Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Take -> NFC Divisional Round

Greetings, G-Force.

I write with confidence. For those that have followed this blog long enough, you know my theory is to write with an optimistic, yet realistic approach. I envision the Packers winning. Weekly. I believe in the Green Bay Packers organization. It's been tough to keep the faith in the 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers. Frankly, from a rooting perspective, it's been one of the difficult versions of the Green Bay Packers to love. It's been a frustrating season. But, when their backs were against the wall. In the Wild Card round. Down 11-0. On the road. Facing a 3rd & 4. The Packers offense found life. They never looked back. Suddenly, once again, there was rejuvenated hope within the hearts, minds and souls of the Packers community. And, with this organization, communal belief goes a long way.

As I write, I calmly listen to the Bob Marley "Confrontation" album. It's Marley's last album. Released 2 years after his death. A compilation of largely unreleased tunes. It offers a great vision of how much beautiful music was left in his creative life prior to his departure. Give Thanks and Praises is a gorgeous, but underrated Marley tune. The consistently of the album runs smoothly. Elegantly. It'll carry the mood. Throughout.

I sip a Renegade Depravity. A milk stout that is littered with Peanut Butter. Most Peanut Butter Stouts will leave you requiring a toothbrush due to the residue of the powder that lingers post consumption. Not this one. A true treat. When it's around, I buy it by the growler. Often. 11% ABV. It's beautiful. It doesn't overpower you with syrup. Instead, it's a legit pour. That leaves the mouth watering for more. I love this beer. I look forward to it annually.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* I love Mike McCarthy. Prior to this year, he's always seemed to rally the team when they were in a time of need. In the first truly desperate moment of the season, his offense came together. To the tune of 32 points over a crucial 5 consecutive possessions. The offense was creative. It was cerebral. It had variety. It was productive. Even in makeshift form, the results were splendid. Props to you, Mike McCarthy.

* While the team scored points, it didn't play exceptionally well. There were flaws. But, for the first time in a long while, there was camaraderie. A bit of the "One mind. One purpose. One heart. One goal." type mentality seemed to exist. You know, XLV-style. There was togetherness. There was teamship. From the eye test, the team appeared to be having fun. That was entertainment to my amateur eye.

* Aaron Rodgers completed 58% of his passes. He threw for 210 yards. He averaged 5.8 yards per attempt. And, that, my fellow Packer friends, is exactly why I don't live and die by the box score anymore. While Rodgers wasn't overly dominant, he was efficient. He wasn't a precise as we've seen him in years past, but he was in control. He commanded the line of scrimmage. He connected on important third down plays. He led TD drives of 80, 60, 80 and 76 yards. He wasn't the surgeon. Instead he was the engineer. And, the results offered hope for the future.

* It was great to see the ball in a number of different players hands. In the past, it was the norm for 7 different receivers to catch passes. But, that disappeared over the 2nd half of the season. Against Washington, 4 players carried the ball and 7 players caught passes. We used our weapons. We moved the ball effectively. We saw the results that we've been yearning to taste. It's important to spread the pig skin wealth.

* It was great to see the Packers defensive line riding high and applying pressure. Mike Neal with the vital strip-sack and recovery that turned the tide and gave the Packers the ball back as the Redskins threatened to extend their lead. Nick Perry was active with 2.5 sacks. Clay was a dictator with 1.5 sacks and multiple pressures. He was dangerous on the stunt. Peppers looked youthful with his 2 QB hits. On multiple occasions, Peppers was forcing Cousins to move off of his spot as Peppers got a push from the DT spot. Mike Daniels may not have been in an authority in the box score, he was a pursuant on the field. He consistently won the leverage battle and collapsed the pocket. BJ Raji displayed great quickness. His excitement along the line caused all kinds of issues for the interior of the Redskins OL.

* Another game in which YELLOW JAKE showed he can play in the NFL. Especially in the run game. He's showing first-class run stopping skills.

* Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward played their best football of the season. In fact, Hayward earned himself a pay check. Someone will watch Hayward's ball skills and tackling from the win over the Redskins and they'll overpay him. I doubt it'll be Green Bay that offers him the money, so he's likely gone. But, Hayward was straight-up balling on Sunday!

* Q-Rollins can tackle. In fact, he might be the best text book tackler on the team.

* Jeff Janis continues to shine on special teams.

* HaHa Clinton-Dix's high effort play to force DeSean Jackson out of bounds just shy of the goal line was an important play of the game. It slowed the Redskins momentum, while the Packers offense figured out how to attack the Redskins defense.

* It was nice to see Letroy Guion getting a push into the offensive backfield. That hasn't happened much in the 2015 season.

* JC Tretter might've saved the Packers season. It's been a struggle to find replacements at Tackle on the OL. After a rough first quarter, Tretter was up for the challenge. He wasn't forceful, but he was impressive over the last three quarters. Highly versatile player.

* Liked seeing Abby in the slot and Cobb on the outside. With Abby on the field, McCarthy has options as a play caller in the no-huddle. He can shift Cobb to the outside or move him to the backfield. He can create confusion for the defense. Abby's presence also gives Rodgers the ability to adjust at the line of scrimmage. It seems as though the Packers can play faster at the line of scrimmage - due to their versatility and options - when Abby is on the field. I'd like to see Abby roll into the backfield and to see him on a swing pass. Much like we saw Ty Montgomery earlier in the year. I'd imagine that's the next dimension of those packages.

* We saw Jeff Janis line up in the slot. Nothing came of it. But, I have to wonder if there's a deep ball coming to Janis out of the slot. Maybe on a wheel route. One in which he's lined up against a 2nd tier DB who lacks the speed that Janis offers. Might be a big play coming out of that formation. McCarthy has been known to hide formations for key situations. Look for a play in which Janis runs a wheel route out of the slot. I'd think he'd be in man-coverage. With little emphasis. I picture Janis lined up in the slot to the right. Jones to the outside of him. Jones runs a quick slant that acts as a mini pick. Janis wheels around him up the sideline. And, then he uses his speed. If I were McCarthy, I'd design the play.

* Sad to see AQ81 out for the year. Hoping Perillo gets a shot to move chains. Sitting down just across the first-down stick on little curl routes. Have to play the chains this week.

* I've wondered if Kennard Backman would make a play down the seam this year. Maybe on play-action. No one would be prepared for it. It could be a wrinkle to throw in this week. And, it would not take genius creativity to design it. A simple go route. Backman lined up tight to Bakhtiari on the left side of the line. He's on the short side of the field. Fake the draw to Lacy to the strong side of the field. Look for Backman streaking. Could find a nice gain.

* Randall Cobb touched the ball 8 times. That's a winning formula.

* Just when Davante Adams looked to be ready to make an impact on the 2015 Season, he goes down with a fluke injury. Bummer.

* Aaron Rodgers and James Jones were in lock-step with one another. Fun to watch.

* We saw Aaron Rodgers smile. Yes, it happened. I DVR'd the game. I watched the game a 2nd time. It really occurred. It was pretty cool.

* The Packers were struggling. Looking poorly. Down 11-0. I opened a Boulevard Love Child #4. There needed to be more love. Additionally, we all gave Family Hugs. An offensive onslaught ensued. Believe in the Family Hugs. When in doubt, hug a family member. Forever.

* There was a Green 'n Yellow Bumblebee and Green 'n Yellow Hornet connection for the first time in what seems like a season. Both Starks and Lacy were impactful. Both were found in the end zone. Both were determined. Both were consistently grabbing plus yardage.

* I'm happy Robertson Daniel is on the Packers roster. He's a long, active DB. He can run. But, I hope he's not needed this weekend. Really hoping Sammy Swagga and Q-Rollins are fit to go. The fact that he's activated has me concerned about the availability of both Sammy and Rollins.

This week - it's the Cardinals. In Arizona. The same place in which the Packers were absolutely destroyed in Week 16. In the last match-up, the Packers were fully dominated. They were banged up on the OL. They had no answer for Freeney or Calais Campbell. Campbell and Freeney punished the Packers. Early and often. It became a blood bath. The Packers were demolished. The same won't apply in the playoffs.

The Cardinals took advantage of a depleted Packers OL in the previous meeting. But, this week, it appears as though the Packers OL will be healthier than it's been since mid-season. It sounds as if the entire OL has at least had limited participation most of the week. I'm hoping this leads to a better rhythm. A unit that is in-sync. I'm envisioning an OL that wins the point of attack. An OL with continuity. And togetherness. An OL that dominates the Cardinals secondary. While the Cardinals defensive front is talented, they aren't nearly as good as they were in our previous match-up.

Expect the Packers to establish the run early. Expect the Packers to pound away at the Cardinals DL. An abundance of Lacy. The Packers will move the Cardinals DL backwards. Lacy will cut forward and grab yards. In chunks. He'll keep the chains moving. If the Packers try to run the ball laterally, it won't work. Instead, they attack the Cardinals right between the tackles.

Defensively, it's beyond important for the Packers to win the line of scrimmage. They have to get Carson Palmer off his spot. Palmer can't move. They need to see Palmer move. They need to hit Palmer. Let Palmer know that we came to play. The Packers have to be more physical than the Cardinals on the interior of the line. I love seeing Peppers and Clay lined up next to each other. With Clay stunting to the inside. If Capers designs the same again this week, Clay will intimidate Palmer. He'll force a mistake. On the backside, it's Neal or Perry coming on speed rushes with Daniels collapsing. The Packers have to live in Carson Palmer's face.

