Back to football…again

Well, now that the Brewers are finished, the bye week has passed, and the weather has changed to full-time fall – we can now shift our complete focus to the Packers, right?  Let’s take a look to see if Mac and the Quarterback learned.

Review—the craptastic San Francisco 49ers came to town and completely outplayed, out-schemed and damn near out-executed the Packers.  That was a coaching clinic on how to prepare an inferior team to go into a hostile environment of a superior team that was in a must-win situation.  Kyle Shanahan took a 3rd string (2nd on their roster, but 3rd string quality) quarterback and punched Green Bay in the mouth, over and over.  He then went for the killshot which was the right call and throw, but Kevin King ended up making a great play for the interception.

San Francisco racked up 401 yards of total offense and hung 30 points against the (then ranked) 10th defense in the league.  Like every other game, aside from week 4 vs Buffalo, the Packers’ defense played poorly for one half, but then tightened up for another.  If that’s going to be the plan all year, the Packers better build a lead of at least 2 scores so that doesn’t catch up to them.

On the flip side, the Packers rolled up 521 yards of offense for themselves, which is quite impressive, and were able to punch it in the end zone on 3 occasions out of the 12 possessions.  Maybe good enough vs a bad team at home, but against good or great teams, that will have to be at least 3, likely 4 TDs to win—especially given the defense will play piss-poor for at least a 30-minute stretch.

Preview—enter the Los Angeles Rams.  LA is the last remaining undefeated, 7-0, and are the clear-cut “best” team in the NFL…as of now.  Let’s take a look at the statistical rankings:

The Rams bring the 2nd offense and 7th defense (yards), 3rd offense and 4th defense (points) vs Green Bay’s 4th O and 8th D (yards), 16th O, 15th D (points).  I believe the points are a better indicator of what the Packers are, this year.  Usually the national pundits go by yards, because it’s supposed to show how much they give up throughout the game and eliminates the offense giving/getting a short field.  Either way, the Rams outclass (get used to that word when talking about the Packers’ coaching staff) Green Bay in every department.  When looking for advantages, even at each position, the Packers are inferior…even at QB – again when looking at stats, and production.  Does Goff have more help?  Yes, both with talent on the field and coaching.  McCarthy used to be great, but hasn’t adjusted since 2014 when his concept-based offense was figured out by the opposition and regardless of the cause for lack of production, there hasn’t been change.

Again, the combination of Mac and Rodgers ran #33 a total of 8 times.  8 carries for a guy that was averaging over 6 yards/carry, now has a total of 32 rushes for 188 yards (5.9 average).  If the Packers want to even compete on Sunday, they should run early and often.  If they’re able to set the tone in the ground game, that should make Aaron Rodgers damn near unstoppable, especially with play-action.  Of course winning the turnover battle gives any team an 80% chance to win vs any other team, but I believe this game will come down to the Packers 1. Controlling the ball (winning time of possession), thus keeping McVey’s potent offense off the field vs the Packers’ hot & cold D and 2. Converting >50% of their red zone trips for TDs.  The Packers rank 21st in red zone efficiency (amount of trips to the red zone that result in a TD, currently they’re 50%).

All in all, I think the Rams have the better head coach, roster, and home field.  The only thing Green Bay has is experience in big games, which this is for the Packers, however that’s not enough to overcome the train of Gurley III (didn’t even mention him, the best HB in the league) and McVey’s mind/scheme.

Packers 27
Rams 38

35-23: if Green Bay plays a near perfect game, they could win. Which if they do, then the NFL has the most parody in quite some time, but I won’t bet on it.

Cleaning up a disaster…Go Crew!

For as poorly as the Packers played in Detroit, somehow the Lions tried losing by just being flat out terrible.  What does that mean?  Either the Packers are good and don’t play to their level or the Lions are straight trash and Green Bay somehow couldn’t win, or both?

Review—to see how much the Packers “outplayed” the Lions, looking at every stat will show it.  Green Bay had 30 first downs to Detroit’s 18, & 521 total yards to the Lions’ 264.  Turnovers, missed Field Goals, and stalled drives did in the Green & Gold.  Giving any team 17 free points, especially on the road, makes it damn near impossible to win a game.  Safe to assume if any team has that many miscues, and the refs miss a blatantly obviously turnover (punt off King after the opening drive), that’ll result in a loss.

