Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Take - Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

The Packers trip to Dallas did not turn out the way that we had planned, but I'm not overly disappointed. Sure, at times, the Packers were extremely out-classed. But, for the most part, I feel as though the Packers coaching staff out thought themselves. Offensively, early in the game, we left our brand name in Green Bay. We returned to the Packers of '05. Deep passes into coverage. Once the game got to 27-10, we settled down and played Packer football. Dink and dunk you to sleep. Let our receivers make plays. From then on, we were successful.

Clearly, the Cowboys took advantage of our depleted defense. And, it's also noteworthy that on the 2 biggest plays of the game, the Cowboys were the dominant team. On 3rd and 19, the Packers defense could not rise to the occasion. And on 3rd and 6, Clifton was beaten badly by Ware. To me, those two plays describe the game. We can complain about the officiating, which was awful, but the bottom line is that twice we were down 27-24...with momentum on our side...and a big 3rd down in front of us...and both times the Cowboys swung the momentum in their favor.

Regardless, we must win 3 of our last 4 to guarantee a first round bye. And frankly, it does not scare me to play at Dallas in January with a fully loaded squad.

It starts against the Raiders this weekend at Lambeau Field. We will learn a lot about the '07 Packers this weekend. Mother Nature is calling for snow showers with temperatures in the low-to-mid 30's. Combine this with the Raiders '07 football philosophy and this Sunday has become interesting. However, no worries, Packer fans...

The Raiders attack with Justin Fargas. Fargas has been running well over the last 5 weeks. In fact, 3 times he has exceeded 100 yards. He's also a decent threat out of the backfield catching the ball. He runs hard. He runs fast. He plays bigger than he looks. He's developed into a decent back. The Packers ability to control Fargas will be defining this week. Hold Fargas under 100 yards and the Packers will win this one easily.

Josh McCown will lead the Raiders into Lambeau. McCown is surprisingly mobile. He's agile enough to escape pressure. He'll avoid the rush and get to the perimeter of the defense. He can make plays on the run with either his hands or his feet. Good news is that he will throw the ball into the laps of the defense as he occasionally makes brainless decisions.

Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter are decent threats. Both are physical and normally display good hands. Zach Miller has improved throughout his rookie campaign and has turned into a go-to guy. He's had at least three catches in the last 4 games and last week he had two big third down catches to keep the chains moving as the Raiders fended off the Broncos.

Defensively, at times, the Raiders have played solid football. You know that Warren Sapp is excited to see Brett Favre once again. Derrick Burgess can flat out rush the passer, but I imagine he'll have trouble this weekend as he is a speed rusher and thrives on playing on a clean surface. I imagine Lambeau will be too choppy for him.

The Raiders have two terrific LB's. Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are young guys who consistently make plays. They fly towards the football and are strong against the run and the pass. Both have a nose for the ball. They will make us work for yards on the ground and will have their eyes set on jumping slant passes.

If the weather holds, the Packers will have a ton of success against the Raiders secondary. Fabian Washington is a young corner who is still growing and can be taken advantage of. Nnamdi Asomugha is a bright young NFL CB, but he has struggled with injuries and has not been the same player that he was last year. Chris Carr is a dangerous kick returner, but a below average nickel CB. Michael Huff has an exciting NFL career ahead of him, but he, too, is not their yet. Stuart Shweigert will be in position and he will hit you, but he's not a playmaker.

Assuming the weather turns for the worst, this will be a test for this young Packers team. They are not battle tested when it comes to playing big time football games in cold weather. But, I feel really good about it. Our defense has had 10 days to rest. They know that they MUST win the line of scrimmage. I expect Kampman to have a monstrous game. I expect Jenkins to get a push. It seems as though I've been calling for Jenkins to make a big play for weeks, but in the past, he has been a guy that has played very well late in the year. Cullen Jenkins, it's YOUR time to shine. This team is about TEAM and though there is no "I" in team, there is an "M" and an "E" and Cullen, this week - you provide your "me" and you do your part. I expect to see a lot of 3rd and long this weekend. At some point, the ball will land in the lap of our defense for a big turnover.

Just a thought - don't be surprised if Bigby is benched in favor of Rouse. While, Rouse and Collins play the same position, McCarthy is the type who likes to have his best players on the field. McCarthy has shown his frustrations with Bigby's play.

The Packers say they are going to be cautious with Chuckie. We need Woodson on the field, not in exchange for the rest of the season, but we cannot chance anything. Defensively, we are starting with ZERO this weekend. We have the ability to shut them down.

