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!