The Cardinals have a number of offensive weapons. I'd argue that they have more talent at the skill positions than any offense in the league. David Johnson exposed YELLOW JAKE in the first match-up. YELLOW JAKE is going to have play tougher and quicker than he did the last time we matched up. Larry Fitzgerald is a match-up nightmare for the Packers in the slot. If Sammy Swagga can't play, the Packers don't have anyone that can match the speed of John Brown. The Packers had no answer for Michael Floyd in the first contest.

In order for the Packers to slow down the Cardinals offense, they're going to have to play two-deep safety to prevent the 15-20 yard routes. They need to congest the secondary past the marker. Force Carson Palmer to be patient. They need to make Palmer stick to the underneath routes. I doubt Palmer will stay disciplined. And, eventually, while rushing 4, the Packers will get pressure on Palmer. They'll force the mistake. But, the Packers have to prevent the big plays deep down the field. Make the Cardinals be methodical in their approach. Trust that we can get pressure with 4 rotating DL. And, an occasional 5th man coming on the blitz. If the Cardinals are attacking deep down the field with even moderate success, it could be a long day for the Packers defense.

Mike McCarthy is going to have to be aggressive. The Packers are going to need to create two additional possessions in order to win. They can come via turnovers, fake punts, fake FG's, or onside kicks. Somehow, someway, the Packers have to generate two possessions in this game. Ideally, they'll come through Carson Palmer mistakes. But, if not, McCarthy has to be aggressive in taking chances.

The Packers play no-huddle offense. They try to keep the Cardinals personnel on the field in an attempt to wear the down. They strive to find a free play or two. Rodgers succeeds and finds a big play down the sideline to Jones, who, once again, is rockin' a hoodie. Ever the fashion warrior, Jones shows that he's eager to continue his playing career in Green Bay. Jones tops 80 yards and scores a TD.

Rodgers is in control. He moves the offense with intent. He's on point.

Whoever gets the ball last, wins. Thankfully, the Good Lord is shining his Light on the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers delivers. He gets the Packers into FG range. Crosby connects.

Packers 34
Cardinals 31

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Take -> NFC Wild Card

Greetings, G-Force.

I often say that we are all a product of our roots. We apply those roots to today. In my youth, I had a Mother that loved more than anyone I've ever met. I had a Father that smiled and enjoyed life more than anyone I've ever met. On Sunday's in the fall, we watched Packers football. Come playoff time, we watched football with great intent. Though I was at the 1982 Packers 41-16 victory over the Cardinals, I was only 4 years old. The game is vividly etched in my mind. I loved the fire throughout Lambeau on that great day. It had been 10 years since the Packers had been in the playoffs. Post that year, as I watched the playoffs, I yearned for that Packers playoff feeling. The Packers never tasted a playoff game again in the 80's. Still, I never lost my love for the team that hails from Titletown, U.S.A. I always viewed the team with a healthy perspective - painful as it may have been. The Packers are a soulmate of mine.

As I write, I sip a Crooked Stave Silly Cybies. It's a Belgian Style Dark Ale. Aged in Oak Barrels. With raspberries. Measuring in at 9.0% ABV. A tremendous treat. Perfectly sour. With a heavy raspberry flavor throughout. True perfection. Pumping through the speakers is the Phish White Tape. Felt that it had a couple of lyrics that brought comedic approach when absorbing them with the current state of the Packers fans I communicate with.

Trey opens the vinyl with these lyrics: "Woke up this morning and I had those walking blues. I wasn't walking nowhere cause I didn't have no floor." Reminded me of how buzzed out Packers fans have been throughout the 2nd half of the season. And, the views that there was no bottom. Well, after losing 6 of the last 10 games, it's possible that the fans were right. But, in my opinion, that's no way to live. Why choose the doldrums of life? This team has playoff exposure. It's tasted playoff success. Keep the spirits up!

I love the ACDC bag lyrics when Trey belts out: "Time to put your money where your mouth is. Put 'em in a field and let 'em fight it out. I'm running so fast my feet don't touch the ground. I'm a stranger here I'm going down. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Let's get this show on the road!" It's playoff time! Time to see what this team is really made of. The Redskins are the strangers to that playoff feeling. The Packers have the experience. Let's play!

Here are my quick thoughts over the last week:

* The ghosts of Lambeau's past were showing their faces as Teddy Bridgewater threw the ball left handed. They smiled down on 1265 Lombardi Ave as Mason Crosby forced a fumble. They flexed their muscles as Teddy Bridgewater mysteriously dropped a handoff to AP. The crowd was animated. The team wasn't good enough. In the Regular Season, the Packers didn't have the pension to seize victory. And, thus, we finished 10-6. We lost the NFC North crown to the 'queens. At the most hallowed of American theaters. That's an awful buzz. But, as a community, we must bounce back. As now, it's for real. Keep those vibes -- kind.

* I've been vocal about the relationship between Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers. Reading of their body languages - it hasn't seem healthy. There's appeared to be clear discontent. A true disgust that was lingering behind the scenes. It was frustrating to watch. McCarthy seemed infuriated by his inability to reach his 2x MVP QB. Rodgers appeared to be disgruntled. Unappreciative of his mastermind Head Coach. Neither had made a public comment to negate such thoughts. And, then Pete Dougherty wrote this article on Friday morning: - and if you haven't read it, buzz in. It's my favorite read of the year. They both admit to the conflict that has brought struggles, but they also both seem to have it behind it. Are they legit emotions? Possibly. Was it a PR stunt? Potentially. Either way - I embrace the article. It was a great way for both of them to put on their game faces. It offers hope that Clark Kent is walking into a phone booth. It's time to flip the proverbial light switch.

* If I could define the 2015 Regular Season in 3 plays, it'd be:

1.) 4th & 5. 2nd Quarter. Trailing 6-3. James Jones beats Xavier Rhodes on a double move. In past years, this would've been a TD. Jones had a step and a half. Instead, the reigning MVP was short on his pass and thus, the ball was knocked away. In 2015, Aaron Rodgers wasn't his MVP self.
2.) Trailing 13-3, but showing signs of life after a sublime Micah Hyde interception. It felt like a moment in which the Packers would cut the lead to a one-score game. 3rd & 12 after a questionable holding call on Corey Linsley negated a physical first-down run by Eddie Lacy. Josh Sitton playing LT for the first time in his NFL career. Playing it with less than a week of practice. A week in which there weren't even enough healthy DL for him to hone his skills, so he was practicing against a pass rushing OL. But, on this crucial 3rd down play, Sitton has to block a hard pursuing Everson Griffen. Sitton isn't up for the challenge as Griffen blows by him. Griffen hits Rodgers' arm just before the ball is released. The ball falls to the turf. The 'queens pick it up and return the ball 55 yards for a TD to make it 20-3. The 2015 team has suffered too many injuries to function. They gave a valiant effort. But, the results weren't good enough to claim the Division crown.
3.) Teddy Bridgewater fumbles the handoff to AP. The seems to bounce to YELLOW JAKE. But, YELLOW JAKE isn't able to win the fight for the ball. Instead, AP recovers. All year, the Packers have struggled to recover the loose football. They have won the 50/50 ball when it's been rolling on the turf. So close. Yet, so far away.

* Vince Lombardi is quoted as saying, "The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising agin after you fall." The Packers have fallen. But, with the playoffs in the present, it's time RISE UP!

* Loving Jeff Janis as a gunner.

* Wake up, Kennard Backman.

* The 2015 Regular Season Green Bay Packers weren't good enough to overcome mistakes. They needed to be overly precise. Without perfect precision, the Packers didn't finish drives. On the opening drive, the Packers were dominating the line of scrimmage. Pounding the ball at the heart of the 'queens defense. Over the first 12 plays, the Packers drove the ball 69 yards. Mostly on the ground. And, then McCarthy calls a great roll-out to the left. AQ81 was open in the flat. Right in front of Rodgers. The reigning MVP didn't see him. Instead he threw the ball away. When the Packers haven't capitalized on those 2nd down plays, the drives have stalled. This was also evidenced prior to the 4th & 5 mis-throw by Rodgers. On 2nd & 4, Rodgers hit Cobb in the flat. Appeared like it'd definitely be a first-down and if he made one person miss, it could've been a TD. Instead Cobb dropped the ball. Eventually, the drive stalled.

* How do the Packers conduct a practice? If you have 53 players on the active roster and 18 are either not participating or limited participants, you're down to 35 players. Then, consider that 3 of those players are QB's and 3 are specialists. All of a sudden, you're down to 29 players who are taking part in practice. Further, consider that the top 6 OL on the roster are on the injury report. Not fully participating. Also, Raji, Guion, Elliott, Neal, Perry, Daniels, and Datone Jones have all been off and on the injury report over the last 2 weeks. With that said, how is Mike McCarthy expected to put together a game plan? McCarthy has often said that "Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance." So, without his team on the practice field, how is McCarthy supposed to prepare his team? Seems like an overwhelming challenge.

