Preview Week 3 – Packers

Quite a flurry of posts, and we’re back at it.  On to week 3.  I personally moved on as of Tuesday afternoon but didn’t have time to write about it, until now.  I’ll start saying the Packers should be favored because they’re the better team, but that doesn’t mean I’m not worried (you like the double-negative?) about a few matchups.

Like I said in week 2’s recap, I believe Seattle’s O-line was more to attest to the Packers’ newfound rush defense.  With that, if Green Bay holds Jamaal Charles in check then we’re working with something here.  The potential nightmares I see are Justin Houston/Tamba Hali (Chiefs’ outside rusher, and they’re good, really good) v David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay.  For those who know me, I’m not as harsh on Barclay as maybe I should be but he’s a backup for a reason.  He’s an adequate run blocker and being on the right side his pass blocking isn’t as crucial as being on the left.  Now that’s no excuse for being awful like he was last week vs. Seattle but he’s gonna have a helluva time with Justin Houston all night.  (If you didn’t catch it, the first two potential matchup issues are 1. KC’s rush offense vs. GB’s rush defense and 2. KC’s OLBs (Outside Linebackers) vs. GB’s tackles.)

Kansas City’s defense is just good overall.  They have solid corners in Sean Smith and emerging rookie Marcus Peters (INT in each game so far, I think each was a pick-6 too).  Their safety play will be better than Seattle’s too.  Eric Berry (so happy for him, he battle cancer last year and is back playing in the NFL, and at a high level too) is one of the premier safeties in the NFL.  He can cover, hit, and make plays – just a playmaker and someone to watch.  Even if Davonte Adams and Eddie Lacy don’t play, I’m still most worried about Morgan Burnett because he makes such a difference on GB’s defense.  If Burnett plays I think the Packers win with a little issue.  If not, it could be nerve-wracking like last week.

Kansas City 20
Green Bay 24

Get Melvin OUT of the Way!!!

After hearing Doug Melvin called up 6 (I believe) kids from Biloxi, even if before David Stearns was hired on as his successor, even furthers how inept Melvin is of running a small market team. Stearns stated exactly what I’ve been saying for years (hence why I started this blog thingy, and I’m paraphrasing): With a small market team, young and controllable talent is paramount. Having as much time before they hit arbitration is key to building the foundation of a successful organization.

That was music to my ears yet, as I said above, Melvin acted in the antithesis direction!!! How can a 32-year old diehard fan of the team have a better understand and direction of how to run the organization???? How I ask??? Yes, it’s rhetorical but man is it frustrating.

Moving on – I did mention in another post that I was or used to be optimistic. I am. Trust me. Better late than never right? So now we’ve hired the right guy, at least I think so. A young, smart, experienced, baseball nut whose goal is to win a World Series. Yes! That’s the guy I want and the expectation this city must have in order to actually win one! No more parties at the Summerfest grounds for clinching a playoff berth. No more shutting down Wisconsin Avenue for LOSING the World Series. I’m all for going nuts if the team I root for brings home the Trophy, there’s only one that matters in each sport. The World Series trophy would be absolutely amazing and I’d be first in line along Wisconsin Avenue to watch the caravan. I’ve been part of one such parade in my life, and it was by complete coincidence. I was in the streets of downtown Boston when the Bruins threw their parade after winning the Stanley Cup in the Summer of 2011. That was absolutely amazing to be a part of and I was only glad they won because they were facing the Blackhawks 🙂

To close, the Brewers (or should I say Mark Attanasio?) need to recognize they’ve made the correct hire in Stearns and now need to step the hell out of the way and let him control everything. I don’t understand the concept of keeping Doug Melvin around, in any capacity. For those who think he’s an asset, I don’t consider Melvin’s tenure a success by any stretch regardless of where the team was when he took over. 2 playoff appearances in 13 seasons??? I agree Major League Baseball (MLB) has the toughest postseason to enter, but that doesn’t mean in a decade + to consider the GM a success (let along savior to some) by getting there twice. The goal? The St. Louis Cardinals. They’re the standard. Market-size or not, I don’t care. Big contracts are cool but ask yourself…how many of them workout? How many of those guys actually play to their contract? It’s the players that earn that money (while not being paid a ton) that produce and that’s what Stearns wants to flood this Brewers organization with, and I’m 100% for it!!!!


