They Are Who We Thought They Were.

Review – This game went according to plan.  Just a blowout from start to finish.  As I pointed out multiple times this season, the Packers’ offense is an absolute joke.  In a week 11 bout v. Detroit, the Packers punted on 9 consecutive possessions.  The first 8 possessions of this game for the Packers began like this:

Kneel down (end of half)

Pretty much par for the course when facing a legitimate opponent.  The Cardinals outclassed the Packers at every position, as predicted.  The most apparent mis-match is at Head Coach.  I’ve long-backed McCarthy but Bruce Arians is quite possibly the best coach in the NFL and adapts to his personnel, whereas Mac’s stubbornness comes into play and doesn’t adapt and continues to bash his head against a wall.  The Cardinals did what they were supposed to do as any legit Super Bowl contender will do to this Packer team, beat the crap out of them and in my eyes Arizona didn’t even play all that well.

Preview – The only reason to believe the Packers can/will beat Minnesota on Sunday night is because they had already beaten them, otherwise I’m not sure how anyone can make a case for this Packers team to beat any playoff team as it stands now.  The Vikings have struggled in certain games but have showed up as well, they’re a growing team that is trending in the proper direction but just are inconsistent as young teams usually are.  The Packers will likely struggle to move the ball with any consistency but are used to being in division-clinching games whereas the Vikings will be treating this bigger than it is, per usual.  If BJ Raji is out that may mean Adrian Peterson will run wild, one can almost guarantee he’ll surpass his 45 yard output from their last meeting, which means this game could swing either way, but it should be close.

What’s Next? – There are a few scenarios coming into week 17 that Packer fans should keep an eye on.  However, being that this team just isn’t good the outcomes don’t matter.  It’s damn near impossible for this team to advance past the divisional round of the playoffs.  In no way can the Packers play at home v Min then hit the road and play Carolina, which would set up the best-case scenario for reaching the Super Bowl.  It’s possible the best solution would be for the Packers to lose this Sunday, get the 5 seed, travel to Washington to play the wild card game, then somehow have Minnesota beat Seattle in Minneapolis to advance to play Arizona and the Packers would then travel to Carolina.  After that the Packers should then root for the Vikings to down the Cardinals (they almost beat them a few weeks back), then Green Bay would travel to Minnesota for the NFC title game.  That’s the easiest route and one that’s borderline hilarious because of how bad this Packers team has performed, and quite frankly just IS that they’re in a position to root for certain scenarios to play out.  Regardless, with everything just laid out I believe the Packers will win and have to face Minnesota again next week in a Wild Card game at Lambeau Field (due to Arizona winning v Seattle Sunday). They’ll likely win again then have to trek out to Arizona to take a beating like the one that just occurred, but before we get ahead of ourselves, this is supposed to be therapeutic and “positive,” right coach?


Vikings 24
Packers 27

A Christmas Miracle!

…is what it will take to beat Arizona come Sunday.

The Packers somehow won the game in which they were completely outplayed. Oakland had more first downs, yards, 3rd down conversions (surprise!), plays, and time of possession.  Turnovers were key, as the Packers capitalized to the max on both Raider turnovers, scoring 14 points off both.  Essentially the defense did all of the work on those, leaving the offense to put up 16 points.  That will not get it done in the playoffs.  The rookie cornerbacks held their own on the outside this game, even though Amari Cooper had a solid game of 100+ yards and 2 TDs.  Randall had a pick-6 land in his belly and Rollins made an incredible play in the end zone to hold Oakland to a Field Goal, keeping momentum.  James Starks was the better running back, again.  Even putting another ball on the ground he still was the preferred back by showing heart and a want to be on the field as opposed to his lazy counter-part, Lacy.  The promising thing was seeing this Packers defense close out the game, multiple times as Rodgers threw a Favre-like red zone interception for no reason in the last few minutes of the game when there was an opportunity to put an exclamation point on a road win.  The defense has showed it can play well with a lead and hold teams when trailing, it’s not a lock down defense but it would’ve been more than good enough to win a super bowl with last years’ offense.

Toughest Test? – Arizona is considered by many, including yours truly, to be the most complete team in the NFL dating all the way back to week 1.  The Cardinals seem to have an advantage at each position except for Punter.  It doesn’t seem like much but that may be Green Bay’s area to take advantage to swing this game in their favor.  By winning the field position battle and turnover battle (Green Bay leads the NFL with 11 giveaways, fewest with Arizona at 19) it would set the Packers up for an opportunity to win this game.  The Cardinals are the epitome of the phrase their sum is greater than the individual parts. They play man coverage and blitz often to pressure the quarterback, which Aaron Rodgers and the Packers normally would welcome with open arms in years past…now it’s been a nightmare.