* I give heavy kudos to TJ Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton, and David Bakhtiari. They are all warriors on the OL. A turn back the clock style of player. True fighters. 1960's type players. But, let's face it. When you don't practice all week and then you have to battle a beastly 300 pound man in 1 on 1 protection on Sunday, how do you expect them to consistently win? You'd have to imagine that they miss the mark on their ideal hand placement or that they miss the leverage battle on occasion - simply because they haven't been able to practice all week. You need repetition. It brings muscle memory. When you don't practice, how do you improve? How can you work on tendencies? You can't. And, thus, mistakes will occur.

* The Packers have run a timing offense. Based on precision. Oft mastered during the week and then put on display on Sundays. But, when you don't have your team on the practice field, how do you master your craft? You don't.

* I often wonder how much endurance is lost due to the team not practicing. Mike Daniels has come out as a ball of fire over the last couple of weeks. But, he wasn't able to sustain his energy throughout. He wore down. Can you blame him?

* Great to see Micah Hyde finding the football. Twice!

* Mason Crosby. WOW! Was almost a play for the ages.

* I'm seriously concerned about how long Sammy Swagga has been out with his injury. Didn't seem like a devastating blow when he hit the turf. Appeared to be mild contact. Clearly, it was more than what caught the eye. Vibes to Swagga! We miss him. Hope he's OK.

* I hope I never see another pass to Richard Rodgers in the flat again.

* The Packers need Justin Perillo moving sticks on short curl routes. A possession target. Who sits down in the middle of the defensive zone. Who finds the gaps. A guy that Rodgers can play pitch and catch with. Perillo has those talents.

* I'm afraid of seeing YELLOW JAKE in coverage on a RB again.

Sooner or later. It all gets real. Sunday is that day.

I remind myself that the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers weren't an impressive Regular Season team. The 2007 New York Giants were an average Regular Season team. The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers were not considered to be likely contenders. In 2010, the Packers found their way into the playoffs through the backdoor. In 2011, the Giants went 2011. In 2012, the Ravens stumbled into the playoffs. All won the Super Bowl.

In 2010, the Packers finished 10-6. They went to the NFC East Champions. Then, they went to the NFC South Champions. Then, they went to the NFC North Champions. History has a funny way of repeating itself. See you in Minnesota in a couple of weeks. Watch out, Pittsburgh. Pop Tarts comin' back again. Plus, Green Bay v Pittsburgh in Super Bowl 50 seems to make the most sense.

I kid, I kid. Kinda.

I'm not predicting a Packers Super Bowl. Not even close. But, the Packers have the best player in the NFL. He just has to play like he's the best player in the NFL. The Packers are built around Aaron Rodgers. It's time for him to put the cape on. It's time for him to carry the Packers. It's time for Rodgers to further his greatness. Aaron Rodgers has a chance to go down as one of the greatest QB's of all-time. But, in order to be considered, he has to shine in the playoffs. The lights are on. This is when careers are written. It's time for Rodgers to become untangled. It's time for Rodgers to etch his name into Legendary status. Without another Super Bowl, he'll never be considered amongst the likes of Montana and Brady. With one more, he enters the discussion. Prior to the year, I predicted 10-6 to 11-5. We finished 10-6. But, I also thought, let's get to the playoffs in see what happens. After all, we do have the best player in the NFL. He just has to play up to his standards.

In past years, the Packers have had a lot of pressure on themselves entering the playoffs. This year, there is none. Let's make a run!

The Redskins were 6-2 at home this year. They represent a dangerous opponent. Not unlike the Eagles in 2010. They're hot. Seemingly peaking. With DeSean Jackson as a lethal deep target.

Quick story. September 21, 2014. I turned to my brother-in-law. I tell him, "Someday, Kurt Cousins is going to be a starting QB in the Super Bowl." He has all of the tools. He sees the field. He makes quick decisions. He has enough mobility to move the ball with his legs. He needed to work on preventing mistakes. He was turnover prone. He seems to have fixed that part of his game.

Cousins has weapons. DeSean Jackson can still run. Without Sammy Swagga, I'm not sure that the Packers have anyone to cover him. I like our rookies, but neither of them can run with Jackson. Pierre Garcon is still a physical route runner who gets to the spot. Jamison Crowder is a solid slot receiver. Jordan Reed is arguably the 2nd most productive TE in football. He'll give the Packers fits. Matt Jones might be the best screen receiving RB in football. When Jones is on the field, the ball will be in his hands. Somehow. Some way. Either via the run or the pass. Alfred Morris isn't what he was a couple of years ago, but he's still a talented one-cut runner. But, the Washington OL can be bullied. It'll be up to Raji, Daniels, Neal, Peppers, Pennel, Perry and Guion to come out swinging.

Washington's defense gets after the QB. Chris Baker, Ryan Kerrigan, and Preston Smith can all flat-out rush the passer. Not fully one-dimensional players, but that's their best trait. If Bakhtiari isn't fit to go, I'm concerned. On the interior, Jason Hatcher will give Lang, Sitton and Linsley everything that they can handle. Terrance Knighton and Ricky Jean-Francois rotate to add beef to the 'skins run stopping efforts. The Washington LB core can be exposed outside of Perry Riley. Riley is a baller. Trent Murphy is capable, but he's proven to be a hair too slow for the NFL. Will Compton doesn't scare anyone. The Redskins secondary can be beaten. DeAngelo Hall is still a fighter, but he can be beaten on double moves. Bashed Breeland is a high effort player, but he can be outmuscled. Both Breeland and Hall are gamblers. The Redskins signed Cary Williams this week. I presume that they expect him to play a role in the nickel. His best days are behind him. He's a grabber and is sure to get penalized if he sees the field. Dashon Goldson is a fierce intimidator in the middle of the field. I'm happy that Will Blackmon has had a nice career in the NFL. I've always liked Willie. He's a great athlete. But, he's an average Safety. At best.

Look for Rodgers to get the Redskins to jump offsides on a couple of plays with his hard count. The Redskins will be itching to get to the MVP. They'll be experiencing nerves in their first playoff game since 2012. They'll be jumpy. Rodgers takes advantage. He finds a big play.

The Redskins CB's get multiple penalties as they fight at the point of the Packers WR's routes.

The Packers struggle to cover Jordan Reed on comeback routes over the middle and in the flat on play-action roll-outs. He annoys the Packers. Garcon runs the 15 yard deep-in. He runs the 20 yard post. Jackson takes off on a fly route. Matt Jones gets 50 yards on screen plays. Alfred Morris pounds away between the tackles.

YELLOW JAKE plays strong in the run game.

The Packers line Peppers at DT on the right side of the defense on 3rd down. Clay is at OLB on the right side. Peppers collapses. Takes out the Guard and the Tackle. Clay stunts to the inside. He welcomes Cousins to playoff football.

At some point, Cousins gets knocked off his spot and throws off his back foot into the hands of a Packer. I'll predict that it's HaHa who makes the play.

Nick Perry grabs a sack. Dustin Hopkins misses a FG for the 'skins. Both teams score 5 times.

I've been waiting for weeks for Rodgers to have a vintage AARON RODGERS performance. It's gotta happen. He wings it all over the park. He finds his rhythm. He finds his California Surfer Smile. He plays with glee. He's on target. Almost amazingly, Davante Adams has a big day. So does Randall Cobb. Our Regular Season memories are erased. There's new belief in the steps of the good folk in Green Bay, WI. We live for another week. And, for a moment, all feels right in the world again.

Packers 27
Redskins 23

Call me the Jokerman. I still believe in the Green Bay Packers. I will until the season dies. Forgive me, I'm wired that way.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

We're 10-5. We're hosting the 'queens at Lambeau Field. In Week 17. With a chance to win the Division for the 5th consecutive year. We control our Divisional destiny. I'll take it.

I listen to the Manu Chao "Esperanz" wax to keep the spirit alive. I sip a New Glarus Coffee Stout to send positive vibes to Football's Motherland. Had to keep the alcohol flavors as local as possible. And, it's been Stout weather in CO for the last week.

Here are my thoughts over the last week:

* 38-8. It was an annihilation. Mostly, due to our own fault. We couldn't get out of our own way. Football is a situational sport. You have to manage the game. Especially when you're as banged up as the Packers are right now. The Packers needed to get out to an early lead. They needed to control the clock in the early portion of the game. The defense came out firing. Winning the line of scrimmage. The offense came out and picked up a first down. We had another first down negated by a questionable holding call on Sitton. Had the penalty not been called the Packers would've had the ball 1st & 10 at the Arizona 27. Still, on 3rd & 13 from the Arizona 49, Rodgers hit Adams on a beautiful throw. Showing horrible footwork, Adams was unable to get his 2nd foot down. Had Adams caught the ball, the Packers would've had a first down and would've surely taken an early lead. But, Davante Adams is not a play maker. Once again, Davante Adams let the Packers down. Again, the defense held as Mike Neal had a crucial 3rd down sack to push the Cardinals out of FG range. The Packers offense showed signs of life until Davante Adams couldn't separate on a 3rd & 5 pass. Trailing 7-0, McCarthy called his "shot play." The vintage deep ball that we've seen Nelson score TD's on so many times over the years. It was Jones running the deep route, but he wasn't open. Instead, Rodgers went to the underneath route. Abby was open and should've secured a 23 yard completion. Instead, Abby dropped the ball. And, after Linsley was called for holding, the drive never got underway. Down 10-0. 2:00 to play in the half, Mike Daniels make the game changing play! A brilliant interception! 1st and 10 for the Packers from the Cardinals 15. Surely, it's going to be a one-score game entering the half. Oh, and the Packers get the ball to start the 2nd half. I'm feeling good. But, the reigning MVP went brainless. And, the Cardinals took advantage. 80 yards on 7 plays in 00:51 against a lifeless Packers defense. Suddenly, it was 17-0 Arizona at the half. Not because we were outplayed, but because we were making unforced errors. We couldn't get out of our own way.