I see the offensive line playing with a fire in their belly. They got beat up against Dallas. The Packers coaching staff will demand performance. Our O'Line will respond. Early on, it's a day on the ground for the Packers. Grant runs right behind Lee and Tauscher for 7 yards. Grant pounds the middle for four and a Packer first down.

I've been calling for this play for weeks as well and I'm hoping for it this week...as the Oakland LB's creep forward, the Packers set up the screen and the Raiders think it is sniffed out, but Favre throws the ball to the weak side. It's WIDE OPEN. It's either Lee standing their arms wide open or it's Jennings running the drag route. Either way - one of them is streaking down the side line. If it's Jennings, it could be 6 points.

Any way, this is a pound it out, beat you up style of football game. The Packers will be prepared for this one. We will be well rested. Mentally fit. Physically ready. We will pound Grant. Morency will get his chances. B-Jack will see opportunities. In all, we RUSH for 150 yards.

Favre is efficient. Calm in the pocket, Favre picks his spots and manages the game. In the cold weather, each yard counts and Favre knows this almighty important notion. Favre, the Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year," goes to work. He throws for 200 yards and three short TD's.

Green Bay 31. Oakland 13.

And the Packers regain their winning ways. The Raiders enter the cold and cannot wait to get back on the bus. The Packers enter the cold and cannot wait to celebrate. And the magic number for a first round bye drops from 3 to 2. From a theatrical sense, there is something magical about Lambeau in December.

Let It Snow,

Talkin' S-Mac.

P.S. - > To Al Davis, I hope you don't mind, but this year we are borrowing your "Just Win, Baby" slogan. The NFL does not respect us. The media does not respect us. Clearly, the officials do not respect us as well. So, Al, with or without your permission, we'll continue to "Just Win, Baby" and ultimately, someone will take notice...who knows, maybe, just maybe, that respect will come after we meet the Brady Bunch in AZ in early '08. Until then, Al, thanks for the trademark. One last thing Al - On Sunday, we're winning, baby.


C Hoops said...

Greeting S-Mac.

OK, it has taken me until today to rebound from the Dallas debacle. It took reading the last section of this article, http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=693800.

Something I have been enjoying and quietly fearing all year is if/when the youth of this team would show up. Well without C. Wood, KGB and Favre the leadership was lacking and some youthful errors cost us the game in my opinion. There are plenty of things to point out but I think we take more good from this loss then we would have from a win. As the article says the boys are fired up, chippy and ready to show they are better then last week. I was so fired up after reading the article I had to check to see if it was S-Mac himself who penned the prose.

On an even better note I will be in attendance this weekend! My old man rustled up some tix and the fam is making the pilgramage. It's been 2 yrs since I made it to a game a needless to say I am fired up (I think I was spoiled at Norbies getting to see 6 home games a year).

Here is what I am looking for come Sun. Intensity from kickoff to final whistle.

The D is going to hold under 10 for sure, possibly a shutout. C. Wood sits again which is fine. I would have loved to see him in action but I'd rather watch him at home wk 19 and 20. We hold under 80yrs rushing, maybe give up a long pass penalty or completion because Bush and Williams are just too young and Bibgy is incapable of providing help over the top.

On offense look for a lot of 1st down runs for 5+ yrds. Those open up to play action in the 2nd qtr and a couple nice gains to Jennings and K Rob.

Quick tangent, anyone else read the SI article on the Sportsman of the Year this week? Nice to see how much Favre cares about a guy like K. Rob. K. Rob will be the guy that makes a gamechanging play in the playoffs and he will do it because he does not want to let #4 down.

Back to the game. The offense will score on 3 of the first 4 possessions and its all downhill from there. I was actually looking for some Rodgers garbage time but that guy just cannot stay healthy. Welcome back Craig Nall, the 4th quarter is all yours.

See ya Sun G-Force, i'll be front and center.

Pack 41 - Oak 9.

matter said...


I have been a fan of yours for years now. Thanks for your i-net compliancy to share your wisdom with the community.

The Dallas visit surprised me. I think it did some good for me as well as for the squad. I was beginning to see the Packers as a "God-like" football team. There was only one problem about that.... They are only prophets. With trials, 3rd and 19 calamity, and losses, also comes growth. The young team now knows what it is to be "out-classed" in Dallas...a place where it is easy to be. All in all, I am not distressed, just want a victory twice as bad next time... o.k.. maybe a little early for that. "Just Win, Baby!"
Leaving the tragedy behind with November, and taking the growth on to December - IT'S TUNDRA TIME! "Just Win, Baby!"