The Brewers got it right! Of course there’s no guarantee they’ll win a World Series with David Stearns as GM, but his vision is what I (and a few of my friends) have been clamoring for years. It’s refreshing to know the franchise has the proper person at the helm instead of someone only worried about home runs and putting asses in seats. My only concern is Mark Attanasio will still meddle and act as Herb Kohl 2.0 – if that’s the case, it doesn’t matter who the GM is, this franchise will never see a World Series championship with him as owner.

Thank God…

…s/he’s a Packer fan. My whole life I’ve been the optimistic fan, but the more I learn, the more I worry. Time’s-a-wastin’ and us Packer fans have a shot at a dynasty. A much-needed dynasty. I’ve never rooted for a team that’s had one (well okay the Packers of the 1960’s but I wasn’t around to enjoy it). My point here is by beating Seattle, clearing that mental hurdle – even if it was only my hurdle – was absolutely huge!

What I learned: Aaron Rodgers is pretty good. Ok that everyone knew, but we can lay to rest his whole lack of 4th quarter comebacks stuff, right? I’ve been saying for years that he doesn’t have many because he’s rarely losing. So 3 of his last 4 games he’s led drives in the 4th quarter to tie or take the lead, with all 3 of those game being in the postseason. Hardly something #4 ever did. (I’ll write in the offseason about how much better 12 is than Brett).

James Starks looked, well…like James Starks. Slashing/decisive running and vision with the ball nowhere near his body which almost cost the game. However, he’s a backup for a reason and a damn good one. Richard Rodgers may have the best hands in the NFL, no I’m not joking. It just has a different sound when the ball hits his hands. Reminds me of Cris Carter, the best hands I’ve ever seen. The ball just sticks I don’t know how else to explain it.

The defense played well, but then again Seattle’s O-line is garbage which I believe added more to the D-line playing well but still promising. I was quite disappointed with Casey Hayward’s (Corner Back) play, he gave up 2 huge plays: 32-yard completion on 3rd and 16 from Seattle’s own 20ish; TD pass to Fred Jackson (oldest running back in the league) on 3rd down from GB’s 5ish. Jayrone Elliott baby!!! I don’t believe he’ll be a huge difference-maker but I did call for him to start at OLB opposite Peppers and keep Clay inside. Well, it was a great game and the good guys prevailed over Evil and I’m glad I was WAY WRONG on my prediction!

Week 2 Preview

First, let me start off capping off the Packers week 1 match-up versus Chicago.  I re-watched the 1st half and took some detailed notes.  (I decided not to watch the 2nd half for a few reasons, mostly due to the fact my 1-month old was not a fan of me watching a game she’s already seen).

Like I mentioned in my first post, the rush defense in the Base 3-4, was fine.  Aside from Pennell completely blowing assignment by being too aggressive and attacking Cutler, they likely could’ve forced a 3rd and long on the first series of the game…however, based on how Capers calls a game Chicago likely would’ve picked up the 1st due to going completely lame and rushing 3 while dropping eight.

Ok, moving on…going into week 2 it’s the 1995 Dallas Cowbo….err, I mean the Seattle Seahawks.  Let me preface by stating If Seattle wore different helmets the Packers might boat-race them out of the stadium.  With that being said, I believe the Packers are the superior team but Seattle has the mental edge.  Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!  A buddy of mine directed me to Seattle’s beat writers (I read as much as I can on the enemy from their POV (point of view) as I can) and they were concerned about their run game and offensive line, as they should be.  So their thought???  Green Bay is what the doctor ordered (sorry Todd, had to steal it).  It’s true!  Seattle’s offensive line is garbage, the only one worse is Chicago… (Cripes!).  I know the Packers get Datone back, but he’s average at best v. the run and Capers shows no ability to keep the Base D out there to stuff it.

For those of you that are screaming, “Nick!  Capers pitched a shutout v Seattle in their place for 3.9 quarters!”  My response is, “He did, but then explain to me how the D gave up 21 points on Seattle’s final three possessions all in under 6 minutes.”  Awful…personnel changes, coaches stay the same, same results – someone look up the definition of insanity, please.  Sorry, I digress — I can’t pick the Packers to beat Seattle until they actually beat them.  Seattle’s OL is terrible, but the Packers can’t stop the rush anyway, so I’m guessing the Packers can’t hold them under 150 yards rushing, let alone 100!!!  Wilson just finds a way to get it done, even though I think he’s overrated (that defense helps a little).  Rodgers, along with new play-caller Tom Clements, likely will attack Sea’s secondary a bit more aggressively than in the past 3 matchups, but with Bulaga injuring his surgically repaired knee in practice Thursday, and likely out for Sunday, I’m interested to see how that changes formations, etc.

