Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Take -> Week 12

Greetings, G-Force.

First place! Defined by perseverance and elite survival skills. Next man up. Every week. Fighting through injuries and coming out victorious on the road within the Division. True trademarks of a Champion. Here's some quick vibes from the win over the Lions:

* Mike McCarthy did not call his best game. I admire his patience and commitment to the run game, but I felt he was far too conservative for much of the game. But, if you even remotely question him as a leader, be sure to watch the celebration video in the locker room on the Packers website.

* Aaron Rodgers is unbelievable. His footwork is the best in the game. When it's all said and done, we might reflect on the game winning drive as the most important possession of the season. Down 6. On the road. In the division. 4:19 left on the clock. 82 yards away. Epic!

* Randall Cobb is quickly becoming a Superstar.

* Cheers to you, J-Mike! That catch-and-run was sensational.

* The OL had issues, but I thought Newhouse played well.

* Casey Hayward, yo! Dude is legit!

* Rasta House can play on my team any day of the week. A get-in-your-face defender.

* Mike Daniels providing a push!

* Dezman Moses! Showed huge effort and great promise.

* Man, if Morgan Burnett would have picked off the Calvin Johnson TD, his performance would have been stellar.

* TJ Lang is a fighter, but I'm not sure he's a RT. EDS, I hope things get better. Saturday gets overwhelmed often.

* Great game, Brad Jones!

* Good energy from Pickett, Raji & Neal. Need more from you, Jerel Worthy!

* James Starks bringing passion to the run game.

* J-Bush, well done as a gunner. Pro Bowl worthy special teams performer.

* What to do with Mason Crosby?

* Need more conviction from T-Mon. Seemed less aggressive.

* Stick in man coverage Dom Capers.

* Interesting to see an abundance of 3-TE sets. Mostly ran out of that formation. Look for DJ Williams running down the seam one of these weeks. Possibly this week.

* Keep getting creative with Randall Cobb. Find new ways to get him the ball.

* MD JENNINGS! The Doctor getting busy with it! Huge play! Momentum swinger!

So, we ride a 5-game winning streak. And, because of the clutch plays down the stretch, this game is not a must win. But, frankly, at this stage, I'm a fan with a lot of hope. Hope that this team could go on an XLV run. This is the game that could change me from a man with hope to an absolute believer. Win this week and I'll have belief that we are Super Bowl ready. McCarthy - for the most part - has developed his teams, so that they peak at the end of the year. It could be argued that this was the case in '06, '07, '09, and '10. With that, I am hopeful that our best football is ahead of us. I expect this team to improve as we become healthier. But, for immediate belief to be upon me, we need a win this week. 

In the past, McCarthy teams have often played to the level of its competition. Well, boys, belly up. NFL teams aren't supposed to be able to flip the switch like they do in the NBA. Do not tell that to Osi, Tuck, Eli, and Coughlin. As a franchise, the Giants have been able to turn it up at crunch time. In order for the Giants to make a Super Bowl run, they'll need to up their level of play as well.

The Packers and Giants have developed a nice little rivalry. In '07, they ended our season. In '10, we ended theirs. In '11, they got us again. This one doesn't carry the same magnitude that others have had, but both teams would like to have this one for playoff positioning. It's not a must-win, but it's a nice-to-have.

Tuck, Boley, Osi, JPP, Webster and Blackburn have all played well against us. While Osi and Tuck have not been themselves this year, they'll be tough match-ups for EDS & Newhouse. 

The Giants secondary can be attacked. Stevie Brown has had a good year, but he's not overly athletic. Antrel Rolle has extreme limitations. Prince is soft. Tyron & Hosley are AWFUL. YES, THEY ARE TERRIBLE. Easier said than done, but if we protect Rodgers, the reigning MVP will have a huge game. 

Hosley normally covers the slot receiver. It'll likely be Randall Cobb. Hosley has no chance. Run the slant. Run crossing routes. Hosley will give up loads of yardage and first downs.

Last week, McCarthy used an abundance of 3-TE sets. We ran out of that set every time. This week, look for McCarthy to come with play action. McCarthy likes to draft new plays in big games. He unleashes the unexpected. I'm hoping to see DJ Williams running down the seam a la Keith Jackson in 1996. If so, we could see a HUGE gain. 

