Good Quiz Before a True Test?

With a quick turnaround, at home, the advantage completely falls onto the Packers’ side.  The main reason I picked against Green Bay in week 1 is travelling to a good team, on the road, in primetime is a recipe for disaster…add on short rest and it spells even a worse outcome…usually.  This is a good opponent, quality that’s struggling, to gear up for long rest before heading to Dallas to face the best team in the NFC…arguably.

Recap~ Turnovers.  That is all.  That was the difference in this game.  The Packers forced and capitalized on 3 turnovers.  The biggest coming on the 3rd play of the 2nd half, Jaire Alexander snatched the ball from rookie TE Noah Fant (the tight end I would’ve been happy taking in this past year’s draft).  From there the Packers took four plays to punch it in the end zone and assume control of the game.  Otherwise it seemed the Packers were in decent control and should win, but it was a 7 point game and the Broncos driving.  The biggest issue coming away from the game was time of possession.  The turnovers were the ultimate equalizer, but the Packers only had 41% time of possession.  Coming up on a short week, that’s a bit scary.

Preview~ like the previous 2 games, the Packers improved a bit from the game prior on offense, while the defense essentially controlled the entire game AND closed it out.  Again refreshing, and yet again another opponent with a better QB than the week before (although there may not be a difference between Mitch and Cousins).  Carson Wentz has all of the tools and demeanor to come into Lambeau on a wild primtime night and get a victory.  Here’s why that could happen.

  • Philadelphia won the Super Bowl in 2017 and maintains much of that roster.
  • Head Coach (and former Packers backup QB) Doug Pederson isn’t afraid to take risks.
  • They have an all-world defender in Fletcher Cox, on the D-line that gives everyone problems.—However, he’s been almost non-existent this season.
  • They’re pissed coming off a home loss to the Detroit Lions where Patricia’s defense held on at the end of the game.

Now that we’ve covered the major topics, the Packers open up as favorites (as they should) and the injury situation isn’t nearly as bad as recent years, Green Bay should be in the driver’s seat all game and pull out the victory.  To expect the defense to hold the Eagles to < 20 points may be a bit aggressive, defenses usually are gassed on short rest.  The flip side to that is the Packers offense may finally crack the 30 point mark for the first time this season, and they may have to in order to win this game.

Look for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to get a decent amount of work- at least let’s hope they combine for > 22 carries like they did last week.  Jones was stymied pretty much all day, even the 2 TDs he scored he had to work for.  The opposition may have the same gameplan towards the Packers offense that Mike Pettine takes toward the Packers’ opponents’ offense: make the QB beat you with his arm.  Fortunately for the Packers, again as much as I “criticize” Rodgers for, he’s outplaying his opposing # and he may be good enough again for the 4th straight week.

Like always, take a look at the line of scrimmage and that will dictate who forces more turnovers/negative plays, and which QB ultimately plays better.

Eagles 23
Packers 31

Season: 2-1
Overall: 45-26

Opportunity Seized…

Advantage taken, opportunity seized.  It’s refreshing to see a Packers team win because of defense.  While the offense got off to a hot start, it completely vanished—while many will speculate as to why, I’m not sure we’ll know the reason for at least 2-6 more weeks.

Recap ~ Kirk Cousins is still terrible, nothing has changed.  Week 2, like week 1—Rodgers outplayed his opposite number.  The Packers defense has now closed out consecutive games for the first time since 2010 (that’s just going off memory).  The Smith Bros. (they’re not really brothers, FYI) again have reminded us what a nice thing it is to have legitimate pass-rushers at pass rushing positions.  We’ve also seen the secondary for the 2nd straight week essentially lockdown another good receiving corps.  All in all, a great win, just odd that the offense seemed to hit on all cylinders until the scripted plays ran out.

Preview ~ The Denver Broncos also boast a solid defense, and an awesome matchup of premier pass/edge rushers vs. one of the best Tackle-combos in the NFL…Bradley Chubb (#55) and Von Miller (#58) vs. David Bakhtiari (#69) and Bryan Bulaga (#75).  As in the first 2 games, the team that controlled the line of scrimmage controlled the game.  The Packers did just that, hence the 2-0 start, expect more of the same…more so from the Packers’ defensive front vs. the Broncos’ OL, leading Joe Flacco into some risky throws.  The Packers should have a chance to pick-off at least 3 passes, should they catch all 3, ball game.

That’s about it, should be a solidly played defensive game from both teams, but I expect the Packers’ QB to play better than Flacco.