* Down 3-scores in the 3rd Quarter, the Packers wrongly abandoned the run. The Packers were having success running the football. Lacy averaged 5 yards a carry. And, when you're a single track offense, Dwight Freeney is no longer a situational player. He's an every down player. If Freeney is told to unload and go after the QB every play against Donny Barclay, eventually he's going to win. Especially if he doesn't have to worry about the run. Freeney had no fear in his pursuit of A-Rod. He had 3 sacks, 3 QB hits and 2 tackles for loss. Had the Packers not made the unforced errors in the 1st half, Freeney's impact wouldn't have been so grand in the 2nd half. And, in that instance, this isn't a 30-point blowout. Yes, I'm a glass half-full kinda guy.

* It was telling to see the interaction between Rodgers and McCarthy after the Adams drop on 3rd down on the first series of the game. Rodgers wanted to challenge. McCarthy declined. In insubordinate fashion, Rodgers gave McCarthy a dust-you-off type hand gesture in disgust. Even though Adams was clearly out of bounds. Showed Rodgers' sense of desperation. It also showed that there's clearly dissension between our MVP QB and our Head Coach. It's tough for me to imagine a scenario in which Mike McCarthy, Tom Clements and Edgar Bennett are all in their current roles. Seems like we're too top heavy on the offensive side of the ball. Are there defined job descriptions? I have no clue what Bennett's responsibilities are.

* Eddie Lacy ran hard. He should've carried the ball 20 times. Regardless of the score.

* The James Starks fumble was disgusting.

* It was good to see AQ81 running again.

* Mike Pennel was arguably our best player last week. Yes, I just wrote that.

* YELLOW JAKE was exposed. For the first time this year, he was consistently beat in space. And, he didn't have the speed to catch up. He's given up plays earlier in the year, but not in which most of the yardage was after the catch. Kind of a buzzkill of a performance from the rookie.

* Damarious Randall was abused. He didn't have the firepower nor the burst to play with the Arizona WR's.

* When the Packers have all 5 of their OL on the injury report during the week. And, they aren't just injured, but they're listed as a Did Not Participate or as Limited Participation, how do you run a practice? Additionally, the Packers were without Daniels, Raji, Guion, and Neal for most of the week. Isn't that essentially our entire starting defensive front? It's hard for me to believe that the Packers had a productive week of practice this week. Concerns me about our preparation heading into this all-important match-up against the 'queens.

It's the Packers hosting the 'queens. At Lambeau. In the final regular season game on the 2015 NFL Schedule. Prime Time. Frigid temperatures. GET LOUD LAMBEAU!

In Week 17 of the 2013 NFL Season, the Packers went to Soldier in a winner take all battle. The Packers defeated the hated Bears to capture the NFC North crown. In Week 17 of the 2014 NFL Season, the Packers hosted the Lions in a winner take all battle. The Packers defeated the Lions to capture the NFC North crown. In Week 17 of the 2015 NFL Season, the Packers will host the 'queens in a winner take all battle. The Packers will defeat the 'queens to capture the NFC North crown.

We know the 'queens. They know us. The 'queens are healthier than GB. And, from an eye-test perspective, they're playing better football than the Packers. They're dominating the line of scrimmage. They're running the ball with dominance. And, Teddy, has been extremely efficient over the last three weeks.

The 'queens are undoubtedly confident heading into Lambeau this weekend. But, as Chad Greenway mentioned earlier this week, there's a certain level of intimidation that factors into this rivalry. I've heard a number of die-hard Packers fans suggest that it might be better for the Packers to lose this week, so that the road to the Super Bowl will be easier. For me, I don't want to lose the mental edge that we have over the 'queens. There's a lasting effect to this mental advantage. The 'queens know that the road to the NFC Title goes through Green Bay, WI. And, they're right. I don't want that mentality to change. Ever. Also, the road to the Super Bowl won't be easy - regardless of what happens this weekend. And if we don't improve our brand of football, we won't make it out of Wild Card Weekend. Plainly stated, let's take it one game at a time. And it starts with a win this weekend against our little brother, the 'queens from Minnesota.

In the first match-up McCarthy out-coached Zimmer. He attacked the line of scrimmage with an intense fighters approach. His team was ready for battle. Both mentally and physically. McCarthy will have to have his team ready once again or it could be a depressing finish to the 2015 Regular Season.

Look for the 'queens to pound AP early. Then, they'll go play action. They'll try Rudolph down the field. They'll test us deep with both Diggs and Wallace - especially if Sammy Swagga can't play. Damarious Randall better be ready because he'll be attacked.

I expect to see Clay and Morgan Burnett shooting the running gaps to slow down AP and to try to prevent him from getting to the second level. It'll be important for the Packers to wrap AP up. After he's corralled, I'm hoping that there's gang tackling in which players are slapping at the ball. If so, I anticipate that AP could put one on the turf.

Offensively, the Packers have to stick with the run. Give it to Lacy 25 times. Set up the play action as Harrison Smith inches towards the line of scrimmage. Then, take a shot over the top against Terrance Newman. If you let Newman play within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, he's still a highly serviceable CB. But, if you test him on the deep ball or on double moves, he can't run anymore. There's a big play to be had over the top of Newman.

The Packers don't turn the ball over. Minnesota gives it to Green Bay on two occasions. The Packers grab onto the NFC North crown once again. Oh, and again, everything feels right in the world.

Packers 24
'queens 23

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

10-4. Winners of three in a row. Leading the NFC North. Yet, somehow, Packers fans are up-in-arms over this team. Not me. Just as the Spirit of Santa will live forever, so will my belief in the Green Bay Packers.

I sip a 2014 Crooked Stave St Bretta. It's a dark ale that is brewed with citrus and fermented in Oak Foeders. Last year - it was bursting with citrus. Now, the Brett is taking over. It's becoming funky. The fruit is disappearing quickly. Time to pop open your St Bretta's that are at least a year old. Unless, of course, you want a mouthful of Brett, which isn't a bad buzz. The music is soft as the kids are sleep and my 3 month old is a really light sleeper. I have a quiet addiction to the Of Monsters & Men "My Head Is An Animal" album. I find it to be calming, yet happily inspirational.

Here are my thoughts over the last week:

* If you're looking to read something about how the Packers are currently in the doldrums, please stop reading. You can turn to a variety of other internet outlets for that. You can also get it from most of the local news sources in WI. You can also get that from most of your fellow Packers fans. You know - those same Packers fans that begged for the Packers to trade for Steve Smith before the trade deadline and those same Packers fans that were pissed that the Packers didn't make a move for the likes of Vernon Davis. Well, Packers fans, let me tell you how that would've played out: Steve Smith got injured shortly after the trade deadline and he's done for the year. Vernon Davis has been an absolute stiff in Denver. In the last two games, he's dropped crucial 3rd down passes late in the 4th Quarter. He's been such a disappointment that their are many Broncos fans that'd like him cut. Packers fans need to remember to TrusT Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy. Yes, it's spelt TrusT. Capitalize those T's because Ted Thompson should've earned your respect by now. If the Packers are going to fix what's happening on offense, it's going to have to happen from within the Locker Room. Someone on the depth chart has to play the role of next man up. At this point, Abby seems like he's our best option.

* I often hear about the stats of the Packers players or the Packers team. Growing up, I was a stats junkie. I loved Fantasy Football. I'm no longer attached to Fantasy. I feel that - in many ways - it's ruined fandom in the sport. Now, the only stat I care about in a football game is the final score. Style points don't matter in sports. The chief objective is to win the game. The Packers have won 10 games. They've lost 4 games. They lead the NFC North. And, they're in striking distance of gaining a first-round bye. Yes, there's room for improvement, but there's a lot to like. The Packers are winning games. Games in which they are seemingly being out played. But, Mike McCarthy's team is finding ways to win. Without Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery. Without a productive Eddie Lacy. Without a healthy OL. That, to me, is exciting.

* Clearly, Aaron Rodgers is disgruntled. He has issues with Mike McCarthy. Their relationship is broken. I hope it can be repaired. As they're both better with each other. Rodgers needs to be reminded of what it's like to be coached by someone like Mike Sherman or Ray Rhodes. McCarthy rejuvenated Favre's career. He made Favre a better QB. Rodgers better be careful as to how he chooses his words and his actions in the near future.

