Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

Dear Aaron Rodgers, Till death do us part. Promise me, Aaron. Promise me. Aaron, in our short time know, you as player & as fan & shareholder of the Green Bay single favorite moment was when were replaced by Matt Flynn midway thru the 4th Quarter. Your sheepish smile as you both received and offered congratulations to your teammates...ah, Aaron, that was pure. It was sublime. Simply, it was epic. In every sense of the word. Be Proud, Aaron. You deserve it. The NFC North is yours to win.

I'd like to thank the likes of Ryan & Emily Meisinger, Becky & PatRad, & Sean Flanagan for making the trek to the Mall...excuse me, to the Dome for this celebration. As fans, you all deserve a raise. I'm sure it was an absolute treat. A successful adventure. Surely, it was a fantastic victory. And you all played a part in this funky retirement party. Mike McCarthy's press conference was hilarious when asked whether or not he heard the "Go Pack Go!" chants - his response, "well, how could you not?" Great work, G-Force! You brought it!

Sensationally, once again, we witnessed how a Mike McCarthy team performs during tough circumstances. We rise to the top. We are well coached. We needed points to start the 3rd Quarter. We needed a dagger. What does McCarthy draw up? Double TE. Lined up strong to the short side of the field as Crabtree goes in motion. Nance in the backfield. Jennings split wide left. Safety slides to the middle. EVERYONE was expecting a run. Even me. I said, "Dad, well Nance is in. Crabtree in motion. This is a run to the right." Instead, it's play action. Puma route. Jennings coming back to the ball. Making Asher Allen miss. Single coverage. 6 points for Mike McCarthy. Draw it up, Mike!

What I absolutely cherish about this football team is that we have so many players that can pick us up while we're down. Clearly, we were all nervous entering the 2nd Quarter. Down 3-0. Looking for a spark. The 'queens looked to be gaining confidence. Favre hits Gerhardt. And Sir Charles changes the momentum with his right paw. Slap on, Chuckie! Handshakes all around. Well deserved.

Still, Aaron Rodgers needed a bail out. With nearly 10 minutes left in the 2nd Quarter the Packers had one first down. That came on a Dmitry Nance run in which he was stuffed short of the yardage and fought for the extra yardage. In the 1st Quarter, we had minus-8 yards passing.

Enter Greg Jennings.

Aaron Rodgers + Greg Jennings = A true phenomenon that is quickly becoming the most dynamic passing combination in all of football.

Small Observations:

Great to see Favre willingly sit down as the Claymaker was chasing him. Fear, I tell you. Fear. Clay does so much that doesn't show up on the box score. Teams seriously fear Clay Matthews III.

Heavy props to Dmitry Nance. Loved the way he hit the hole. Plants the foot. Small burst. Falls forward upon contact. Focused on ball security. Might be hope.

Aaron Rodgers' two-minute drill to end the 1st half was the best of his career. Saw the field. Used Jones, AQ81 & B-Jack to perfection.

Rodgers on 3rd down is a magical thing. The 3rd & 9 deep ball to Jennings got him out of the funk. He withstood a hit on this throw & showed his physicality. The 3rd & 10 laser to Jones propelled our 1st 10. The 3rd & 8 scramble kept alive the game sealing drive. Rodgers won third down with his patience, his arm, his intelligence, his toughness, & his legs.

James Jones is our #2 WR. Meanwhile, Double-D is tip toeing sidelines for 1st down. Still got it, Quickie!

Vote BJ Raji into the Pro Bowl. Vote early. Vote often. Guy is simply dominant. Seriously. Dominant. He controlled the early portions of that game.

AJ Hawk is flourishing behind Raji. Seeing holes. Hitting holes. Finding ball carriers.

Cullen Jenkins continues to supply a solid pass rush.

T-Mon. Pro Bowl. They need to be together. Show me a CB playing better than T-Mon.

Nintendo Nick beating AP to the corner. Loved it. Good to see him on the blitz as well.

Peprah continues to fight.

Pickett hitting AP in the backfield.

Bishop is a beast.

After a rough start, I really liked the way the Z-Man settled down. I feared that he was in over his head early on. Missing the tackle on 3rd down in the open field against Gerhardt. Jumping off-sides in the red zone. But, he calmed down. Well done, youngster. This week - we need you at the QB.

Defensively, we have so many players that can dramatically impact the outcome on any given play. At all times, offensesmust beware of the big mistake.

Once again, our offensive line played with courage. With fight. With belief. I really like Colledge & Sitton at guard. Man, do they open up the cutback, which is exactly the design of our offensive front. Anxious to see more of Nance & then Starks in the future. Big plays might be coming in the run game as the weather nears single digits.

It was frustrating to watch the normally aggressive McCarthy go overly conservative towards the end of the 3rd & early in the 4th. Then it was 3rd & 1 from the 22. I-Form. Kuhn as the deep back. Play action. 12 to 85. 6 points. Rodgers eclipses 300 yards and rifles his 4th TD. Ah, the significance of the #4.