Casey Hayward gets his stiffest test of the year against Victor Cruz. Hakeem Nicks has destroyed the Packers. We need to limit his touches. House matches up well with Nicks. I'm curious to see how our young DB's perform. 

The Giants OL has had trouble protecting Eli. It'll be another big test for Walden, Moses and Zombo. We'll also need to see Raji, Daniels, Neal, Pickett and Worthy to bring excessive energy. Daniels has been a beast getting a push in the interior. 

If the Giants use Webster in single coverage on the outside against either James Jones or Jordy Nelson, I look for the Packers to come with a mixture of double moves. If so, we could see a 60-yard TD. 

The last team with the ball wins. It'll be a thriller.

Packers 34. Giants 30.

Each team scores 6-times. Bend. Don't break. 

Also, as a side note, if you have any interest in the 2013 NFL DRAFT, watch Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford. He's going o be a Packer next year.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Take -> Week 11

Greetings, G-Force.

The bye week didn't treat us as I had hoped. The mettle of the 2012 Green Bay Packers will be tested in grand fashion. As fans, we expected the team to be healthier for the stretch run. Instead, we found out that Bulaga & Perry were done for the year, there is no timetable set for Jennings & Benson, and the Claymaker is also out. We're banged up. It's time to, once again, display the excellence of the Mike McCarthy/Aaron Rodgers tandem.

Much like in the XLV season, the Irishman is being challenged. McCarthy is forced to rally the troops and fully promote the "next an up" philosophy. Without Matthews & Perry, it will be up to Moses & Walden to carry the load. It'll also require the likes of Raji, Neal, Daniels and Worthy to elevate their pass rush.  Without Bulaga, TJ Lang & EDS are thrown into crucial positions with the shift on the OL. 

More than ever, the team needs the reigning MVP to play at his best. Without Jennings and with an immensely underperforming J-Mike, Rodgers is carrying a large load on his shoulders. Since the Indianapolis game, he as been brilliant. Cerebral. Accurate. In control. And, due to his play, the Packers are in great position to make a run at the NFC North crown. Without Rodgers' dominance over the last 4 weeks, the Packers might presently be on the outside, looking at ways to put themselves in position to grab a Wild Card berth.

A win against the Lions and we can start to seriously discuss both divisional and wild card situations. A win against Detroit would essentially eliminate the Lions from playoff conversation. A loss at Detroit and the season tenses significantly.

One thing is for certain: these two teams do not like each other. The coaches don't seem to care for one another and, as we saw last Thanksgiving day, the players battling on the line of scrimmage have hatred as well. There won't be much trickery. We know each other. Line 'em up. Punch 'em in the mouth. Leave with victory.

We have Aaron Rodgers on our side. With the exception of the '10 game at Ford Field in which Rodgers got knocked out, in domes, he's been dynamite. We are going to need Rodgers in rhythm or this could be a long day.

It's beyond vital for the Packers to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. When Stafford has time, he has elite ability. When you get in his face, he'll make mistakes. He can be rattled. Offensively, simply put, we must protect Rodgers.

Leshoure is an underrated back. He has good hands. He cuts well. He lowers his shoulder, gets low and picks up extra yards. 

Calvin Johnson. Keep T-Mon in his face. Burnett over the top. Double him up. T-Mon has to bump him. Consistently.

Go man on Titus Young. Hayward matches well with both Young and Ryan Broyles. Davon House should be able to jam both off of their routes.

Brandon Pettigrew & Tony Scheffler are tough match-ups for AJ Hawk & Brad Jones. I'd like to see Francois getting some playing time.

If Moses struggles to find the QB, I wonder if Zombo will get his first action of the year.

The Lions might have holes in the middle of the secondary with both Spievey & Delmas out with injury. It'd open up the middle of the already poor Lions secondary. Might J-Mike finally have a big day? I imagine McCarthy taking his chances with Nelson deep down the field. He will also try Jones on a double move.

The difference in the game might be special teams. Stefan Logan has had decent games against the Packers, but he's also vulnerable to turning the ball over. Further, expect a big return from Randall Cobb.

Rodgers tops 300 yards and goes for 3 TD's. Nelson, Jones and Finley all score. T-Mon grabs a big pick. It'll be a tight one.

Packers 34. Lions 30.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Take -> Week 9

Greetings, G-Force.