* The Packers offense is getting close. While the offense didn't start off with fire, I loved that Lacy or Cobb touched the ball 4 of the first 5 plays. McCarthy knows to get the ball to his playmakers. McCarthy loves to hide Cobb. He disguises him in an attempt to get him running forward with pace. I know I'm alone on this, but I liked a lot of what I saw out of the offense. I liked the design. There were play-action roll-outs. We saw crossing routes lead to first-down conversions on 2 & !7 and on 3rd & 7. After blowing the 14-0 lead, we witnessed a potent 3 play, 53 yard TD that gave the Packers a lead that they never relinquished. We saw a tough minded 19 play, 92 yard drive that ate up 8:11 off of the clock. At times, offensively, we showed a "Lion Heart." Sure, there were still a lot of errors. Adams dropped two balls, Janis dropped one, Richard Rodgers dropped a ball, and so did Kuhn on a perfectly designed screen. We also saw James Jones questionably push off in the end-zone that negated a TD. There were also two turnovers that showed poor form.

* The Raiders are an underrated team. They've beaten Denver, in Denver. They should've beaten Denver in Oakland. They had Pittsburgh on the ropes in the Steel City. Therefore, I find it easy to take a glass half-full view of this game. Had either Janis or Adams caught passes by the goal line and had Starks held onto the football...and had Rodgers not thrown the interception near the goal line...and had Crosby's FG not been blocked, this would've been a blow-out and the Packers might've put up more than 40 points. Yes, there are a lot of ifs and ands, but we showed promise last week.

* I am happy that AQ81 is back. I hope he's fit. I hope he's ready. Aaron Rodgers trusts him. We need to get the MVP's mojo back. It's time to surround him with receivers that he has confidence in. Right now, it feels like he trusts Abby, JJ and Cobb. We know that he's been comfortable with AQ81 previously. I'd play single back and go 3-wide. Also, AQ81 is a much better blocker than Richard Rodgers. AQ81 should benefit the run game.

* Davante Adams. My least favorite Packer. Full of athleticism. All the talents that you look for in an elite WR. But, he's soft. Both mentally and physically. He can't play the ball in the air. His hands are suspect. And, he complains more than any Packer that I can remember. He's hard to cheer for. I had huge expectations for him. He's been a total disappointment. His playing time should be significantly cut back.

* Need to see more of Abby. Liked his footwork down the sideline. If we're going to make a run this year, we might need his naturally instinctive route running and his sure hands.

* Great game, JJ. Good to see you rocking out in that hoodie.

* Randall Cobb showing a bit of his tough as nails persona. You know, the one that we've loved since he arrived in Green Bay.

* I'm as big of an Eddie Lacy supporter as you're going to get, but I didn't think he ran hard in the 2nd half. Want to see him trying to punish defenders in the secondary. He got to the second level on a couple of occasions, but he didn't explode. He left yards on the field. Lacy also was slow in blitz pick-up.

* Great game, David Bakhtiari. He was physical. He was quick. He used his hands well. Hurt to see him get injured. Hope he's healthy.

* TJ Lang is clearly not healthy. I find him to be our best OL. But, he was pushed around, at times. He's gutting it out and I give him mad props for that, but he doesn't appear to be healthy.

* Another solid performance by Tretter.

* The Packers have to figure out 3rd & 1. They're getting blown off the ball. Right from the snap. Next time, I'd go play action to AQ81 in the flat.

* The DL elevated in a big way. JP played his best game in 2015. Letroy Guion appears to be taking steps. Two weeks in a row, Guion has flashed in the run game. Datone Jones held the edge in the run game. Mike Daniels got pursuit. Mike Neal looked quicker than he's ever looked as a pro. BJ played with force. Once again, Mike Pennel held the point.

* YELLOW JAKE. He's growing into his role. He's around the ball. He's responsible. He's getting to the sideline. He's shedding blockers. Looks to have a little Keith Brooking in him.

* Clay Matthews wasn't himself against Oakland. Even though his bull rush was solid. He was guessing wrong in the run game. He missed a couple of tackles. Wasn't the Clay that we know and love.

* Joe Thomas had a good push on the Micah Hyde interception.

* Speaking of, tone setting play by Hyde! Great coverage. Loved how he undercut the route. And then, always a treat to see him putting his return skills on display.

* Jeff Janis. He's turning into a Pro Bowl caliber special teams player. He had a great KO return and as a gunner, he was first class on multiple occasions.

* Morgan Burnett made an appearance. First in the run game. And, then I really liked the pass deflection. Wished he'd have picked it off, but a good play nonetheless.

* Damarious Randall with the pick 6! Big play, rook! Sure, he had troubles, but that'll happen to a newbie. Huge 1st Quarter play to give the Packers a 2-score lead on the road.

* Q-Rollins. Love this kid's game. He gets his hands on the football. He sees the ball. He'll learn to catch those picks, I think. He could've easily had 3-4 interceptions. Had his hands on the ball. Didn't hang on. Love how he tackles with aggression as well. Kid has a future!

* Get well, Sammy.

* Sad to see that Ty Montgomery is done for the year. Thought he'd play a major role down the stretch.

* Enjoyed seeing Jayrone Elliott playing meaningful snaps early in the game. Brought energy.

* Aaron Ripkowski is a special teams guru. Pure hustle. He gets down the field with grit. And, he finds the returner. Fun to watch.

* Sir Charles Woodson. ONE. Forever. Happy Retirement. I love you, man.

This week - it's the Cardinals. With a win, the Packers will trail the Cardinals for the #2 seed by 1 game. But, the Cardinals play Seattle in Week 17. It's also possible that the Packers v 'queens game in Week 17 will be flexed to the night game. If that happens, the Packers will know whether they're playing for the #2 seed. This could all play into the Packers advantage. But, the Packers have to win on Sunday. I hear that their will be numerous Packers fans in the Stadium. Get loud!

It wouldn't shock me if the Cardinals won this game 38-20. But, this team has flashed greatness on a couple of occasions. Most notably against Seattle and Minnesota. Their have been 5 games that felt like the Packers were playing playoff teams: SEA, KC, DEN, CAR, and MN. In those games, the Packers are 3-2. In their 3 wins, the Packers have played really inspired football. Arguably, their 3 best performances of the year. I'm not going to be surprised if that same type of thing happens this week.

The Cardinals are loaded at talent on offense. Carson Palmer has found youth in Arizona - much in the same way as Kurt Warner did before him. Larry Fitzgerald is still a star at WR. Michael Floyd is a big target who can run. John Brown can get deep with the best of 'em. Jaron Brown is a long WR who high-points the ball and consistently wins jump balls. At TE, Jermaine Gresham and Darren Fells are both steady targets who couple as willing blockers. Prior to the draft, I had this to say about David Johnson: "He's a sublime one cut runner who sees the hole. He catches the ball with elite style. He runs with elegance. He lowers his shoulder with desire. He reminds me of Matt Forte." I still feel that way. Johnson scares me. The Cardinals have invested in their OL. They've added Mike Iupati and Jared Veldheer via FA to man the left side of the line. They drafted Jonathan Cooper in Round 1 in 2013 to play Guard. Bobbie Massie can be beaten at RT. And, Lyle Sendlein can be pushed back with an inside rush.

Defensively, Arizona packs a punch. They'll be without Tyrann Mathieu, but they'll be getting Rashad Johnson back from injury. Even without Mathieu, they have a tremendous secondary. Patrick Peterson is elite. Tony Jefferson is undersized, but he's still physically dominant. Jerraud Powers is a talented cover CB. Rashad Johnson plays the football in the air at a high level. DJ Swearinger is a physical presence who swarms in the middle of the field. They have depth in the secondary. And, they rotate often. Up front, outside of Calais Campbell - who is a staple - the Cardinals rotate their DL often. Rodney Gunter is tireless in his pursuit. Dwight Freeney can still bring the spin move on passing downs. Cory Redding and Red Bryant are beefy run stoppers. Coming out of college, I was pining for the Packers to draft Deone Bucannon. I saw him as inside the box S. The Cardinals play him at LB. Bucannon has been a menacing force. Bucannon has 11 tackles for loss, an interception, a TD, 99 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. What a beast! This offseason the Cardinals added both Sean Weatherspoon and Markus Golden to bolster their LB crops, but neither has been a high performer. Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor have been the weak links on the defense.

Bruce Arians is an offensive wizard. A dynamic play caller.

The Packers need Sammy Swagga healthy. With Sammy, I think the Packers can match up well with Arizona's talented WR's. Sammy can play Floyd. Randall fights Fitzgerald. Rollins and/or Hayward runs with Brown. I also think that Hyde matches up well with Gresham in coverage. It'll be crucial for the Packers to win the run game and to slow down David Johnson early in the game. If Johnson can be slowed early, it won't give as much merit to the play action deep ball that Arians is sure to try on multiple occasions. Arians - it seems - tries the deep ball more than anyone. And, Palmer has been a pin point passer on those routes.

Look for Josh Brown to get at least two bombs thrown his way. Look for Floyd to get a deep ball on a fly route and a couple of 20 yard come back routes. They'll use Larry Fitzgerald on crossing routes and on 15-20 yard posts.

Carson Palmer is throwing with confidence. He's fitting the ball into tight spots. Look for him to make a mistake.

And, call me crazy, but I feel like the Packers DL will come to play. I think Clay will be shooting gaps. I think he'll be making plays at the line of scrimmage. I believe he'll rebound from a disappointing performance. Expect Raji, Daniels, Guion and Pennel to all play big roles in the run game.

