn’t done a thing in training camp because of injury. I think Boykin makes this team but that last spot is up for grabs.

4. Special teams- Hopefully the Packers are in a position tonight to put up some points. Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio will be battling it out for the kicking role this year while someone needs to step up and prove they can return punts and kicks so Randall Cobb can focus on playing receiver. This could be where Jeremy Ross separates himself from the rest of the receivers or goes down in flames. Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin has tried returning punts but has muffed way too many in practice for me to be comfortable with him back there.

100 days away.

It’s time to begin the countdown for the Green Bay Packers opening game of the season so I have to share a few of my feelings so far. Week one is a carbon copy of how the Packers started and ended last year, playing the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers were outplayed and out-physicalled(yes I am making up words) in both games. The Pack didn’t do much in free agency outside of signing veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan but getting Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews signed to long-term deals put a lot of minds at ease. 

While some might scoff at the signing, Mulligan who is 6’4 and 260 pounds is known for his blocking which is something Green Bay has lacked at that position. Mulligan is going for a spot at one of the deepest spots on the team but he might be the angry S.O.B this team needs at tight end.

A few other players who intrigue me are rookies Datone Jones and Eddie Lacey. Jones gives the Packers the long-armed 3-4 DE every team desires while Lacey might be the first Packers running back to knock defenders on their ass consistently since Ahman Green. 

I have a very optimistic feeling about this rookie class and I keep telling myself don’t get too excited until you see what these players bring in training camp and beyond. The Packers realized they need to increase the physicality and some of the guys drafted bring that nastiness to them. It’s time for the Pack to get the horrid taste out of their mouths from the last two playoff losses and prove they are the top team in the NFC. 

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Packers-49ers recap part 2.

As our sports reporter/director stated today: The read option was like Braille to the Green Bay Packers defense. Let’s get to what happened this past week. I will be doing an overall season recap of the Packers later on this season. 

1. Read option:

  • As many people have stated the last few days, the Packers got beat by college plays. Not seeing any adjustments to try and contain Colin Kaepernick was extremely frustrating to watch. The Packers need a guy like Desmond Bishop back next year to bring an attitude and nastiness they lacked in this game. Also the return and progression of rookie Nick Perry will be key. 

2. Turnovers:

  • Yes the Packers had the pick six to start the game, but the two turnovers the Pack committed lead to 14 San Francisco points. I am still baffled Jeremy Ross was on the field returning punts. Randall Cobb did it in the Wild Card round and with the receiving corp back together I thought the Packers would be more inclined to put him back there. Ross is too inexperienced to be returning punts in such a big game. Also the interception by Rodgers was unfortunate not only because of the turnover but the protection around him was phenomenal on that play. Just a bad read and and the quarterback and receiver not being on the same page. 

3. Decisions:

  • When Mike McCarthy had little faith in kicker Mason Crosby he went for it on a multitude of fourth downs. With the Pack down 14 with 11:30 to go and his decision to punt  the ball was something I found completely baffling. The offense wasn’t spectacular Saturday night but down 14 and in 49ers territory, I want the ball in Rodgers’ hands. I mentioned it earlier, but the defense didn’t adjust and kept getting torched on third downs, many of which had 8+ yards to go. 

Keys to a divisional round win.

For the second week in a row the Packers have a chance to get a little revenge on another team who contributed to one of their five losses on the season. These two teams are very different from the game fans saw back in the beginning of September. While I have a bad feeling about tonight’s game, let’s get to what the Packers can do to come out of California with a win. 

1. DuJaun Harris:

  • Here is your X-factor for tonight’s game. Harris has run with anger since his first run a month ago. While he didn’t do much on the ground last week, his five catches for over 50 yards proves he is a reliable safety valve. If the 49ers drop their safeties back tonight and rush four, Harris will have to be ole reliable again this week. 

2. Rodgers’ Chipped Shoulder:

  • One of the big videos going around this week is Rodgers talking on draft day about how the 49ers will be regretting they didn’t draft him. Obviously Rodgers needs help around him, but it’s time to prove tonight San Fran did make a huge mistake in letting him drop to Green Bay back in 2005. 

3. Contain:

  • The Packers defense will see another QB who can move swiftly on his feet in second year man Colin Kaepernick. The Packers need to go after Kaepernick like they did Joe Webb last week and make sure they don’t over-pursue. Charles Woodson might be creeping up towards the line of scrimmage again today to help keep Frank Gore under wraps like he helped last week against Adrian Peterson. 

Packers-Vikings recap pt.3

There were four points I made that would ensure a Packer victory this past Saturday over the Vikings. Let’s take a look at them and break down how the Packers did.

1. Pressure Joe Webb under control:

  • Outside of a few early runs and an over-pursue by linebacker Erik Walden, the Packers did a great job containing Joe Webb and forcing him into a lot of horrid passes. The Packers also recorded three sacks. 
  • B+

2. First Contact on Adrian Peterson:

  • Adrian Peterson absolutely bulled over the Packers in two regular season games but the Packers pursuit at the line of scrimmage was phenomenal. AP had a long of 18 yards which came in the fourth quarter and overall 99 yards on 22 carries. An average back running for 99 yards is great but for AP that’s a huge win for the defense. 
  • A

3. Full health at WR:

  • It was nice seeing the big four at wide-out and Jermichael Finley all on the field at once for the first time since week four vs. New Orleans. None of these guys had huge games, but all had big catches at some point in the game. It was easy to see the respect the Vikings had for all these guys, which allowed running back DuJuan Harris to reel in 5 catches for 53 yards. 
  • B

4. DuJuan Harris:

  • Harris didn’t have the flashiest average in the world on Saturday night, (17 for 47) but had 53 yards receiving and a touchdown on the ground to keep the Vikings defense honest. Harris will have to be big again this Saturday night against the 49ers and their front seven who are aggressive and like to hit. 
  • B