I didn’t come down here to see a Loss

Review – It’d be something else to see this Packers team put together a complete 60-minute performance.  The Wild Card game v the Giants left a lot to be desired whereas the 2nd half in the Divisional round at Dallas was eerily similar.  Either way, the Packers found ways to close both of those games, adding to the confidence of Packer fans across the nation.

Dez Bryant ended up having a great game, however that came at what seemed to be the expense of Zeke not controlling the game, which was crucial.  Aaron Rodgers played well, missed a couple of throws but nailed, what I believe is, the most clutch throw of his career (35-yarder to Cook setting up Mason Crosby’s 51-yard game-winning Field Goal).

Preview – the Falcons bring a great offense, very similar to the Packers – they also possess a banged up and just plain BAD defense: as do the Packers.  I reviewed the Falcons entire season and it comes down to them having 1, yep just one, single impressive victory.  It came week 3 at Oakland.  Since then they’ve been feasting on bad teams, including the awful Seattle team that somehow finished the season with a winning record.

Packers 34
Falcons 24

*22-14, Yes I missed last week, but it ended up being a coin flip…this one I’m a bit more confident in.

Toughest Test Yet?

Many think this will be the toughest match up yet…let’s take a look to see if that’s the case.

Review –that game was awesome, eh?  It was great to be at, too!  After underwhelming for the first 25 minutes, the Packers’ offense and mainly quarterback, Aaron Rodgers woke up and decided to destroy the talented Giants’ defense.  Well into the 2nd quarter I looked up at the scoreboard and noted Green Bay had a whopping 7 total yards of offense.  From that point on the Packers amassed 399 yards in about 2.25 quarters.  That production is a tough standard to hold, even for the fans with the highest expectations – considering the Giants possess a great defense.

Losing Jordy Nelson could be a huge loss, considering he and #12 were finding their rhythm. Yes, the offense took off shortly after Nelson left with broken ribs, but keep in mind the Giants also lost a solid cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, essentially nullifying the Nelson injury (to which I believe was a legal hit, by the way).

The two players I highlighted to watch was the matchup of Giants superstar wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. vs. Packers undrafted 2nd year player, Ladarius Gunter.  Gunter was burned on two plays resulting in zero yards…the first was the dropped TD, which prompted the thoughts and responses of the Miami boat trip!  And rightfully so!  That was a huge play in the game and who knows how that would’ve changed the dynamic.

PFF grades, with 8 players grading at an 80+:

MLB Jake Ryan 93.6
CB Damarious Randall 88.8
WR Randall Cobb 88.3
WR Davante Adams 83.8
RT Bryan Bulaga 83.1
QB Aaron Rodgers 81.9
RG TJ Lang 80.7
DL Mike Daniels 80.4

Preview – This is the best matchup of teams on the entire divisional round weekend.

Packers-                                               Dallas-
Offense: 8th                                        Offense: 5th  
Defense: 22nd                                    Defense: 14th

In their week 6 matchup the Packers’ offense was sputtering (that’s a compliment for how the QB was playing and the head coach was attempting to get him out of the rut)…however, there were 3 keys that determined the Cowboys throttling of the Packers at hallowed Lambeau Field.

  1. 4 turnovers committed by Green Bay (all at awful times; 3 by Aaron Rodgers)
  2. Packers’ D tried getting greedy and calling timeouts with 0:39 left in the 2nd quarter to get the ball back, but ended up giving up a TD.
  3. First possession of the 2nd half, Rodgers threw an INT that no Packer fan has seen him throw before (he was tricked, and/or didn’t see the safety come into the route of Randall Cobb).

I believe I’ve said this before, but the team that controls the line of scrimmage controls the game.  The Packers have the 2nd best offensive line in the NFL, unfortunately the Dallas Cowboys possess the best.  Dallas brings the 2nd rush offense into this game vs. the Packers 8th ranked rush defense, but that didn’t matter much when they racked up 191 yards on the ground.  The Packers will need to force rookie QB Dak Prescott to make plays if the Green & Gold want to win this game.  Well that, and have Aaron Rodgers play to the level he has the past 7 weeks.  In the end, the matchup to watch is the Packers’ OL v Dallas’ DL and vice versa.