I've been waiting for the MVP to have a break out game. A precision performance. Where he's in the zone. He's had big games in Arizona before. He has one again. Arizona will come on a multitude of blitzes. The Packers will pick them up. The MVP will get rid of the ball quickly. He finds Cobb on crossing routes. He connects with Jones a quick back-shoulder route. He finds AQ81 on a down and out. There's a well-timed screen. Abby grabs a comeback route. Adams shakes for 6 yards after a 4 yard hitch. Almost oddly, the timing clicks.

Lacy runs hard. Starks does the same. It's a coming out party - of sorts - for the Packers offense.

Out of a DT spot, JP makes a big play getting in the face of Palmer on third down.

Packers 27
Cardinals 23

Keep the faith! Merry Christmas!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Take -> Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

The Holidays are more fun when the Packers are relevant. It was an absolute treat to enjoy a Sunday at Lambeau Field. This time of year, it's common to hear "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas." Last Sunday was certainly Jolly. But, if the Celtic meaning of Holly is to be the ruler of winter, the weather didn't do it's part. Thankfully, the Green Bay Packers did hold their end of the winter bargain. A dominating 4th Quarter that had the Packers Faithful rejoicing in one another's arms.

A trip to Lambeau is always a day to cherish. I see old friends and a bunch of family members. It was great to have the Grill Master himself, Vargas, rocking out on his tailgating job. It was a true delight to have PatRad pouring heady beers. It was epic to share a beer with Jon Longley and his bro. I was blessed to hang with my Uncle Pat, my Uncle Jeff, my Aunt Mary, my brother-in-law Brian, my cousins Ryan, Emily, and Mary, and Mary's boyfriend Anthony in the parking lot. My Mom and my sister, Marni, sat in the box. I sat in the stands with my Uncle Jeff, my brother-in-law Brian, and my cousins Ryan, Cindy, Kim, and Brian. With my Dad jamming the tunes, needless to say, there were plenty of FAMILY HUGS at Lambeau. Family. Holidays. Lambeau. Energetically, the spirit should offer victories in that scenario. The good times were rolling. And, while it's Thursday night, I'm still struggling with my voice. I've been hoarse since Sunday. I'm also probably still intoxicated. Lambeau was dope. My family is dope. And, in the words of the Hard Working Americans, "Dope is Dope." Oh, and if you haven't buzzed into the Hard Working Americans, what are you waiting for? It's a collaboration of musical superstars. And, one of those stallions, Chad Staehly, reigns from Green Bay. He's also a die hard Packers fan. Vibe into the Hard Working Americans. Your musical mind will emancipate brilliance. I promise. Dope is Dope, man.

I have two albums and two beers by my side. I'll be spinning the Emmylou Harris "Light of the Stable" vinyl and the Curtis Mayfield "Superfly" record. If you haven't heard Emmylou sing "Silent Night" - make sure you do so this Holiday season. And, watching Eddie Lacy run last Sunday, "Superfly" seems like an appropriate word to bounce to. I'm sipping a Boulevard Love Child 6. Frankly, it's my least favorite of the Love Child's. No fruit sensation. Only a light sour feel. Can't feel the barrel age. A decent funk. Not sure I'll purchase again. I've just popped a Founder's Breakfast Stout. When in the Midwest, it's a staple of my December diet. I had to fly home a 4-pack. So, if I fall off track during this blog, bare with me. Please. And thanks.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* MIKE MCCARTHY CALLING PLAYS! And, suddenly, the ball is consistently in the hands of Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb. There was creativity. There was design. The Packers were calling plays that set up future plays. The defense was confused. There were backs and WR's running in the open field. I'll never understand why it took so long for this to occur, but nonetheless, I'm happen the Head Coach is back in charge. Oh, and it seemed like people were having fun once again. Smiles bring success. In sports and in life.

* The Packers were close to making me a full-on believer. Up 14-0. With the ball. Less than 2 minutes on the clock. I wanted 3 points. A 3-score lead. Felt it could've been a first-half dagger. They had a 2nd chance in the 3rd Quarter. They failed again. While the victory tasted great, the Packers were unable to deliver a CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE early in the game. The Cowboys were allowed to hang around. Against a better team, the Packers may not be so fortunate to come away with victory if they don't close the game when given the opportunity in the first 3 Quarters.

* 'Tis the Season. Santa resides in your local mall. A wreath hangs from your front door. Christmas lights line the streets. And, Eddie Lacy is darting into the secondary!

* Aaron Rodgers. We're spoiled. We expect him to be robotic. In 2015, he's human. He's still excellent. He's just not the supernatural player that we're accustomed to watching. Still, he's making throws that we just don't see in by other QB's. 0-0. Clock nearing 11:00 to play in the 2nd Quarter. The Packers were facing a 3rd & 10. The 13-yard strike to James Jones was an absolute beauty.

* The screen pass to Starks for a TD. Magnificent play design. Also, how about the athleticism by Lang and Tretter on the play? Both hustling into the open field. Fantastic.

* Speaking of Tretter. I'm not a masterful evaluator of Centers by any means, but for my amateur eye, it appears as though the Packers are benefitting from Tretter's athleticism. He moves better than Linsley. He isn't as strong as Linsley, but regardless, he's been smart in moving defenders. He's getting to the 2nd level. It'll be interesting to see how the Packers decide to play their cards when Linsley is healthy.

* Richard Rodgers continues to show that he's a lethal Red Zone target. His 7th TD of the year. On pace for 9. That was extremely predictable before the season.

* Truly exciting to watch Randall Cobb block. I've felt like the blocking by our WR's has been less than we've seen in past years since the injury to Ty Montgomery. But, Cobb really elevated his game in the blocking arena this past weekend. Great to see.

* Aaron be nimble. Aaron be quick. Aaron jump over that first down stick. The MVP was lethal with his legs.

* Jeff Janis showed Pro Bowl skills as a special teams gunner. Truly dominant performance by Janis.

* Is there a better mudder in the NFL than Eddie Lacy?

* Riveting to see Clay go untouched for a forceful sack. We're spoiled to have him in Green & Gold.

* Congrats to Mike Daniels. Stoked to have him in Titletown, U.S.A. for the foreseeable future.

* Mike Pennel can play in this league. Multiple dominating plays by Pennel. Including a huge tackle for loss near the goal line. He's really impressed throughout the 2015 campaign.

* Big play of the game. 3rd & 1. From the Dallas 10. After the Packers had been stopped on 4th & Goal. The Cowboys run Turbin left. Appeared to have an easy first down. But, Letroy Guion releases from the block. Sheds to his left with a sudden split. He aggressively tosses Turbin to the turf just shy of the first down. Guion's best play of the year. Gave the Packers good field position. Set up the Packers first scoring drive.

* YELLOW JAKE. Again showing that he can play in this league. He intimidates WR's that are coming over the middle. He strikes fear. He plays smart. He's a sure tackler. It also appears as though Clay respects YELLOW JAKE. To my eye, the body language says so anyways. They interact well. Sound communication. He might have a big play in his future. Possibly picking off a crossing route. He's close.

* Great tackling, Casey Hayward.

* With HaHa, Damarious Randall, Sammy Swagga, and Q-Rollins; the Packers secondary looks to have a youthfully bright future. Randall and Rollins can play.

* Still waiting for Burnett to make an impact on the 2015 season.

* EDDIE! With the burst! Showing quickness. Displaying desire. Flashing a smile. He's ready to put us on his back.

* Loved seeing Jayrone Elliott making plays. 3 of them, in fact.

* The Packers need to bring back BJ Raji.

* Mike Neal and Nick Perry won't play for Green Bay in 2016.

* Sublime to hear the EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! chants at Lambeau last Sunday. Magical evening.

* Enjoyed seeing Chris Banjo make an impactful play on special teams.

* 21-7. 3:11 to play. Packers take over at the Dallas 38. 4 carries for Lacy. 38 yards. TD. If the Packers want the 2015 season to finish in a Super fashion, we need that type of commanding performance from the dreaded RB. We need him joyful. We need him animated. We need him forcing defenders to make business decision when approaching contact.

* Think about this: the Packers beat Oakland on Sunday. Then Sunday night becomes an Eagles party as Philly will be hosting the Cardinals. Should the Eagles win, the following week, the Packers will be playing the Cardinals for the #2 seed in the NFC. Makes me stoked to even think about it.

This week - it's the Raiders in Oakland. Which instantly brings back memories of the Irv Favre game. Boy, was Brett magical on that epic Monday Night.

The Raiders can ball. They have weapons. They can put up points. They force turnovers. They get after the QB. They're a dangerous opponent. Especially when they're playing at home. They have a clear cut home field advantage.

Offensively, the Packers better be prepared. Michael Crabtree is playing his best football. Amari Cooper is an impressive rookie WR who is lethal after the catch. Latavius Murray is a physical RB who finds his way to the 2nd level. Derek Carr can whip the football. When Carr isn't making mistakes, he's making big plays. But, he's still learning to master the position in the NFL. Still, he's capable of throwing for 300 yards and 2 TD's on any given Sunday. I've liked Mychal Rivera as a receiving TE since he was in college. Same with Clive Walford. Both will give the Packers problems. The Raiders OL can be beat. The Packers have to win the line of scrimmage and get into Carr's face. If they do, Carr will make mistakes.