Broncos 13
Packers 24

Season: 1-1
Overall: 44-26

**Should be a good prep for the Eagles on Thursday Night!**

Big Opportunity is an Understatement.

Just like last year, the Packers find themselves with a grand opportunity to take control of the division after having beaten the Bears in their opener.  To go 2-0 vs. the division would be a huge step in the proper direction for this organization’s rebuild and for a rookie Head Coach to build a locomotive-like momentum of confidence.

Review~ The Packers held Chicago to 254 total yards of offense, registered 5 sacks, and had the game’s only turnover (an interception by former Bear, Adrian Amos Jr.).  While the Packers’ D showed vast improvement, even if against a crap QB, the Packers’ offense didn’t look any different aside from the QB not reacting as quickly on hot reads as he had in the previous scheme.  That’s to be expected considering he, obviously, mastered McCarthy’s offense and everyone else was on the same page far more often than can be expected after implementing a new offense.  However, the offense truly struggled and in 13 possessions had 9 punts—I believe a previous blog I had titled “9 Punts?!?!”  The difference here was Aaron Rodgers managed the game, knowing his defense was in control and that Mitch Trubisky wasn’t going to win the game unless the offense handed it to them.  Kudos due where kudos is due.

The defense controlled, closed, and won the game—there were 2 things that stuck out:

  1. Improved Tackling—minimal YAC by the Bears
  2. Pass Rush

All in all, a great Win considering it’s a new coaching staff, going into a primetime game, on the road, vs. a team that believes they have a shot at winning the Super Bowl (which the Bears don’t, but still).

Preview~ one of the few teams that looked as good, if not better than, the Packers…enter the Minnesota Vikings.  Again, their competition needs to be taken into account, but they did what they were supposed to—opened at home, and jumped all over the Falcons.  The Vikings utilized their uber-talented HB, Dalvin Cook.  He’s the best version of Aaron Jones, super explosive, good vision, and a home run hitter from the backfield.  The Packers have the ability to attack Minnesota’s weaknesses, as they did in their week 2 match-up last year.  Their weaknesses you ask?  The QB and OL.  Defensive Coordinator, Mike Pettine, ran quite a bit of 3-3-5 (3 DL, 3 LBs, and 5 DBs)…allowing Kenny Clark to be single-teamed, which usually results in disaster for his opposition.

If the Packers can get a similar pass rush vs. Cousins as they did Mitch, the defense should have another good day.  However, it’s difficult to image the Vikings abandoning the run as Chicago did…Minnesota and Cousins only had 10 pass attempts all game, meaning they pounded the ball.

Win the turnover battle, and/or have no turnovers and I think Rodgers will be able to make a play or two to pull this one out.

Vikings 16
Packers 20

Season Record: 1-0
Overall Record: 43-26

First Game, Huge Game.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I don’t have a good handle on who/what the Packers are…no one really should.  There are so many new pieces, both coaches and players, to really understand what the Packers are going to be.  So let’s look at what each team was last year, whom/what they added and lost, and give an educated guess as to what each actually may be now…

After the 2018 campaign, the Bears ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.  The Packers were a “middle of the road” team in each offense and defense.  Which was very indicative of each team’s record.


2018 Packers Bears
Offense 14th 9th
Defense 22nd 1st

As you can see the Packers are outclassed in these rankings, but let’s look at the key additions.

Packers ~ obviously the largest addition is the coaching staff.  An overhaul of strategy, scheme, and environment (mindset).  What has been a weakness for years can now be argued as a strength; defensive secondary.  The Packers traded away Haha Clinton-Dix and replaced him with Adrian Amos (funny enough essentially traded safeties with Chicago).  Amos is one of the better safeties in football, and the other Safety, Darnell Savage, has pure raw ability to be something – great role model to learn from in Amos is now here vs. Haha’s gambling a$$.  Again, this is a huge IF, but if Kevin King can stay healthy the Packers boast a borderline great secondary, couple that with new pass-rushers in The Smiths (Za’Darius and Preston) and the defense really could be improved.

Thinking further, the Packers scheme-change on offense (should have quite a bit more of a run focus) should keep the defense off the field longer and should make them more effective.  If Rodgers is asked to only make 25-30 throws/game, that could really equate to a very efficient offense (points/possession) while the defense wouldn’t have to play as much, making them better, so on and so forth.

Bears ~ the largest loss for Chicago, I believe, was Vic Fangio (defensive coordinator).  He went to become the Head Coach at Denver, and really turned this Bears’ defense around in his time, then getting Khalil Mack really helped as well.  However, with him leaving, and the QB of the defense, Adrian Amos, not only leaving, but joining your week 1 opponent—that could really set a disadvantage or at least negate the major advantage they could have had.  The Bears also let HB Jordan Howard walk, but drafted high-ceiling/low-basement HB David Montgomery from Iowa St.

Overall- these two teams split their season series last year, each winning their home game.  The Surprise Factor has been discussed this week, meaning the Bears had an advantage last year because they had a new coach which was unknown and the Packers’ defense had no clue what to expect, but adjusted nicely and ultimately won the game.  Bears QB Mitch Trubisky didn’t play a lick of preseason last year as well, and the offense had no issue in the 1st half of the first game, so assuming the Packers and Aaron Rodgers would experience the same may actually be accurate.

X-Factor?  Aside from the QBs or Khalil Mack, I truly believe the Packers’ OL vs. the Bears’ DL will dictate the outcome of this game.  That makes me happy as a former offensive lineman J

Packers 21
Bears 24

Season Record: 0-0
Overall Record: 43-25

How Will it All Play Out?

It’s finally here!  I think this is the exact phrase used annually, yet it always seems to feel right—football is back and the NFL is back!  For those that have read this entire time with me, my condolences, it must be painful, however thank you!  So let’s get to it, shall we?

For the first time in a while it feels as though the NFL is wide open.  Well, at least it feels like there’s more than 2-3 teams with a legitimate shot to win the Lombardi Trophy.  Speaking of wide open, I have no clue what to expect from the Packers this year.  They’ve gone through a 99% rebuild (I’d say complete, but that would mean 100% and as long as Rodgers is here, the Packers haven’t turned every stone) and it was needed.  I wish, as a growing minority also believe, Green Bay would’ve gone through the completion of the rebuild—but here we are.  I can see the Packers finishing anywhere from 8-8 to 12-4 and as awesome as it would be, there’s no chance this team wins the Super Bowl.  With that, let’s move on to what the entire league will look like…

As I do every year, in order to pick records for every team, those records must add-up correctly, so I go through the schedule grid for all 32 teams and pick Wins and Losses, then coincide those selections to each team’s schedule, making up their record.  It’s tough to do since a lot of the time you’re conscious of a team you always pick against and another couple you always pick to win.  What I’m mainly looking for is rankings in the standings and playoff seeding.  That seems to have worked out.

North East
Chicago 10 6 Philadelphia 11 5
Green Bay 10 6 Dallas 9 7
Minnesota 8 8 New York 7 9
Detroit 3 13 Washington 5 11
South West
New Orleans 9 7 Los Angeles 12 4
Carolina 8 8 Seattle 8 8
Atlanta 7 9 San Francisco 5 11
Tampa Bay 6 10 Arizona 4 12


North East
Cleveland 12 4 New England 11 5
Pittsburgh 11 5 Miami 7 9
Baltimore 9 7 Buffalo 6 10
Cincinnati 5 11 New York 5 11
South West
Jacksonville 10 6 Kansas City 12 4
Houston 9 7 Los Angeles 12 4
Indianapolis 6 10 Denver 7 9
Tennessee 5 11 Oakland 4 12


NFC Seeds AFC Seeds
Rams 1 Chiefs
Eagles 2 Browns
Bears 3 Patriots
Saints 4 Jaguars
Packers 5 Chargers
Cowboys 6 Steelers

Wild Card Round:

  • Dallas @ Chicago
  • Pittsburgh @ New England
  • LA Chargers @ Jacksonville
  • Green Bay @ New Orleans

Divisional Round:

  • Chicago @ Philadelphia
  • New England @ Cleveland
  • New Orleans @ LA Rams
  • LA Chargers @ Kansas City

Championship Sunday:

  • New Orleans @ Philadelphia
  • New England @ Kansas City

Super Bowl LIV, Miami, FL:

  • New Orleans vs. Kansas City

Super Bowl LIV Champions…

  • This is tough, both would go against most of what I’ve been saying about winners in the last 4-5 years. Either Brees gets a 2nd, along with his head coach, Sean Payton and it’s been 10 years since they won their 1st—or Andy Reid finally wins one after coaching forever and having boatloads of talent on most of his teams…If this is the matchup I really don’t have a rooting interest because either Brees solidifies himself as a QB with 2 rings or Mahommes and Reid get their 1st and further prove the point that ANYONE can win ONE (borrowed phrase from a friend)…

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS—win their 2nd Super Bowl