I am interested to watch Justin Fargas this week in Lambeau. He has developed into a good back when given the ball over 20 times. Fargas is the 9th leading rusher this season with 35-100 less carries than the top 8. He is not a very creative runner though. If the Packers defense can block the holes, Fargas will experience a case of "mind left body."

I am going to predict the Packer defense to be all over the Raiders lost Quarter Back spot. They have been sacked 33 times this year and are up against 4-5 more this week in the Frozen Tundra.

On the other hand, they will find the endzone. Thoughtless errors from Green Bay defense will yield a touchdown for Curry or Porter. Both are deep threat recievers... Take your time Chucky Wood.

Expect a touchdown from Fargas and Porter along with two field goals. Also expect another Brett field day on Oaklands defense. If Cutler can do it with a loss - Brett will do it with a victory!

Sorry Oakland! It's Tundra time! "Just Win, Baby."

Packers 38 . Oakland 20 .

Talkin' S-Mac said...

Brother Bob!

Making your first appearance and bringing the heat to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field! Loving it, bro!

C-Hoops -> representing the G-Force at Lambeau in December!

Enjoyed the takes. Clearly, we are all on the same page. Shut down Fargas and this victory will come convincingly. Great to hear from both of you. Keep the buzz real. We're back on the winning trail...

There's flurries in Green Bay! OH BABY!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Talkin' S-Mac said...


Predicting 5 TD's for the Pack! How many is Brett throwing?


Also predicting 5 TD's for the Pack! How many for Brett?

We need to get him to 30 for the season. He's currently at 22, so we need at least 2 in each of the last 4 games. Let's make it happen...

Talkin' S-Mac.

matter said...


Brett will throw at least two touchdowns. He might even throw two in the first quarter! Like I said earlier, this will be a day at the park. Driver, Jennings, Jones, and Lee might all get one. The Raiders being one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, it will be fun to watch Grant. I think Grant will have a couple Lambeau Leap opportunities this week. We will witness various force-fields of energy this weekend... The weather being one : )

Brett be nimble,
Grant be quick,
Jennings jumped over the touchdown stick.

Driver jumped high,
Lee jumped low,
Chuckie jumped over and burned his toe.

Man is it going to be rockin',

- matter

P.S. ~ I would like to share an interesting fact I read on the Packers website...

"-Prior to that 1999 meeting, the Raiders' last trip to Wisconsin was in 1993, when LeRoy Butler spontaneously invented the 'Lambeau Leap'." ... ahh, good vibes indeed!

C Hoops said...

I recall that game, if I remember right Leroy took a lateral from Reggie to the hosue and made the leap. Although if you remember he choose to jump at the higher part of the wall, got about half way up, and the fans had to reach down and pull him up.

In the game, I don't see more then 2 TDs for #4. Running will just come too easy for us this week and we will have no reason to throw. There will be some big plays in both run and passing game but we punch most of them in this week out of the inverted wishbone behind Hall and Kuhn.

Still a good day for the sportsman though: 14-18, 240yrds and 2TDs

matter said...

c hoops - brilliant! good point. It is going to be very easy to rush against the 30th rushing defense in the league.... I feel that the guy wearing #4 will have more than two opportunities. We are good enough. Oakland will definately give them up. Hopefully our execution percentage will uphold.

If a cushion be present...as everyone is predicting. Will we see some back up QB time?

Talkin' S-Mac said...

It'll be interesting to see how McCarthy calls the game. On the first play, I'm coming with the I formation. 2 backs. Lee lined up to Tauscher's right. Driver and Jennings and at WR. Driver to the right side of the field. Jennings to the left. I would call a play action pass...Grant faking the run to the right. Driver and Jennings running a deep criss cross - hoping to tangle defenders 15-20 yards down field. I would instruct Brett to give ONE QUICK look to Jennings would would be running from left to right across the field...if he's open - take the shot...if he's not, Donald Lee WILL be open underneath for 8-12 yards. Clear the right side of the field. Everyone is predicting run. C-hoops, Matter, Talkin' S-Mac, the National Media...we're all predicting run...so it'll be interesting if McCarthy tries to keep the Raiders guessing or if he just simply wants to line up and punch the Raiders in the mouth. Either way, I'm thinking big things out of our offense this week...rain, snow, or shine...this will be a day for celebration as the NFC North crown comes back to it's rightful owner...

matter said...

...Enough said. It has been fun. C Ya'll next week while celebrating the victory. Happiness to you.