The Raiders defense attacks the QB. If you've followed my blog long enough, you know what I think about Khalil Mack. I was writing about him before his Senior year at Buffalo. Kid can play. I wanted him in Green Bay. Saw him as a 1st round pick long before most "experts" on the net. Dan Williams is a plug in the middle of the defense. Mario Edwards is having a solid year along the DL. Curtis Lofton can still man the middle of the field. Malcolm Smith is a play making LB with great instincts. The Raiders secondary can be exposed, but the Packers will have to win the 1 v 1 battles on the outside. If Jordy were playing, he'd top 175 this week. But, we struggle to win on the perimeter. David Amerson and DJ Hayden can be beaten. Frequently. But, the Packers will have to be more assertive on the perimeter than we've been most of the year. I'm scared that we won't be able to take advantage of the Raiders biggest weakness.

The Raiders also have Sir Charles Woodson. Arguably my favorite football player to ever wear a uniform. I loved him at Michigan. I loved him in Oakland. I danced on the streets of South Beach in Miami when he signed in Green Bay. I bought his jersey. Still, I tape EVERY ONE of his games each week. Just so I can watch him play. He's the greatest defensive back that I've ever seen play football. And, for my eye, there is little debate. The only guy who compares is Rod Woodson. He's a Heisman Trophy winner. He's a National Champion. He's a Defensive ROY. He's a Defensive MVP. He's a Super Bowl winner. He's the only player in the history of the NFL with 60 interceptions and 20 sacks. Each week, he seems to make a play. Still. What a Superstar. That's why I've knighted him. Sir Charles. Forever a Super Bowl Champion. The "ONE" speech will live in Packer lore for eternity.

The Raiders will move the football. They'll put themselves into position to put up big points. But, the Packers defense will bend, but not break. At some point, Peppers will make a play this Sunday. A game changer. A play that could net points for the Packers defense. When Carr makes mistakes, they come in a big way. Look for Daniels to also get pressure up the gut. Datone Jones as well.

The Packers establish Lacy early. They slow down the pass rush by pounding away at the interior of the Raiders defense. Then, they attack Mack in the run game. They want him to hesitate his step by a second. As soon, it's the play action roll-out. Moving Rodgers away from Mack. And, the MVP is looking deep. To Abby. Who comes down with the first big play of his NFL career.

It's a nerve wracking back-and-forth contest. But, the Packers prevail after a late Raiders turnover.

Lacy grabs 90 yards. Rodgers tosses for 275. Cobb finds the end zone. Peppers and Matthews notch sacks.

Packers 30
Raiders 27

Here's my pre-Bowl season 2016 Mock Draft. And, for the record, I'm rarely someone that is for the all-in trade up. This year is the exception. I'd mortgage much of my draft to trade up and get Jaylon Smith, LB, ND. Smith is fast. He's strong. He's instinctive. He's EXACTLY what this Packers defense needs. Smith and Clay together would be a wrecking crew for the future. I'd trade multiple picks to get Smith.

For the sake of the Mock Draft, I play it safe. I wish I had time to be more thorough, but here are some short notes and names to take a look at. My short notes throughout the college season are more vast this year than they have been in past years, so I'll be able to give a better take in the future, but for now this will do. Here goes:

Round 1 - Alex McCalister, OLB, Florida. He's undersized from a weight perspective. But, his height distracts throws. His speed off the edge is unmatched. He'd be an ideal pass rusher who'd immediately disrupt offenses rhythm. He's been oft injured. But, I love his game. He's an underclassman, but my guess is that he comes out. He's a pure pass rusher. He'd fit a monster need for the Packers. Others: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State; Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA; Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU; Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech; Shaq Lawson, DL, Clemson; Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia; Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama; and Josh Doctson, WR, TCU; Emmanuel Ogbah, DL, OK State; Jonathan Allen, DL, AL.

Round 2 - Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama. Great in coverage. Fast. Instinctive. Great tackler. Good football knowledge. Plays sideline to sideline. Others: KeiVarae Russell, CB, ND; Kendell Beckwith, ILB, LSU; Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State; Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia; Jayron Kearse, SS, Clemson; and Carl Nassib, DL, Penn State; Will Fuller, WR, ND; Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida; Su'a Cravens, LB, USC; Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky.

Round 3 - C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame. He's battling injury. But, when healthy, he's lethal. Great vision. Excellent quickness. Hits the hole with intent. Would be a great change of pace back for the Pack. Others: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas; Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson; Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee; Sheldon Day, DL, ND; Anthony Zettel, DL, Penn State; Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Mizzou.

Round 4 - Desmond King, CB, Iowa. King is so underrated. Could move into Round 2-3 if he comes out. Nose to nose at the line of scrimmage, he attacks the WR. He's consistent. Plays the ball with excellence. Not overly fleet of football, but fast enough. I'd take him on the perimeter to push for playing time on Day 1 in 2016. Others: William Jackson III, CB, Houston; Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple; Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State; Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida.

Round 4 - Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado. Every year, we hear TT say that one of his selections is a "Football player." Well, this year, Spruce fits the bill. He gets deep. He runs crisp routes. He's the consummate teammate. He plays with a fierce presence week-in and week-out. Others: Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma; Deon Bush, S, []_[]; Joe Schobert, LB, WI; Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas.

Round 5 - Jake McGee, TE, Florida. Book it. I want McGee. He can spread wide. He's a willing blocker. He has great hands. A Red Zone target. Clutch performer. Love his game. Other: Devonte Fields, LB, Louisville.

Round 5 - Bronson Kaufusi, OLB, BYU. Work hard pass rusher. Might not be a true 3-4 OLB, but he can play the edge. He holds the point. He's relentless. Plays with effort. Decent burst. Others: Chris Brown, WR, ND.

Round 6 - Silverberry Mouhon, OLB, Cincy. He's a splash player that pursues off the edge. Maybe a pick more out of need than out of love for the player, but when he gives maximum effort, Mouhon can get home. Potential to be a boom player. Worth a late round pick. Others: Jimmy Bean, OLB, OK State; Nate Meier, OLB, Iowa.

Round 7 - KJ Dillon, S, West Virginia. Tough for me to not select a Mountaineer. He's versatile. He can cover the slot. He can play FS. He returns punts. He's a leader. He's dependable. Deion Jones, LB, LSU; Antonio Longino, ILB, Arizona State; Geno Matias-Smith, S, Alabama; Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech; Raphael Kirby, ILB, []_[]; Jake Duzey, TE, Iowa; Henry Krieger, TE, Iowa; Duke Thomas, CB, Texas.

I hope to post much more about Draft prospects between Xmas & New Years. Have a Merry Christmas. Thanks for your readership.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

A desperate heave at the most desperate time of the season brought a stroke of magic. An exclamatory hint of good luck. And, perhaps, it saved the season. In sports, momentum is a thing. If the Rodgers to Rodgers Hail Mary doesn't reap a memorable playoff run, then 2015 was meant to be a disappointment for the Green Bay Packers.

I write from Titletown, U.S.A. I breathe in the hallowed Green Bay air as the Packers sit at the top of the NFC North. The last week has been great fun. Not only have the Packers won via a 61-yard Hail Mary with 00:00 on the clock, but the 'queens have lost back-to-back games. And, thus, as I attend the game this week against the Cowboys, the Packers will be gleefully staring down at the rest of the Division.

I sip a New Glarus Milk Stout. It's sweet. It's smooth. It makes me smile. I'm eating Ron's spreadable cheese with Cheddar on top of Wheat Thins. I may or may not be listening to Bang On the Drum. Yes, I'm back home. We're all a product of our roots. My roots lie in Green Bay, WI. Forever.

Here are my thoughts over the last week:

* Julius Peppers may have been silent since the bye, but man, dude went straight spiritual gangsta when the Packers needed a game changing defensive play.

* Had Mike Neal not made an epic ankle grabbing tackle on the WR screen on 3rd & 11 mid-way through the 3rd Quarter, it'd have been 24-0. Neal's play, in many ways, was a game saving play.

* Down 20-0. This team was dead. They'd missed a chip shot FG. They were facing a 3rd & long. And, Rodgers to Rodgers provided a reason to move towards the edge of your seat with excitement.

* Richard Rodgers. Finally, the Packers tested the middle of the field. They found Rodgers as he was taking his break up the field. And, therefore, Richard Rodgers had the best game of his young career. He found yards after the catch. He was a difference maker, a chain mover. Guy is still a miserable blocker, but it was good to see him as a receiver taking the ball up the field rather than seeing him running towards the sideline after catching the ball on a short down and out.

* The Packers fans are an integral part of this organization. The players and the fans create a kinship community. One that is karmically intertwined. We rely on each others energy. Together, we needed a communal moment of jubilation. In Rodgers to Rodgers, we got it. Now, let's do something with it. The energy is high. It's time to carry on with goodness.

* YELLOW JAKE. Kid can play. Was great in the run game. Fun to see him pounce on the fumble. And, when he was beat in the passing game, he didn't give up YAC. Further, it appeared as though he intimidated when receivers were running across the middle.

* Mike Daniels played great. Total MAN.