I so desperately want to pick GB, as I did in the preseason, but with the Bulaga injury and now that game time is close I’m going with Seattle 27 Green Bay 24.  If that’s the case I have no idea how my preseason Super Bowl pick will win a ring.  Until that Defense improves, significantly (which I don’t think will happen until Capers is gone) it seems like it’ll be another wasted/failure of a year.  This could be the 8th season of Rodgers starting at QB, the most efficient, accurate, intelligent QB of all time IN HIS PRIME and he’ll only have one ring = WASTE!!!!  Now if the Packers win (which wouldn’t shock me, hell it wouldn’t surprise me) not only will I have a delicious beer with my crow dinner, everything I just said goes by the wayside.


Week 1 Recap

Not too many surprises after returning to meaningful football! I picked 12-4 in my first weeks’ projections (from preseason). My biggest shock was Mariota performing so well in his debut. Albeit versus a poor opponent, still an NFL opponent with a lot of hype surrounding both QBs. The Patriots keep on doing what the Pats do…they just win, especially at home. I was caught a bit off guard by the Colts/Bills game, but not overly surprised because Buffalo (as Green Bay found out last year (called that too btw)) is a tough place to get a W. Speaking of Green Bay (nice segway, thanks!)

I haven’t re-watched the game in detail yet, but overall there are a couple of ways I’m looking at this performance. The 1st team offense hadn’t been together since week 2 of the preseason, and I’m all for that based on the schedule. The Packers are very fortunate to get the Bears in week 1 as a Dress Rehearsal (as if you hadn’t heard that phrase enough in the preseason regarding the 3rd game) for the game that likely will be the biggest of the year; Seattle.

I’m one of the advocates for Fire Dom Capers…have been for quite some time. It’s not all scheme, I know players are accountable and ultimately Ted, but the scheme was just awful and play-calling was worse. I did notice that on the first series of the game the Packers were in a Base 3-4 with Raji at Nose Tackle and Pennel at Left End. That seemed to clog the run lanes between the Tackles, but didn’t take long for Chicago to adjust. Chicago decided to run outside the Tackles, open up cutback lanes, and also went to 4-wide but keeping Forte in the backfield – Capers decided to counter by taking out a D-lineman and inserting another Defensive Back. Running lanes opened up and they kept pounding. It was apparent Fox wanted to take the ball out of Cutler’s hands (smart) and he can afford to do so by having the lead or being within 1 score. It wasn’t until the Packers put pressure on Chicago by scoring and getting up 8 to force Chicago’s hand to throw.

Again, I’ll re-watch the game tonight and comment/write should I feel I need to add more detail.

Feedback is much appreciated!

@nickzurich (twitter)

First Ever

This is my first blog post…the state of Wisconsin deserves better.  A better expectation-level from their fans.  Fans of:

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Wisconsin Badgers (football and basketball)

Yes my issue is with my peers, my fellow brethren, my friends.  I’ll explain later, however this post is for predictions.  NFL predictions.  I went through each of the 254 (I believe) games on the NFL regular season schedule.  With that, here we go…

NFC West AFC West
Seattle 12 4 Kansas City 11 5
Arizona 11 5 San Diego 11 5
St. Louis 8 8 Denver 9 7
San Francisco 4 12 Oakland 1 15
NFC South AFC South
New Orleans 10 6 Indianapolis 13 3
Carolina 8 8 Houston 8 8
Atlanta 8 8 Jacksonville 4 12
Tampa Bay 5 11 Tennessee 3 13
NFC North AFC North
Green Bay 14 2 Baltimore 11 5
Minnesota 7 9 Cincinnati 10 6
Detroit 6 10 Pittsburgh 8 8
Chicago 5 11 Cleveland 3 13
NFC East AFC East
Dallas 10 6 New England 12 4
Philadelphia 10 6 Miami 10 6
NY Giants 8 8 Buffalo 7 9
Washington 4 12 NY Jets 5 11

With these standings, I have Arizona and Philadelphia as the wild cards in the NFC with San Diego and Miami (via 4th tiebreaker) in the AFC.  Thus the matchups in the wild card round would be SD @ KC, Mia @ Bal, Ari @ Dal, and Phi @ NO.  Divisional round being KC @ Ind, Bal @ NE, Ari @ GB, and NO @ Sea.  Championship Sunday matchups: Bal @ Ind; Sea @ GB.  I have Green Bay taking their 5th Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis in Santa Clara, CA.

I don’t expect this to generate too much controversy or uproar but it’s at least a starting point.  I’m open to any/all feedback so please feel free to share!  My email address is