Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Take - Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

Merry Christmas to you! I always cherish the Christmas game. I'm thankful that it will be played outdoors. I hope that their are light snow flurries. Mother Nature is calling for partly cloudy. Highs of 22 degrees. Urlacher's breath flowing in the wind as he calls signals. Followed by Favre's breath smoking through the air as he calls an audible. Yes, this is football. This is Packers-Bears. This is defining of the greatest sport in America.

Soldier Field. A tremendous football venue. A 2nd home to Brett Favre. In Chicago, Favre remains Public Enemy #1. Long after he retires, he'll remain the same.

The Bears are the defending NFC Champion. They started last year with a 26-0 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field. This year they are 5-9 and searching for a pulse. Their season is dead. Their offense is inept. In one year, the physical nature of their offense disappeared.

Last year, the Packers entered December at 4-8. 4 wins later, the Packers finished 8-8. Last year was capped with a nearly identical score, 26-7. Only this time, it was the Packers who were victorious.

The 12-2 Packers enter Soldier Field banged up on the defensive line - especially at DT. Jolly and Cole are out. Pickett is banged up and questionable for Sunday. No question, this will affect the interior of the Packers defense. I'm sure the Bears will bang away at the middle of the Packers defense. Justin Harrell, Daniel Muir, and Corey Williams will be put to the test. I expect Cullen Jenkins to play a heavier role at DT as well this week. It'll be the young Packers defensive line against the aged offensive line of the Bears.

For the Bears, Adrian Peterson is running hard. He gives it everything he's got. He's got the ability to break tackles and occasionally, he's slippery. However, he's not a game breaker. I'd be surprised if he eclipsed 80 yards. Nick Barnett and AJ Hawk will be MEN this weekend.

The Packers will feast on Kyle Orton. Expect the Packers to be able to pressure with only 4. KGB has not performed well since his injury. But, this week, if given the opportunity, Kampman
and KGB will dominate. They will force Orton into bad decisions. They will meet take Orton to the ground via sacks and knockdowns.

The Bears will attempt to counter by keeping Peterson in the backfield to block. They'll try to find Peterson on the screen. They'll look to Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark on short routes. They'll try to expose Brady Poppinga's covering abilities. They'll also attempt to get the ball to Hester on short routes in hopes that he can make magic happen. And they'll occasionally take the deep shot to Berrian. We'll be prepared.

On offense, the key word is protection. Protect Favre. Protect the football. If we don't turn over the football, we'll win in a blowout.

No surprise - the Packers will spread out the Bears. 4 wide. Single back. The Bears cannot cover the Packers. And other than our ability to block Tommie Harris, our offensive line matches up well with their defensive line. So, we come with the quick hitters. K-Rob gets involved early. Ruvell Martin on the crossing route. Driver is involved. Jones catches and hangs onto the football. Jennings takes a 15 yard slant for a big one.

Ryan Grant gets back on track as the Packers show the diversification of our offense. We pound away at the once mighty Panda defense. The offensive line gets to the second line of the Bears defense. Urlacher and Briggs show their frustrations.

On Special Teams, Hester does not touch the ball with significance. And our special teams has the potential to turn the field in our favor.

It's an early Christmas present from Brett. We're moving to 13-2. This week is about dominance. It's about stomping on Soldier Field and playing as NFC North Champions.

Packers 30. Bears 16.

In other games:

The Cowboys travel to Carolina. The upset bird is swirling in Charlotte. The Cowboys are crumbling. Suddenly, their offense lacks rhythm. Jessica Simpson is a topic of conversation in their locker room. Tony Romo is nicked up. Andre Gurode will be missing on their O-Line. Roy Williams is suspended. Emotionally, drama has entered the lives of the Cowboys.

Chris Gamble locks up TO. Julius Peppers, if healthy, is in the face of Romo. Matt Moore, the rookie QB, is playing with confidence. Looking for Steve Smith. Coach John Fox puts Moore in position to win by controlling the clock. Banging away with Foster and De'Angelo.

The Carolina crowd feeling the Christmas spirit is loaded with excitement for the national audience. Early in the game, the Cowboys look rattled. Look for this one to come down to the 4th Quarter. In the end, the Cowboys bite their finger nails to a 23-16 victory.

The Redskins travel to Minnesota. The 'Skins football life on the line. Washington's aggressive defense slows down Adrian Peterson. They force turnovers. Tavaris Jackson making mistakes. The Redskins pound away. Possessing the football. Chris Cooley moving the sticks.

In a slow moving game, it's the Redskins winning 20-19. The Redskins playoff hopes are alive! And Dallas visits in Week 17.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I'm headed to Green Bay. To God's Country. To the North Pole. Where Santa resides. And this year, in his bag, Santa is presenting an NFC North Trophy to Green Bay. We've taken the NFC North crown from Chicago. We're going after their NFC Champion trophy.

Somewhere, John Lennon is singing, "And, so this is Christmas..."

Go Pack Go,

Talkin' S-Mac.