Overall I believe the Cowboys will try to take the ball out of Dak’s hands and ground and pound…successfully.  That will allow play action and the conservative Prescott to throw to an open target or run for yardage.  I’m not confident the Packers can generate 1-2 turnovers while holding the rush game enough.

Packers 27
Cowboys 30

*22-13 overall record.  Hopefully that record drops, meaning the Packers would be moving on to the NFC Championship game.*


There’s a chance to prove to many in Packer nation that the curse of Eli coming into Lambeau and defeating the Packers is over.  Let’s take a look as to why…

Review – After re-watching the game, it’s very apparent that not only Aaron Rodgers is playing great football, but the entire offense is on the same page and it’s nearly impossible to stop.  Whether Mike McCarthy was saving Ty Montgomery’s legs for the playoffs or he wanted to get Aaron Ripkowski more touches to get him used to handling the ball, it worked.  Both were fairly effective at producing to the amount asked by their head coach.  Preseason standout, Geronimo Allison (#81), had a breakout game.  Of course he benefitted from a hot/good quarterback, but he was able to gain separation and make the catches when given the opportunities.  He’s a bigger target than Randall Cobb (larger catch radius) and could be an X-factor moving forward.

Aside from the pointless Hail Mary to finish the game, the Packers held the 21st overall offense to 17 points, in their own house.  I believe that bodes well for the Packers’ D hosting the Giants 25th overall offense, and benefit from being in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field.

Det’s cornerback, Darius Slay and Def End, Ziggy Ansah were held essentially in check all game.  Rodgers made a Houdini-like play to escape a sack from Ansah on a 3rd down and was able to convert.  Slay was tasked with covering Jordy Nelson for much of the night, and did fairly well, but still surrendered 6 receptions for 66 yards.

ProFootball Grades:
LG Lane Taylor – 84.1
S Micah Hyde – 83.5
QB Aaron Rodgers – 83.1
FS Morgan Burnett – 81.0
OLB Datone Jones – 80.9
CB Ladarius Gunter – 80.7

Preview – Both the Giants and Packers are far different teams than when they met in their week 5 matchup (won by Green Bay 23-16).  Ladarius Gunter (a player to watch, #36 of Green Bay) held Odell Beckham Jr. (a player to watch on NY) to 5 catches, 56 yards and 1TD.  The key in the game was the Packers’ pass rush, getting to Eli Manning 4 times and holding the Giants to 221 total yards.  Possibly the Packers’ defense’s finest performance of the season.

Getting consistent pressure on Eli and moving him off his spot will determine how effective the Giants’ offense is throughout the game.  Unlike Aaron Rodgers, Eli is not mobile ‘nor is he effective at throwing on the run.  By making him shuffle his feet, the Packers can control the game and force Eli into some turnovers.

Overall—I’ve battled back and forth all week trying to find an advantage the Packers have.  The Giants bring the 10th overall defense matching up with the Packers 8th offense.  Usually in the playoffs running the ball and playing good defense wins.  If that holds true, it doesn’t bode well for the Packers.  The Packers have the 8th rush defense which should shut down the newly found run game of New York with rookie Paul Perkins.  Again, going back to needing a pass rush, mainly from Nick Perry because Clay Matthews is terrible, but has a chance to takeover these playoffs by showing up and producing like he did from 2009-2012.  If Clay and Perry can beat a below-avg Giants offensive line and control the line of scrimmage that should do the trick.

Prediction—all week I’ve been saying that 27 points will be the winning score, and I think that’s true still.  I also thought the Giants would be the team to come out on top…but no longer!!!

Giants 20
Packers 27

*21-13 overall record, and almost called the score last week J*