Oh, how it feels! A home opener. Against the defending NFC East Champs. A convincing victory! On TV, it appeared to be a festive environment. With home field advantage fully in tact. Well done, G-Force. Well done! Here's some kind vibes from the victory:
* A day that includes a 400 yard passer, a 100 yard rusher and two 200 yard receivers will be remembered. Especially when it happens on the home opener. It was a BIG win. Huge ups to Aaron Rodgers, James Starks, James Jones, and Randall Cobb.
* Lost in the shuffle: Jordy Nelson had 2 TD grabs. Jordy looks like the 2011 version of Jordy Nelson.
* After two weeks, Aaron Rodgers is fully in the MVP discussion.
* James Starks went XLV playoff run on us. And I liked it.
* Randall Cobb is quickly becoming the best slot receiver in the NFL.
* David Bakhtiari is a winner.
* Don Barclay recovered well. After a rough 1st possession, he looked like a 10-year veteran.
* EDS also responded well after a rough 1st Quarter.
* If Josh Sitton & TJ Lang play like that on a weekly basis, the Packers will be tough to beat.
* Yes, the OL made a great impact after a tough 1st Quarter.
* Clay Matthews > over every other defender in the NFL.
* Really liking the start to the season for T-Mon.
* Nick Perry swatting passes is a good thing.
* Ryan Pickett with his hands in the air on pass attempts in a positive vibe.
* I credit Johnny Jolly for the enhanced PD coming from our pass rush. Cheers, Johnny!
* When BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly are on the DL, the opposition won't run on us.
* Ah, Mike Neal. YES! Looks legit. Stay after it, young man!
* Chris Banjo. I like it. Sure, he missed one tackle. But, he manned CF. And, for the most part, I thought he wrapped up well.
* J-Mike is getting jiggy wit' it! Rumbling thru tacklers. Getting into the end zone for the 2nd week in a row. I like his rhythm. Play on, J-Mike. Play on.
* AQ81 is a needed addition to our offense.
* Dude! James Starks just popped 100 on us! Word up!
* Loved seeing James Jones stepping thru tackles.
* Brad Jones is a star when he plays against mediocre to slightly above mediocre talent.
* That was the best I've seen AJ Hawk play since 2010.
* Ras-House can play in this league. Man-to-man defender. Had he nutted up against Boldin, the Packers would be 2-0.
* I like Sammy Swagga's tenacity.
* Tim Masthay is a gangsta.
* Liked seeing Andy Mulumba getting playing time.
* Mike Daniels is a beast. Arguably our second best pass rusher. Behind CM3.
* I can only imagine that the CM3, Datone Jones, Mike Neal, Nick Perry pass rusher becomes a beastly 3rd down formation.
* Ras-House has looked like a decent gunner on special teams as well.
Things the Packers need to improve on:
* Jerron McMillan. Want to be a fan. He's dreaded. He dropped the gloves, but his tackling was still poor.
* MD Jennings. Way too passive. Show aggression, MD!
This week - it's Cincinnati. At the end of the year, this will be a game that will be remembered. Consider this: in my mind, after 2 weeks, 6 of the top 7 teams in the NFL are SF, SEA, Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta. Well, one of those team won't make the playoffs. Barring significant injuries, 5 of the 6 will. But, since one of the playoff teams come from the NFC East, one of these elite teams will miss the playoffs. Therefore, the Packers playoff destiny might be dependent on their ability to win the Division. Chicago beat Cincinnati. It's up to Green Bay to hold serve.
In many ways, Cincinnati matches up well with Green Bay. Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Domata Pena and Michael Johnson make up a serious front 4 for the Bengals. They'll attack the Packers OL with absolute intent. Ray Maualuga, James Harrison and Vontaze Burfict are mean. They're aggressive. In short, the front 7 of the Bengals defense is far more physical than the Packers offensive front. Further, it could be argued that AJ Green runs the best routes in NFL. Mohamed Sanu is an underrated 2nd WR. Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham are as dangerous as any 2-TE set in the NFL. Oh, and the BenJarvus Green-Ellis & Giovani Bernard combination is a solid one-two punch. If Andy Dalton can find consistency, he has the weapons to lead a Championship team. In all, the Bengals are a tough match-up and a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the weak AFC.
But, when push comes to shove, the Bengals will have to cover Cobb, Jones, Nelson and J-Mike. And, with the injuries to Dre Kirkpatric, Pacman Jones, Brandon Ghee, and Jeromy Miles, the Bengals secondary will have limitations. Though it appears Jones will play, he won't be in full force. It'll be up to McCarthy to hit the Bengals revamped secondary with short routes. Force Cincinnati to tackle us. I don't think they can succeed.
I fully anticipate a shoot-out. The Packers will struggle to cover Green and Eifert. Both will come through with punishing blows on 3rd down. Although the Packers run defense is improved, it'll be tough to contain Green-Ellis and Bernard.
Early on, the Bengals look sharp. Andy Dalton finds Eifert over the middle. Dalton hits Green on a comeback route. Again, he finds Green on a 15 yard slant. Cincinnati goes out to an early 7-0 lead.
Rodgers responds. Quickly. Connecting on short routes to Jones, J-Mike and Cobb. The Packers move the ball efficiently. A dump off to Starks leads to a 1st down. Finally, it's Rodgers to Nelson for the TD!
Throughout, the Packers struggle to get the run game going. But, the Packers take advantage of a beat-up Cincinnati secondary and find success over the middle of the field. Reggie Nelson is legit, but he's a gambler. With Jones injured, Nelson leans his way to provide support. The middle of the field opens up. Rodgers finds Finley. Consistently. I like Leon Hall, but he can't stick with Jordy for 60 minutes. Terence Newman is a man. He's a grizzly veteran, but he's not able to fight with James Jones for 4 Quarters. The Bengals have no one that matches up with Randall Cobb. Cobb grabs 9 balls.
The Packers have difficulty getting the defense off the field. Dalton is in rhythm. Bernard punishes the defense. We see more of Eifert. Green as well. It's a shootout.
But, Rodgers isn't to be denied. Trailing late, he finds Jordy on a deep ball to put the Packers in position for the win. It's Rodgers to Cobb for the win!
Packers 34. Bengals 31.
There's a big difference between 2-1 and 1-2. We need this one! Let's do this!
Go Pack Go!