6-6-1. Back to even! Please allow me to pause and set the stage. I'm sipping a Stillwater Stateside Saison. This Farmhouse Ale feels like you're drinking flowers. It's the proper way to reminisce on last Sundays win as the feeling of that victory was beautiful. I'm listening to the Black Uhuru Bubbin' It Live album. I'm feelin' it.
Most years, there are a couple of Sundays where things seem to fall into place. Couple the Packers victory with the Lions loss and there was reason to celebrate. In heavy fashion. My gut says that if we can pull off three more wins, we'll be playoff bound. But, it starts with one win at a time. Here are some takeaways from the victory over the Falcons:
* At halftime, I turned to my wife and I said that it was mandatory to enjoy each play of the second half. The season was on the brink of elimination. The crowd was rightfully annoyed. McCarthy looked frustrated. The ball wasn't bouncing our way. All signs were pointing to a cursed season. And then, in epic fashion, the Packers rallied. In unison. With a NEVER SAY DIE mentality.
* Props to Mike McCarthy. I've long felt that he's a players coach. Right as it felt as though the season was nearing closure, McCarthy's team bought in. In full effect. With heightened energy. And, thus, we have hope.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! There are times that I watch him and I think that if both he and Rodgers stay healthy, Lacy may end up in the Hall of Fame. I seriously don't think that's a stretch. He reminds me of Jerome Bettis. He's powerful. He's deceptively fast with soft hands. Good vision. He pounds his way forward. Defenders seem hesitant to want to take him head-on. I agree with Alex Van Pelt who said that DB's "have to make a business decision whether you're going to take the big fella on."
* J-Bush! What up, Jarrett? Go get that Hall of Fame TE. Tony Gonzalez is the greatest TE to ever play. But, last Sunday, with the game on the line, Jarrett Bush beat him in a 1 on 1 battle. Well done, Jarrett. Oh, it was fine form to clinch the win with an interception.
* Johnny Jolly, yo! What a huge game! A run stuffer. The batted pass. And, the huge fumble recovery. WHAT IS LIFE!
* If Nick Perry ever stays healthy, he's going to consistently get 8-10 sacks.
* Big play, Mike Neal! That strip sack was enormous!
* Thought Pickett played well early in the game.
* Matt Flynn doesn't see the field very well. On multiple occasions, he missed open players over the middle of the field. There were numerous open plays down the field. With that said, I give him credit for finding the safety valves. 13 of his 24 completions were to the TE and to the RB. He relied on the underneath routes.
* Big ups to you, AQ81. The best game of your career.
* JORDY! LOCK. HIM. UP!
* There was a Ryan Taylor sighting. And, I kinda liked it.
* Jarrett Boykin can play on my team any day.
* Good run after the catch Brandon Bostick.
* Keep pumping the legs, James Starks. But, remember to run North/South. Starks' lateral running don't produce good results. Ever.
* I like when Micah Hyde blitzes from the slot.
* Good game, T-Mon.
* Sean Richardson is an upgrade. He brings a physical presence. I didn't like when he was dragged two yards after contact for a first down. Nonetheless, I like the way he looks in uniform. Barring injury, MD Jennings shouldn't see the field again in 2013.
* Here's a great Eddie Lacy fact: Lacy is just 113 yards from becoming the second rookie back in franchise history to reach 1,000 rushing yards. In 1971, John Brockington rushed for 1,105 yards. Lacy is definitely within striking distance.
* Josh Boyd played. But, he got pushed around.
* Need more out of AJ Hawk and Brad Jones.
* Morgan Burnett disappoints. Immensely.
* Good hustle, Datone Jones.
* Victor Aiyewa looks to be a decent special teams player.
This week - it's the Cowboys. At the sight of one of the best memories of my life. Picture this: An XLV Championship. Standing 20 rows from the turf. With your Mom, Dad and older brother. Arms around one another. Confetti falling from the sky. Raised right index finger. #1, baby. #1. XLV Champs. Forever.
And, now, we return. With a similar mindset as the last time we went to Dallas. As it's transcribed on the XLV ring: "One mind. One goal. One purpose. One heart." One. One win. One game at a time. We need this one. Desperately.
Sadly, we arrive without Aaron Rodgers as the starting QB. For a moment, it felt like he'd be arriving as though it was Easter Sunday. And, thus, ultimately, the Packers would be elevating in grand form. But, instead, it's Matt Flynn leading the way. With the season lingering in the balance.
Dallas has weapons. Tons of them. DeMarco Murray is lethal. Dez Bryant is gifted. Jason Witten is abusively possessive. Miles Austin has game. Tony Romo is a natural. Terrance Williams might blossom into an elite WR in the league. Tyron Smith is a terrific left tackle. Travis Frederick is a solid Center. Bottom line - Dallas will score points. Likely, in abundance.
If the Packers don't score 30 points, I don't envision a victory. Thankfully, the Dallas defense is beatable. In fact, they're amongst the worst in the league. Throughout his career, Monte Kiffin has performed well against the Packers. His Cover-2 defense has caused both confusion and turnovers. Let's hope that it's different on Sunday.
Though DeMarcus Ware hasn't had his best season, he's still a threat on every down that he's playing. Jason Hatcher is among the best DT in the game. He scares me. George Selvie has the speed to present issues to the Packers offensive tackles. We know Jarius Wynn well. He can't play. With that said, we're all forever thankful for his sack on Favre, when good ol' Brett was wearing Purple at Lambeau. It sounds as though Sean Lee won't play. That's a HUGE boost. Bruce Carter might also miss the game. Therefore, the front 7 of the Dallas defense will be heavily decimated. Eddie Lacy should run for more than 100 yards.
The Cowboys secondary confuses me. They have players. I'd take Brandon Carr, JJ Wilcox, Morris Claiborne, and Orlando Scandrick on my team. All have futures in the league. All, at times, have been abused in 2013. Spread 'em out, McCarthy. Let's attack.
It's a shootout. Without a doubt. Let's hope that Flynn sees the field. If so, the Packers will out-gun the Cowboys. If Flynn holds onto the ball too long, the Cowboys will get pressure and they'll force turnovers. The Dallas defense has lived off of turnovers. Without them, they're pathetic.
Dallas cannot cover us. No one on the field can cover Jordy Nelson. No one. No one on the field can man up against Eddie Lacy. No one.
Be creative, McCarthy. Be aggressive, McCarthy. If so, we'll have enough offense to win.
One final thought: Dwayne Harris is arguably the most dangerous return man in football. We can't let him beat us. Someone has to make the tackle.
Packers 34. Cowboys 30.
Go Pack Go!