It was great to rub dirt in the face of Childress. McCarthy gets the last laugh. Terrific vibes. His energy on the sidelines was spectacular. And when Childress was let go, I'm sure there were plenty of high fives running around 1265 Lombardi Ave. Guaranteed.

Also, I liked McCarthy's aggressiveness with the design of the reverse with Sammy Swagga. While it didn't work, I liked the intention. Putting players in position to making plays. Utilizing strengths.

Say what you will, but Ted Thompson claims victory over Brett Favre. Ted also gets the last laugh. Beautiful.

I'd argue that this was my favorite Packer game since the '97 victory over Dallas at Lambeau. Sweet revenge. Served cold. Adios, Chilly!

After 10 games, the Packers have 21 turnovers & 29 sacks.

This week - it's the Falcons. Essentially, the winner will be in 1st place in the NFC. Controllers of home-field throughout. I'm heading to the Dome for the game. Charlie Daniels once wrote, "The Devil went down to Georgia. He was looking for a soul to steal." Well, Charlie, I guess I'm the Devil. And, by the way, Charlie, I'm heading "up" to Georgia. But, yes Charlie, I'm looking for a soul to steal.

The Dirty Birds will present the stiffest challenge of the year for the Packers. In the dome, Matt Ryan has only lost once in his career. After this week - we'll have a barometer to gauge whether the Packers are legitimately a favorite to finish with a Super season. Prior to the season, my Super Bowl was Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh. This week - we find out the true legitimacy of our current status. In my eyes, it's a playoff game.

I'm not trying to overstate, the reality is: Win out at Lambeau. Beat Detroit on the road. Then the worst case scenario is 11-5. This would ensure a playoff berth. The problem is that at 10-6 - you might not get into the playoffs. So, each game carries a heavy weight. I'm sure we'll be ready to perform.

Let me start by giving credit to the Falcons. In 2008, I did not think that either Roddy White or Matt Ryan would have successful NFL careers. What do I know? Boy - was I wrong! Roddy White is playing at peak levels. Ryan is a winner. He wins close games. When his team is trailing/tied late, he leads the game winning drive. When he's had the lead, he engineers drives by pounding away with Michael Turner & using Tony Gonzalez as a safety valve. Seriously, I'm amazed with Ryan's development.

The Falcons have a variety of weapons. I like Jason Snelling & Justin Peele as back-ups as well. The combination of Snelling & Turner packs a powerful punch. Peele & Gonzalez compliment each other well. But, where they are weak is opposite Roddy White. I'm not convinced that either Michael Jenkins or Harry Douglas can play with our DB's. We win those match-ups. I have a small liking for Douglas. While he hasn't developed as I thought he might due to injury, he does show flashes of being similar to Antonio Freeman. He'll occasionally drop passes, but he's not afraid to go over the middle & he's a threat on third down. Also, he's solid with the ball in his hands. Regardless, they can't play with our DB's.

Defensively, the Dirty Birds have done a tremendous job building talent via the draft & FA. John Abraham will present a tough challenge for Clifton & Bulaga. Jonathan Babineaux gets a solid inside push. Kroy Biermann is a fighter. He's not going to get a great pass rush, but he'll play the run at elite levels. I really like their LB core of Lofton, Weatherspoon, & Peterson. Additionally, Dunta Robinson is a solid CB. They've been getting solid play out of their youngsters in the secondary. William Moore has adapted well in the NFL. Brent Grimes plays the ball well. Thomas DeCoud makes plays on the ball, but he'll also bite & can be beat over the top.

We'll beat the Falcons by spreading them out. We need Chris Owens and Brian Williams on the field. They can't cover us. We'll pick on them all day. Gotta throw over Owens' head. Williams couldn't cover us when he was with MN, he won't cover us now. I can't imagine a scenario in which we run the ball well against Atlanta. We have to run occasionally to keep them honest, but if we're going to win this game, it'll be because Aaron Rodgers puts up another MVP performance.

This game will be won on 3rd down. Matt Ryan is also a solid 3rd down QB. He knows the markers. He can roll to his right. Keep plays alive. He'll find the sticks. Or he'll keep his eyes downfield to hit the open man. We've got to pressure Ryan. Woodson & CM3 lining up on the same side of the field. Send Woodson to the outside. Clay to the inside. I love Clay's inside rush. It's beyond elite. By sending Woodson to the outside, it'll contain Ryan from escaping the pocket. He'll have to step up. Hopefully, we can close the gap.

It's a big day for BJ Raji, Howard Green, & Ryan Pickett. I imagine that we'll see plenty of the "Beefy Front" in an effort to slow down the run. We'll force the Falcons to be patient. The mistake will come.

I'm predicting a big victory. Rodgers puts his name into MVP contention. And Jordy Nelson...yes, Jordy Nelson makes a big play.

Green Bay 27. Atlanta 23.

For Thanksgiving weekend, we aren't eating Turkey. Instead, we're eating Falcon. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

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