* Speaking of men, David Bakhtiari. Just earning respect. Playing thru pain. Gon' old timer on us. Gritty. Gutty. Dominant.

* Jeff Janis. Why not keep running on the deep ball. Planned play to take a shot to Janis. Looked like the reigning MVP dropped it perfectly. Should have landed in his lap. But, Janis stopped his route. Was he trying to draw a penalty? Was his depth perception off? I'm not sure, but he looked like an amateur.

* Run the route 2 yards deeper, Abby.

* Another disappointing route running day from Davante Adams.

* 4th & 1. Season on the line. Cobb is open in flat. WOW! It exists! Why not do that more often?

* HaHa was the best Packers player last Thursday.

* Sammy Swagga is playing the best football of his career.

* Thought Crockett added a bit of a spark. Showed quickness. A small burst. More of one than we saw all pre-season. A little jittery. But, what could be expected. Impressive showing for the young kid.

* The Green Bay Press Gazette's "HAIL YES" quote was fantastic. So, was the moment that the HAIL YES play occurred. But, it doesn't erase the memory of 35 minutes of poorly played football.

* I'm bullish on the future of Quinten Rollins. Love how he plays. Fearless. Throws his body around. On the final 3rd down conversion by the Lions, Rollins was in position. Missed the deflection by inches.

* Eddie missing curfew? Come on, man. Really liked how McCarthy stood behind him this week in the press conference. If this team is going to do anything from now until February, we need Lacy. Mightily.

* Better days are ahead for the Packers offense. We're getting AQ81 back. The OL is getting healthier. Montgomery is close to getting healthy. Hopefully, Lacy finds his stride. These are not all "ifs" - they will occur. And, when they do, the Packers will be able to offer diversity on the offensive side of the ball. The Packers will be able to display creativity. And, Rodgers' weapons will expand.

* I wasn't overly high on Montee Ball coming out of college, but I was excited to see that he came into Green Bay for a tryout. And, I was hoping that the Packers would take a shot on him.

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.

The Packers need this one. Win the next two and the playoffs should be a lock. We'd also be in position to not only win the Division, but to compete for the #2 seed. I can't stand the Cowboys. I'm still bitter from our rivalry in the early-to-mid 90's.

Regardless of the Cowboys inept play at QB, they have weapons on offense. Dez & Terrance Williams are a dynamite duo. Devin Street is a big target. Cole Beasley is a solid slot WR. Darren McFadden is healthy and playing Grade-A football. Jason Witten is still playing at a HOF level. Gavin Escobar can stretch the field. And, the Dallas OL is among the best in football. If they get average QB play, the Cowboys will put up points.

Defensively, Dallas balls. Their front 4 strikes fear in people. Greg Hardy is an evil man. He's also a dominant football player. The Cowboys sold their soul to the Devil when they signed him. Tyrone Crawford is an active pursuant of the QB. Demarcus Lawrence is an overachieving hard worker. Randy Gregory is an undersized pass rusher. At LB, Sean Lee is elite when he's healthy. Rolando McClain has found a home in Dallas. But, Dallas' secondary is vulnerable. Byron Jones has all of the athletic traits that you look for, but he hasn't been a world beater. Brandon Carr hasn't been the same player as he was in KC. Morris Claiborne has not been the player that I thought he'd be coming out of college. JJ Wilcox and Barry Church are talented players at S, but both can be exposed.

Can the Packers WR's separate? If not, we could be in for a long day. Dallas will get pressure. Dallas will get in Rodgers' face. They'll be physical up front. The Packers have to win on the outside.

Look for the Packers to use Lacy early in the game to try and soften up the middle of the Cowboys defense. It'd open up the play action. It'd make us less predictable.

In past years, the Packers would've beaten a lesser-QB'd team at Lambeau by 20 points. But, 2015 is different. Somehow, he we need to force a turnover. We have to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Dallas will run the clock. They'll eat up the clock between plays. They'll use Witten and Beasley underneath. They'll try to pound the ball with McFadden. They'll look for big plays over the top to both Williams and Bryant. They'll try to win on deep slants and inside-posts.

I'm expecting Lacy to have a good game. A defining game for him.

I'm expecting Aaron Rodgers to take care of the football and to give the Packers an early lead.

I'm expecting Clay Matthews to make a big play this weekend.

I'm expecting a dogfight. A hard fought, hotly contested battle.

I'm expecting the Packers to prevail in a low scoring affair.

Packers 20
Cowboys 16

The Cowboys have lost 5 games by less than one-score. They can't be taken lightly. They're better than their record indicates. Lambeau Faithful, it's time to rise. Off your freakin' ass. On your freakin' feet. This is December football. In Titletown, U.S.A. It's time to make a difference. It's time to set the standard. If you have expectations for the player, I have expectations for you as a fan. Do your part. Make a difference. Bring your passion. Be loud. Be proud. Let's make 2015 a year to yell "HAIL YES!"

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Take -> Week 13

Greetings, G-Force.

There’s no way to spin this one. It was likely the last time that Bart Starr will ever step foot on Lambeau Field. It was a day to celebrate the Legend of Brett Favre. It was a day in which Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Bart Starr were all in the same place at the same time. On Thanksgiving. In Prime Time. Against the hated Bears. And, disgustingly, the Packers didn’t show up. Book it as the most embarrassing regular season loss in my lifetime.

I sit with Bing Crosby singing me Christmas music. Bing keeps me jolly during the Holiday season. I sip a Station 26 Single Hop Chinook IPA. It offers me a crisp pine/fruit hop sensation that is really refreshing.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Yes, an aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. But, I hated the decision to go for it on 4th drive on the opening possession. Wanted to play the field position game. Game plan felt stale. Team energy looked flat. Awful start to the game.

* EDDIE! He was unstoppable. And, then he fumbled. But, no worries, the ball got poked from behind. Keep feeding him the rock, right? No. Instead, for some odd reason, we went away from him. Why is it that we allow for consistently poor performance from the likes of Davante Adams and Nate Palmer, but we don’t stick with EDDIE when he’s have a dominant game? We keep rolling with Adams and Palmer. We keep putting them in position to make plays. They consistently fail us. We should have stuck with Lacy. Why the double standard?

* In life, you can’t ignore what you don’t understand. Clearly, the Packers don’t understand why they can’t get WR’s open on the outside. So, mix it up. Throw the crossing route. Stack the formation. Bunch the WR’s. Give Janis a shot.

* I’m hopeful that Abby will add something on offense when he comes back this week.

* For whatever reason, the reigning MVP isn’t as sharp as he’s been throughout his career. He’s missing his target.

* Catch the ball, Davante Adams. That was 6 points.

* Another week in which Julius Peppers doesn’t make a play.

* Why is Demetri Goodson covering Alshon on a crucial 3rd down play? It was clear that they were going that way before the play. We didn’t respond.

* This years Packers team doesn’t come up with loose balls. Thought Rollins and Kuhn both had chances to pick up fumbles. Neither did. Those are the types of plays that decide games. We don’t make the little plays.

* Last year, we had the big comeback win at Miami. This year, we aren’t winning the close ones in the waning moments.

* The Packers have lost back-to-back home games to the Lions and the Bears. In the two games, the Packers combined for 29 points. At home. It wouldn’t have shocked me if the Packers scored 29 points in each game individually.

* Prior to the season, I projected 10-6 to 11-5 for the Packers. I felt that way because I thought we were vulnerable at ILB and on the perimeter at CB. I was also concerned about our ability to pressure the QB. I had no fears about the offense. It’s crazy to think about how average to below-average our offense is playing right now.

* It’s time for Mike McCarthy to take complete control of the offense once again. We’re dysfunctional.

* Really solid game from Datone Jones.

* Mike Neal played well.

* Liked seeing Quinten Rollins on the blitz. Would like to see more of that. Wish Rollins would have held onto the interception that hit him in the chest.

* The Bears were driving for the lead. Lambeau Field sounded silent. Where’d the crowd go? Too much turkey?

* Davante Adams complains for a flag way too much. It’s really annoying.

* The 2015 team kind of reminds me of the 2004 team. Playing hung over from a disappointing collapse the prior year. In ’04, we won the Division and hosted a playoff game. Only to get moon’d by Randy Moss.

We’re 7-4. All is NOT lost. But, we need the next 3. Badly. All winnable games. If we don’t, the playoffs are in jeopardy as the last two will be really tough. This week – it’s the Lions. The Lions have won 3 in a row and seem to be playing inspired football. And, frankly, I’m scared. I’m afraid of our ability to cover Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson - especially if Damarious Randall is limited. I’m afraid of Theo Riddick coming out of the backfield. It wouldn’t shock me if Riddick catches 5 balls on Sunday. I’m afraid of our ability to cover Pettigrew and Ebron. The Packers must get in Stafford’s face.

I’m concerned about our ability to block Jason Jones and Ziggy Ansah. I’m concerned about our ability to separate against the Lions weak secondary. I’m worried.

But, I’m keeping the faith. I trust that Abby and Janis get a chance. I trust that both make plays. I trust that Lacy keeps running hard. I trust that the Packers will put points on the board. I trust that the Packers will play with a pulse. I trust that the Packers will get in Stafford’s face and force a game-changing turnover.

Packers 24
Lions 23

Go Pack Go!

Talkin’ S-Mac.