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.
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.