A New Hope?

Make that 4 consecutive weeks to show the NFL is tough to figure out.  The Packers showed they’re still the class of the NFC North.  The game seemed too big for Minnesota, who is a young and well-coached team coming up, but for now the Packers are the standard, still.

Defense – Very promising to see the defensive line control the line of scrimmage v. a below average offensive line but one of the best rushing teams in the NFL.  The secondary tackled well, didn’t necessarily wrap up each time, and kept the YAC to a minimum.

Offense – Seems to still be searching to get on the same page.  30 points is the minimum and Aaron Rodgers-led team should put up each week against anyone, anywhere.  Stats don’t always tell the truth as I believe he had a better game @ Minnesota than he did hosting Detroit.  It was good to see the offensive line open some holes for what seemed to be a newly determined Eddie Lacy to blast through.

Chicago – they’ve been playing as well as they could have over the last few weeks, which is a testament to John Fox and the coaching staff.  Chicago doesn’t match up well overall against Green Bay, and it’s showed recently.  With the weather supposed to wet cool, this game could get sloppy which plays to Chicago’s favor but a home primetime game with a bunch of hoopla going on doesn’t bode well for the Bears.  If Green Bay wins the turnover battle and doesn’t get predictable on offense I don’t think the Bears can hang with them and this should be decided by halftime if the Packers ever return to playing how they’re capable.  Should be a relaxing halftime show for all this Thanksgiving with the game in control from Green Bay’s view point…then again I’ve been completely miffed the last four weeks so who knows???

Bears 20
Packers 38

It got worse…

No Super Bowl-winning team has ever lost to the worst team in the NFL, let alone at home.  This loss reminds me of 1997 @ Indianapolis.  Point being, championship-caliber teams don’t lose to poor teams.  Research shows that eventual Super Bowl champions played the “Worst Team in the NFL” 16 times since 1990.  Those eventual Super Bowl champions’ record in those games is 16-0.  Nine consecutive drives ending in a punt last week…9?!?!  Until Aaron Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers for the Packers’ first touchdown with 5:55 left in the game, Green Bay triple the amount of punts (9) as they did points on the scoreboard (3).  TRIPLE!!!!!  Enough about the Lions fiasco.

The more concerning factor seems to be Aaron Rodgers’ beef with the head coach.  The disconnect on offense seems to stem from Rodgers and fueled by his ego.  By watching Aaron’s antics on the field, it seems nothing is his fault.  Sure, he shows disappointment with an errant throw, but throwing his hands in the air shaking his head after various plays is Marino-esque.  After Abbrederis got crushed (thanks to Aaron’s off-target pass), Rodgers could be seen complaining about how he ran the wrong route, or something to that effect.

On to Minnesota, a team that has built something off last year.  This is a game that I picked the Packers to lose entering the season.  The Vikings enter this game on a 5-game winning streak, meanwhile everyone knows the Packers enter with a 3-game slide.  Green Bay has shown the inability or unwillingness to change/adapt (I’ve stated this before), so why expect anything different?

Minnesota is a balanced team that plays solid defense, and is well coached by Mike Zimmer.  The Packers were lucky to escape TCF Bank Stadium with a victory last year…all that’s changed is Minnesota has improved and become more consistent and Green Bay has, well, fallen apart.  I don’t see how anyone could pick the Packers to win this game aside from blind fandom and/or hope.

Packers 13
Vikings 31

Why the Packers Suck.

You shouldn’t be alarmed at the title.  Since the expectation is to win the Super Bowl, the play the last 3 games have shown me there’s no reason to believe this team can accomplish the goal.  Almost 1500 yards in three games is embarrassing.  Not even the horrid defense of 2011 (which was the worst in NFL history at the time) surrendered that much!  Let’s take a deeper dive, shall we?