Ahh yes, Eddie Lacy.  A week removed from one of his best games as a pro he reverts back to being lazy and looks more plump than usual, which is really saying something for him.  He didn’t hit the hole with aggression or decisiveness and kept bouncing things outside, which doesn’t end well when you’re not fast and just get caught in a heartbeat by the defense.  Even though Starks put the ball on the ground once again he was at least productive and earns his carries, week in and week out.  Each are averaging 4.1 yards/carry this season but Starks has shown consistency whereas Lacy is consistently inconsistent.  It’s safe to say the Packers won’t extend #27 past his rookie contract which ends after the 2016 season unless he shows a dedication to football and his body, don’t bet on it.

Green Bay can lock up the 2-seed in the NFC by winning out (at Arizona this week and v Minnesota next) and having Seattle beat Arizona next week. Albeit likely a pointless game for Seattle (if they win this week they will lock up a playoff spot but cannot win the division or earn a bye) so they may not being playing for anything.  – To review, the Cardinals’ D matches up very well with the Packers’ O, their offense matches up well with GB’s D, and the Packers may have a slight edge in the special teams dept.  Overall I’ll be rooting like hell (as always) for the Packers to pull this out but I don’t see how without luck and a bad game played by Arizona….

Packers 24
Cardinals 34

Mac at it Again!

Review – The better team won, and did so by overpowering and outplaying Dallas the entire game.  It was refreshing to see the pedal pushed down the entire game.  The play calling allowed the running game to come in with the right mindset – started early and often.

Play-calling – Aaron Rodgers (and Jordy Nelson) answered “We executed better,” when asked about the change of play calling.  Some may take it as yet another jab at McCarthy, however it was clear the offense was in a rhythm from start to finish.  The offense got to the line of scrimmage with more time left on the play clock than recent weeks and it seemed like they knew what they were doing.  Plays were run with conviction.  There was no hem-hawing at the line, Rodgers looked like he was in complete control (like normal).  The execution was improved, but nowhere near perfect.  The second drive of the game stalled at the 1-yard line after going for it on 4th and getting stuffed.  The defense bailed out the offense on the ensuing drive.

Defense – Sam Shields made a great play on an awful throw from Matt Cassel.  Many won’t remember how close this game was but it was 14-7 for a majority of the 2nd half.  The defense kept them in the game, however without a legitimate starting QB the defense still gave up huge runs that were very concerning.  Overall it was a good team win and everyone stayed healthy, for the most part.

Preview – Oakland ranks 20th in offense, 25th in defense, and 14th in turnover differential (+/- 0).  The Raiders play primarily man coverage, which has given the Packers passing game fits this season.  They also have, arguably, the best sack-man in the NFL in Khalil Mack.  Mack is coming of a 5 sack game, yes GAME!  He has all of the tools to get by NFL tackles.  Bakhtiari and Bulaga will have their hands full and definitely will require help with chip blocks, line shifts, and quick throws.  Since the Packers are the best (knock on wood) in the NFL at taking care of the football (9 giveaways) that should give them the edge in this game, along with the superior QB.  It should be a tough, hard fought game, and for some fans they can get all giddy with seeing Charles Woodson play the Packers.  With Mac calling plays the Packers and the Raiders’ secondary being their weak point, Green Bay should be able to get into a groove and move the ball.  Playing from ahead is their specialty and that’ll be the key in this game and for the remainder of the games this season.

Packers 24
Raiders 17

Hail YES!