Enough to say, if the Packers play a sound game, at least without terrible turnovers, they should be most teams.  The defense didn’t shut down Detroit, by any means, but at least managed the game almost as well as they could from the positions they were put in.  Again, the main frustration would be the lack of playing time/snaps Aaron Jones, HB #33, received, especially with his production.  Even if he doesn’t play b/c he can’t pass block, the offense moves the ball with ease and he produces, not sure why he isn’t run into the ground at this point.

Preview—enter the Jimmy G-less San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night.  San Fran brings the 10th ranked defense in yards, 29th in points.  Green Bay matches up their 10th ranked offense (18th in points) vs that, so they should be able to move the ball at will, but is that enough to punch the ball in the end zone?  That’s the key, the Packers didn’t punt last week, so not to give up a ton of opportunities, will likely result in a bunch of points and more wins.

The 9ers’ defense is 10th in yards, 29th in points—not sure what to pull from that aside from them likely turning the ball over or giving their opponents’ short fields.  The Packers bring the 10th rated offense and 18th in points…so they’re the antithesis- not taking advantage of TDs when getting close.  Bunch of yards, minimal points…Green Bay needs to punch it in more often to get rolling and begin to build something.

What does this all mean?  I don’t know, maybe give #33 the ball a bunch more, run the offense from under center and don’t turn the ball over.  Pretty easy.

49ers 13
Packers 24

34-23, time to get back on track…really tough schedule coming up!


Keeping Pace…with Chicago?

Review – That could’ve been one of the most complete games the Packers have played in quite some time, except for the QB calling out his head coach’s gameplan.  The Packers’ 22-0 victory was encouraging to say the least, considering the Bills went into Minnesota the week prior and smacked around the Vikings.  As for the defensive gameplan, Mike Pettine obviously kept rookie QB, Josh Allen, in the pocket and forced him to make the proper read and throw to beat him.  Safe to say that was the best plan of attack.

The Packers held Buffalo to a total of 145 yards of offense, which is just incredible, even if it is the Bills.  Hopefully that’s something Green Bay can build from moving forward as they’re about to see a much tougher schedule.

Preview—moving to Detroit, one of the most puzzling teams to figure out in the NFL.  The Lions have 3 losses, yet their 1 win came against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.  Even if Matt Patricia (Detroit’s new head coach) came from New England, that still doesn’t make sense.  For those that have followed the Packers for quite some time, there’s no need to inform you that Detroit has frustrated the Packers over the course of the last two decades…or at least Green Bay doesn’t play nearly as well there as they do in Lambeau vs the Lions.

So how do the Packers matchup against the Lions?  Green Bay brings the 17th ranked offense (19th in points) into Detroit to face the 8th ranked defense (24th in points).  What does this mean?  Well with 2 of the top 3 WR targets in doubt for Green Bay, leaving a possible Davante Adams and 3 rookie Wide receivers + so far unreliable Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks as pass-catchers, it hopefully means a lot more Aaron Jones, which will open up the play action game and allow Aaron Rodgers to be, potentially, lethal.  Aaron Jones, HB #33, has 17 carries for 107 yards…that’s good enough for a 6.3 yards/carry—that tells me the Packers need to find a way to bring that avg. down.  Why do I want that avg. down you may ask?  Because if he’s getting 20-25 carries/game, Jones won’t be getting 6+ yards/carry, and if he does, problem solved!!!

As for the other side of the ball, Detroit has the 11th ranked offense (18th in points) matching up against the Packers’ 6th ranked defense (11th in points).  As for pure rankings, it seems these teams are somewhat even, and when that’s the case I look at the Quarterback and Head Coach matchup.  I think that sways in the Packers’ favor in each dept., even if many are ready for the Packers to move on from Mike McCarthy (I’m fine with it if that’s the case), Patricia is still an unknown and 2 other things: 1. He got blasted by a bad Jets team at home; 2. Belicheck’s coaching tree is anything but impressive.

Look for the Packers to keep the ball in front of them, meaning not let any big plays over the top, and force Stafford to small-ball them to death.  If that’s the case, he’ll likely throw the Packers the ball a few times and if the Packers win the turnover battle, it should be over.

Overall— it’ll likely be a battle, with possibly the Packers jumping out to a 2-score lead and be tied late in the 4th with Rodgers looking to make a drive/play to clinch it.  I’m thinking Mason Crosby (somewhat) redeems himself from his miss vs Minnesota, and nails a game-winner.

Packers 27
Lions 24

34-22, overall record.