1. By losing on Sunday at Carolina, Aaron Rodgers dropped his record to 11-23 (.324) when facing above .500 (at season’s end) on the road.  Compared to the gold standard, Tom Brady 20-23 (.465), is baaaaad.  Rodgers would need to rattle off 9-straight such victories, just to match Brady.

2. How much does this team miss Jordy Nelson?  I’ll lay out some stats and give you my opinion but feel free to interpret however you like.  In 2014, Rodgers targeted Jordy on 24.9% of all 3rd downs.  Not just pass attempts, but all 3rd downs.  Couple that with the difference in 3rd down conversions from last year to 2015…it’s pretty alarming.  (3rd down conv. 2014: 47.2%; 2015: 34.1%).  This tells me Jordy was Aaron’s security blanket, which is fine until we learned 87 was no longer going to be part of this team back in August.  Rodgers is either untrusting of his current receiving corps or he’s unable to adapt/change.  I think it’s a combination of the two, however I’m leaning more on the inability (mostly due to coaching) to adapt.

Scheme – the 2nd half of the Carolina game, the Packers got a bit more aggressive and assertive with play calls, gameplan, and overall execution.  This doesn’t necessarily translate into “taking shots down field,” or “forcing throws into coverage,” but overall gameplan and sense of urgency.  The problem is it took getting absolutely pummeled by Carolina to invigorate such an approach.  I fully expect the Packers to crush the Lions, because Detroit is the epitome of a Hot Mess.

Dom must go.  I can’t reiterate enough how much I hate this man’s scheme, plan, approach, etc.  It’s been the same thing year in and year out.  Offense carrying the entire team until they run into a solid opponent, especially on the road, and have their season ended.  The next opportunity to earn that elusive 12th road win v. and above .500 opponent will come week 11 @ Minnesota.  Winner essentially is in the driver seat for the division, which in the grand scheme of things, means little.  Super Bowl titles are all that matter.

No time to get into matchup, etc. with this upcoming game v Detroit (they’re terrible).  Win, lose, or draw…next week I’ll talk more about why it’s not crazy to think about a complete overhaul.  From Ted Thompson down to the last assistant coach, but that will have to wait as I’m sure most if not all of you even made it this far.

Lions 10
Packers 42

Panther Preview

If you read my season predictions when I began this blog before the season, you saw I projected the Packers to finish 14-2 with home-field advantage.  I thought the 2 losses would come @ Denver and @ Minnesota.  Why I haven’t stuck with my predictions from game-to-game I’m not sure why.  Sticking to my guns now (even though I don’t think the Packers will win, based mostly on how bad GB looked @ Denver last week).

Carolina has incredible Linebackers and a very stout Defensive Line.  5 players on their defense you’ll likely hear quite a bit about are Thomas Davis (LB), Josh Norman (CB), Kawann Short (DT), Star Lotulelei (DT), and super star Luke Kuechly (MLB).  Those five players will represent quite a few issues to this Green Bay offense.  It’s about time Rodgers puts a team on his back and wins a tough road game against a quality defense.  Short and sweet since I’ve written twice already.

Packers 26
Panthers 20 (OT)

How Tough is it to Win on the Road?

After the Bronco Beat down the Packers suffered Sunday, it lead me searching for optimism.  Normally I’m the voice people turn to after hope seems vanished.  However, this prompted me to do a little research, and I don’t like what I found.  This could get a little long (and nerdy) so bear with me J

First – local sports talk radio brought up a topic regarding Aaron Rodger’s and the Packers “rebounding” from poor performances by #12.  There have been 18 instances where Rodgers has thrown for <200 yards in a game (where he started and didn’t leave due to injury) and the Packers played the following week (not counting a playoff loss where the Packers lost and Rodgers threw less than 200 yards – follow me?).  Let’s check the games in which he “under performed.”  The Packers surprisingly are 12-6 in games where Rodgers threw under 200 yards.  His avg. game (in those games, ugh sorry my vocabulary sucks tonight) is 17/28 (62.1%), 171 yards, 1.2TD, .56INT, 88.3 RAT.  Following those games was the point that a local radio host (Homer on espnmilwaukee maybe???) the Packers are 12-5 with the eighteenth game coming up this Sunday @ Carolina.  THE GOOD: The Packers have won 8 straight in these games, 12-5 overall.  Rodgers’ avg. line looks like 24/38, 294 yards, 2.4 TD, .3 INT, 107.3 RAT.