1 – Mike McCarthy continues to be too stubborn to fix the offense.  Or there’s a riff that was initiated from the fallout between Mac and Rodgers from the NFC title game.  Either way, whether too stubborn or proving a point, it’s killing this team.  For once the defense is adequate, not good, but good enough to win ball games with Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback.  The Packers were shutout until a little under six minutes left in the 3rd quarter at Detroit.  Embarrassing.  If not for Julius Peppers’ (whom I’ve been critical of being vastly overpaid since signing) strip sack, Aaron’s gorgeous throw to Adams on 3rd and 6 from the 9 (holy crap a 3rd down conversion?!?!?!), Rich Rod (Richard Rodgers) catching EVERYTHING, etc., etc., the Packers lose another game to a bad team.  Detroit’s secondary is terrible; their entire team is not good.  Coaching is worse.  That was on full display for the Hail Mary play.  However, I’m sure all of you have heard enough about that play and the comeback so I’ll move on.
2 – Eddie Lacy.  Here’s another example of McCarthy mishandling a situation.  If you’re going to bench a player, then bench him!  Don’t give him five touches.  Make sure he gets none.  Suit him up and give him zero — or deactivate him.  Was there a message sent?  Yes.  Could it have been sent with more conviction?  Absolutely.  We as fans saw what happens when you hold people accountable and give hungry players an opportunity.  John Crockett isn’t a nobody. The guy had a helluva camp,and I thought deserved a roster spot over Alonzo Harris.  He looked like DuJuan Harris (running back that debuted in 2012), running like he wants a paycheck. Apparently he ran to a few wrong assigned holes, but guess what?  When one runs with anger and determination good things happen (as long as you hang on to the ball, Starks).  Does Lacy deserve another opportunity?  Only if Crockett and Starks don’t perform.  My guess is we’ll see Lacy get plenty of opportunity. My hope is he makes the most of it.
3 – Back to this offense and its scheme.  Jordy Nelson is a huge loss. (No surprise there.) However I find it difficult to understand how everyone was getting open consistently just running around like it’s backyard football.  This can’t be the same offense as year’s past, can it?  Until there’s change, whether with play-calling or overall scheme of running routes and putting players in position to get open, I don’t see how anything will change, and the offense will struggle.
4 – Home Stretch: v Dallas; at Oakland; at Arizona; v Minnesota.  The Packers essentially must win out and have the Cardinals lose an additional game in order to have a legitimate shot at making the Super Bowl (e.g., Arizona is 10-2, with the Packers being 8-4.  If GB wins out they’ll be 12-4, with one of those victories coming over Arizona (tie breaker), Arizona would still need to lose one additional game to fall to 12-4 (thus giving the Packers the tie breaker for the 2 seed in the NFC playoffs).  Let me be clear: Making the Super Bowl is not the goal; winning the Super Bowl is.  With that in mind, Packer fans should be rooting for Minnesota tonight to beat Arizona.  It’ll be tough without, arguably, their three best players but we can hope, right?
5 – Dallas.  Not a good team; perhaps one of the worst in the NFL.  If the Packers are who we thought they were at the beginning of the season, this should be a “roll the helmets out” type of game.  Sadly it’s not.  All Dallas must do is play man coverage and load the box.  Considering GB’s receivers don’t run routes, Dallas’ defensive backs can just jog along with the receivers until pressure finally gets home for a sack or forced throw.  On the flip side, Dallas can’t really do much on offense so this game could resemble the Lions v Packers from week 10.  We all remember the nine consecutive punts game, don’t we? (Smiling face emoji; followed by gun emoji).
Cowboys 16
Packers 20
Side note – Are we seeing a market correction in the NFL?  Seattle fixed a few things and is now rolling.  Kansas City had some injuries to key players but is playing the best football of anyone in the NFL.  I wouldn’t be shocked if either or both got to the Super Bowl, but then I’d have to defend why that’s not a case of “Getting in and Getting hot.”  Different topic for a different day.


I’ve never been more embarrassed to be a fan of the Green Bay Packers than I am now.  Losing divisional games at home, versus divisional opponents that are quite inferior.  Detroit and Chicago are games that when playing at Lambeau Field, you should be able to roll the helmets out on the field and get a W.

The Packers are now in a position where they have to win out to restore confidence from me in their ability to win a Super Bowl.  Hell, that’s the position they were in entering the Vikings game.  The optimist in me says the Packers are 3 plays away from being 10-1.  However, I can’t help but think how the Packers won the first 6 games.

The Bears played just a standard man coverage scheme and waited for Rodgers to get the ball out to his receivers who can’t run routes, get open, or catch the ball.  Add in that #12’s accuracy in erratic (not only for him, but for Johnny Manziel) and it’s a poor product on the field.  The bright side is the defense has showed up since getting S-M-O-K-E-D in Carolina: 18 v Detroit; 13 at Minnesota; 17 v Chicago.  An Aaron Rodgers-led offense should put up 24 points in their sleep.

On to DEEEE-troit (as Mike McCarthy calls it), where the Lions have been rolling since canning their GM and offensive coordinator (Joe Lombardi, grandson of legendary Packers coach Vince).  Their offense is hitting stride and their defense is giving up yards but getting turnovers.  Considering the Lions went into Lambeau and won I can’t figure out how the Packers can go into Ford Field, a place of recent nightmares, and win.  That being said I’ve been wrong about every game since week 8 (at Denver).

Packers 23
Lions 24