Finally, a winning record. Finally. It took 7 weeks, but we're on the positive end of a win/loss record. And, if we protect Lambeau, and finish 7-1 at home, we'll likely be playoff bound. It starts with the Jaguars this weekend. But, before we touch on Jacksonville, here are some kind vibes from the victory over St. Louis:
* I love Mike McCarthy. The Irishman loves possessions. This year, he's been a wizard with respect to adding possessions. Against Chicago, he had the fake FG that led to a TD. Against NO, he had the fake punt to steal a possession. Against St. Louis, he came with the onside kick. He's rolled the dice three times. He's a perfect 3-3. Further, I thought he called a great game. Though Alex Green never got going, McCarthy didn't get away from the run game. He kept the defense honest and Green carried the ball 20 times. He also used the screen to try to slow down the talented front-4 of the Rams. He's consistently using Cobb in new ways - each week. I also believe that the two best drives of the season were witnessed in this game - both ending with Randall Cobb TD's.
* Suddenly, Aaron Rodgers looks like the leading candidate for the MVP award. ON FIRE!
* Get healthy soon, Sir Charles. We'll need you down the stretch. Heal fast, mate. While most reporters believe we'll get along just fine without him, I believe we're going to miss him immensely. Sure, he hasn't been the playmaker that we've been used to. But, he's still a leader, a motivator and an ABSOLUTE BEAST in the box. He is great against the run. And, he has to be accounted for on every play. He plays mind games with QB's.
* With that said, I'm excited to see more of Jerron McMillan. Want to see him in the box. Not MD Jennings. More of McMillan. Less of Jennings. Please.
* Thought Brad Jones hit the hole hard early in the game. Didn't always seek the right hole. But, he showed small promise. He's not going to be a star, but if he can be a sure tackler and have a Ron Cox type role on this team, we'll be fine.
* Ryan Pickett played well. Liked the way he plugged holes early in the game.
* I finally found the reason Brett Favre went to Minnesota!!! So, he introduced ways that Percy Harvin should be used. Ted Thompson watched with envy. And, in the copy cat NFL, he drafted Randall Cobb. Now, Cobb is used similarly to the way Harvin is used. And, the results are fascinating. SUPERSTAR! The 3rd & 7 with 6:52 left in the game was absolutely brilliant. Catches the ball 1.5 yards short of the first down marker. Slides out of a tackle and gets the first down. Dude is a ball player, man. Straight up player. Love him!
* Casey Hayward! 4 picks, yo! 4 picks! Stallion.
* Is it just me or have the Packers had trouble keeping their footing over the last two weeks? A number of players. Alex Green in particular. Strange.
* Jordy Nelson finding his stride.
* TJ Lang, put that game behind you, mate.
* Bulaga played like a Pro Bowler.
* D-House looked legit. Seems as though we have 4 solid CB's in Hayward, T-Mon, House and Sammy Swagga.
* Need more out of Morgan Burnett.
* The Claymaker is as good as any player in the NFL. Runner-up for Defensive MVP thus far. Behind JJ Watt.
* James Jones continues his stellar year.
* The Packers are a better team when John Kuhn is involved. We can't forget how crucial he was during the stretch of the XLV Run. KKKKKKKUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNN!
* Dezman Moses gives great effort. But, he might not be fast enough to play OLB. Sam Bradford was gaining on him. He looks to be strictly a special teams player.
* Cheers to Brett Goode! He's the type of guy you want on your team. And, I'm stoked he got the extension.
* Tim Masthay. Would you rather any other punter than him? I wouldn't. Master of downing it inside the 20.
* J-Bush is an elite gunner.
* Get it together, Mason Crosby.
* Two guys to watch in College Football this week as I target prospects for the NFL Draft: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford. Wasn't getting much attention. Wasn't listed on Draft Sites. I wrote about him last week. Drops in coverage well. Puts pressure on the QB. He's 6-6, 261. Just named a Butkus finalist. The other is Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee. Big game for UT as they take on South Carolina this weekend. Worth a watch to see a fun prospect in action.
This week - it's Jacksonville. Let's make it 3 in a row, Lambeau. WE CANNOT LET DOWN! WE CAN'T! We are banged up on both sides of the ball. And, the G-Force need to bring energy. Let's carry this team. We'll get healthy in December, but the Lambeau Faithful have to propel a victory and make it difficult for the Jaguars offense to perform.
With highs in the mid-40's, winds at 6 mph, and a mostly sunny day, it seems like a PERFECT DAY in late October! A perfect day for an AFC team to come to Titletown, USA. A perfect day for a team from Florida to come to America's Dairyland. A perfect day to kick some AFC (Amateur Football Conference) ass. Let's do this. Let's do it in GRAND FASHION. And, then let's celebrate. It has the makings of one of those days where I wish I was in the state of WI. With the Viqueens loss and the Cardinals on the Packers schedule next week, along with Seattle and Detroit battling this weekend, the Packers could head into the bye at 6-3 and in good shape in the NFC.
The Jaguars come to Lambeau without MJD, the best player in their Franchise's history. They will be with starting QB, Blaine Gabbert. And that's a good thing. I'd rather face Gabbert than Henne. Henne performed well in his only start in Green Bay, when he led an average Dolphins team into Lambeau Field in 2010 and he prevailed, 23-20 over the eventual Super Bowl Champions. Gabbert is the worst starting QB in the NFL. For my mind, that is a statement of fact, not opinion.
Offensively, Jacksonville is limited. Justin Blackmon has Pro Bowl potential. But, his desire is highly questionable. The Packers must know of his whereabouts at all times. Mercedes Lewis is in the upper-tier of TE's in the league. Rashad Jennings is an under-rated RB, but he should be contained if you have 8 in the box. Laurent Robinson had a decent year with Dallas last year, but he doesn't scare anyone. The Packers should be able to win man-to-man battles.
Jacksonville will try to run the ball and eat up clock. They'll eat up most of the play clock between plays. They'll be cognitive of keeping the clock running. They know they can't score with us. Hence, they'll be searching for a number of 5-8 minute drives. It'll be up to the Packers to stuff the box. Force Gabbert to beat us. If so, he'll put at least two balls in our hands. I expect Burnett to get a pick. Same with T-Mon. Big plays will be in front of this defense. It wouldn't surprise me if the Packers defense scores points this weekend.
Defensively, Jacksonville is not ready for the prime time. Rashean Mathis can still play. Paul Posluszny is a solid ILB. Tyson Alualu is a decent player, but he hasn't lived up to management expectations. Bottom line: Aaron Rodgers is in line for another big game.
We can freeze this J'ville team out of Lambeau. Jump on 'em early and they'll be warming up the buses by the middle of the 2nd Quarter. McCarthy has to keep his foot on the gas pedal. He can't let this Jacksonville team hang around. Even with Greg Jennings out for the game and Jordy Nelson likely sitting this game out, the Packers should be able to put up points. Expect a big game out of James Jones and Randall Cobb. J-Mike will be put in position to succeed. We'll see more of Double-D than we've seen all year. And Boykin will make the first catch of his NFL career. Remember it was Jacksonville that cut Boykin earlier this year. Boykin will get his shot this Sunday.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Starks get his shot in the 2nd half. It'd be interesting to see how the Irishman would call the 2nd half if the Packers jump out to a 3-score lead. I could see him running the clock and going ground-and-pound with Starks as the featured back.
Look for the Packers to jump out to an early lead. I'm predicting a 23-6 halftime lead. Then, the 2nd half is a yawner on the field and a party in the stands.
Green Bay 33. Jacksonville 13.
Go Pack Go!