THE BAD: Not many of the follow-up games came against “good” teams.  Their last win v. a winning team, on the road was December 16th, 2012 (yes that’s not a typo, 2012!!!) at Chicago.

THE UGLY: this lead me to dig deeper; with the push of a friend or two.  I dug into the Packers’ success – or lack thereof – when playing on the road versus a “winning opponent.”  Winning Opponent = any team that finished with an above .500 record that season.  These #’s include postseason, and it’s not pretty.  So much was made of Rodgers 0-9 in his last nine games versus “winning” teams on the road.  I checked back throughout his entire career, outside of 2010, which 3 of those wins (I’m not counting the Super Bowl as that was a Neutral site) came in the playoffs – actually even tougher – is really awful.  His career record in these games is 11-22.  That’s a .333 clip!!  Now, I understand that winning is tough in the NFL, winning on the road is tougher, and winning on the road v. a quality opponent is extremely difficult.  However (man I use that word a lot), that’s not an excuse for losing.  Losing is unacceptable, especially when you have the toughest piece in place to find in all of sports (a legitimate top-tier QB).

Verdict – I compared the Packers’ and Rodgers’ record v. Brady’s and New England’s.  I began in 2008 for both…that’s what Rodgers took over and Brady missed the entire 2008 season.  The results were surprising.  Like I stated earlier, the Packers are 11-22 (.333) in road games v. eventual >.500 opponents whereas the Patriots (the standard, or the target as they’re no. 1) are 9-13.  Since Brady missed the 2008 season (Cassel went 2-1 in said games), Brady and the Pats are 7-12 (.368).  There are a couple things I take away from this.  Hey, ok the Packers had an awful game at Denver and have an opportunity to restore my confidence by beating a 7-0 Carolina team, on the road.  The other is that New England rarely plays “good” opponents on the road.  Many of the Packers have come in the playoffs and the Pats almost never travel in January as they’re always at home or lose at home in the post season.  The Packers have road playoff losses (in Rodgers’ career, in most recent to furthest back) at Sea, at SF, and at Ari.  Rodgers, thanks to a perfect 3-0 road record in 2010, is 3-3 in road playoff games and now with the restored confidence/dominance the Packers show while playing at Lambeau now.

I didn’t discuss anything regarding the Panthers matchup this upcoming Sunday, I’ll get to that Saturday but for now take a look at the stats and what I thought was initially a brutal record for Rodgers and how “Un-clutch” he is, actually made me feel better knowing he’s right in line with Brady (who is the best ever…at least at winning).  If you disagree, feel free to chirp up and I’ll do some research.

The Packer Way???

Michael Cohen wrote an article roughly 2 weeks ago labeling (accurately) Letroy Guion as a bad person.  The media’s job is to deliver a story and get people to read their…story.  McCarthy was asked about Cohen’s article and said it was “garbage.”  I don’t agree with Mac’s response, but I don’t like the timing of the article.  I’m not blaming anyone for anything, the whole situation doesn’t sit well with me, that and the following game was the most un-enthused (not sure if that’s a word, or the proper one I’m looking for) game I’ve seen played by a Mike McCarthy Packer team.

I understand both sides, the media’s and McCarthy’s, but the one curse for media is having no losses or “bad news” to report and I feel as though a 6-0 start fueled an article about poking holes in the Packer Way.  Again, the article is accurate and legitimate to call out an organization for hypocrisy – I don’t have a point to make just wanted to write hoping it would make me feel better about it…not sure it worked :/