5-3. With another game at Lambeau before the bye. A chance to get to 6-3 an to position ourselves into the drivers seat with respect to a Wild Card berth. Here some vibes from the win over J'ville:

* Sometimes, in this league, it's about survival. Especially when you're banged up. And on a day in which Blaine Gabbert throws for 117 more yards than Aaron Rodgers. And on a day in which the Jaguars run more plays, gain 103 more yards, and win the time of possession battle. It wasn't pretty, but it shows up in the win column.

* Mike McCarthy coached his worst game of the year. He was passive. Stagnant. He lacked offensive creativity. There was no motion. He never injected fire in the offense and never made adjustments to try and keep the Jaguars guessing. We were predictable throughout and it almost turned catastrophic. But, in the end, it was a win. 

* The 15-yard penalty on Davon House was an absolute joke. What has happened to the NFL?

* Alex Green does not see the field well. He lacks patience and doesn't look for the cut back. 

* I liked what James Starks did. Regardless of the dropped pass. Want to see more of him. Immediately. 

* Davon House with the blocked punt! EPIC!

* Let's get the ball to Randall Cobb more often. 

* It is fun to see Double-D in the end zone.

* Mason Crosby. Yikes!

* James Jones. 7 catches on 9 targets. He's been phenomenal.

* Our TE play is disappointing.

* Donde esta BJ Raji?

* Note to Dom Capers: Rush Clay Matthews. Every play.

* Good game, Morgan Burnett. 

* Nice stats, Brad Jones. Liked the sack. Liked the forced fumble. Didn't like the inconsistent tackling.

* AJ Hawk, bro, wrap up!

* Tim Masthay = stellar punter, bad thrower. Great play design. Ryan Taylor had a first down. He was wide open and begging for the ball.

* Wish the Packers WR's would simply pick up the first down rather than getting fancy when a yard short of t sticks. Both Cobb and Boykin got cute.

This week - it is the Arizona Cardinals. Frankly, I have fears. I don't like the way we match up with them. Not with our injuries. If we were full boat, we'd win by 20 or more. But, we're not and the Irishman will likely be conservative with his play calling. This could spell disaster. We must be on the attack. 

Arizona pursues the QB. This is a defense that stymied Tom Brady in New England. Daryl Washington is an excellent blitzing ILB. It will be Jeff Saturday's job to watch him. The Cardinals defensive front does a good job stunting. Dockett and Campbell can benefit from shoddy line play. Almost amazingly, Paris Lenon is still in the league. And, he's actually playing decent. Arizona also has an underrated secondary with playmakers Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes and Patrick Peterson. The Arizona defense has the toys to play with the depleted defense. The Cardinals should NOT be overlooked.

The Arizona offense is not a powerhouse, but they have enough talent to make you nibble on your nails. Larry Fitzgerald is as talented as any WR in the game. Andre Roberts is the type of WR who annoys you throughout. There's nothing that overwhelms you about him, but he's often open and picking up first downs. Thus far, Michael Floyd has underachieved, but he has the tools to be an elite player. However, none of these guys can make an impact if the Arizona OL can't keep John Skelton upright. The Cardinals OL is pathetic. And LaRod Stephens-Howling is among the worst starting RB's in this league.

If the Packers aren't careful, the game could be similar to the 2010 Dolphins contest. We must protect the reigning MVP and when on defense, let's go after Skelton. We need to come with a vengeance and make this thing difficult for the immobile QB. Skelton won't beat you with his legs. He's a sitting target. Double up Larry Fitzgerald with help over the top. Jam Roberts at the line. Come with blitzes up the middle. Try and put the Claymaker in 1 v 1 battles. 

Pound James Starks early. Pound him often. Get Randall Cobb 10 touches. Somehow. Someway. Try to get J-Mike involved on the 1st possession.  

Do NOT let Patrick Peterson beat you on special teams!

Show your fidelity, G-Force! Be loud! Be proud! Bring personal animation to peak levels. The crowd was ridiculously quiet during the Jaguars win. Elevate this weekend. Let's get a win! It will be a battle.

Packers 23. Cardinals 20.

Get to 6-3. Then rest. Get Worthy, Shields, Perry, Nelson and Kuhn healthy. Jennings gets a week closer to full strength. Be prepared for the stretch run. This is a MUST win! Rise Up, Lambeau!

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac