Review~ anyone with 2 eyes – or 1 eye for that matter – could see the connection between Rodgers and Adams as something more than special. The two connected on another touchdown in 8 consecutive games. This is the life-blood of the offense, maybe the team. The defense seems to shut teams down in stretches of games, but never for an entire game. This is all well and good in the regular season, but come playoff time is a dangerous way to live.
The Lions opened up with the short-passing game and it worked, as it usually does, vs. a Bend-but-don’t-Break defense. For those that don’t understand, the concept of a Bend But Don’t Break D is to force the offense to put together long, methodical drives to score. This puts the onus on the offense to not have commit a mistake (holding penalty, sack, or turnover) – the likelihood obviously increases with longer drives. If Stafford is a good enough QB to captain a below average roster down the field and score a TD, it’s a bit disconcerting what a Brees, Wilson, or Brady could do…either way, the entire concept is banking on Rodgers being able to convert at a higher rate vs. their defenses as opposed to them converting vs. Green Bay’s…which is always the case in any game, ever. Hence why QB’s are judged by Super Bowl titles. I digress…the Packers did what they do, scored 5 times out of their 8 drives, with their last drive closing out the game. Even at that rate, it seemed like they weren’t hitting on all cylinders, but what will be key moving forward is the run game. Holding the ball for long drives and keeping their defense fresh and wearing out the opponents’ D will be crucial to how far this team can go. Green Bay dominated time of possession once again, holding the ball for over 35 minutes. They do that AND win the turnover battle (or don’t lose it), I can’t see how they lose a game.
Current Standing~ with the help from Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia, the Packers move into the 1st seed in the NFC playoff picture due to the Eagles beating the Brees-less Saints. New Orleans has the toughest matchup possible this week, hosting Kansas City, with minimal to no fans. Should the Packers get a little help from Washington (hosts Seattle) and the Chiefs (@ Saints), and the Packers take care of business tonight, they could be sitting pretty heading into the final 2 games of the regular season.
Preview~ enter the Carolina Panthers. This is a bad football team with some top talent, so there are a few guys to keep an eye on. Obviously, their best player is star running back, Christian McCaffery. Last year in Lambeau he had 26 touches for 141 yards and a TD, which was actually a decent job by the Packers’ D…points to how good he is. As I write this, McCaffery is listed as “Doubtful,” which doesn’t stop their ESPN beat writer from picking them to have a “last-minute comeback win over the Packers.” If the Packers find a way to lose this game, you can be all but certain they have zero shot at winning the Super Bowl. Super Bowl-caliber-winning teams don’t lose late-December home games to crap teams missing their star player.
|Car D v GB O||Car O v GB D|
You can see the Packers, once again, have the distinct advantage when they have the ball. They’re facing the 20th-ranked defense (in terms of points allowed) and should have no problem hanging another 30+. It’s an even match-up when the Panthers have the ball, but even then, their playmakers are at the Wide Receiver position, no longer the HB or TE (Olsen gone is a huge help too). Teddy Two-Gloves should see a fierce pass-rush, hopefully from rising helper, Rashan Gary (if he keeps progressing, I’ll gladly admit I was wrong) and maybe Preston Smith can contribute something this year?