The bye week has passed. R-E-L-A-X, I do. Peacefully. 5-3. One game back in the Division race. Props to the Lions who have taken advantage of fortunate opportunities. I'm ready to buckle up and enjoy the intensity that shines during the 2nd half of the year.
As I write, I relish the flowery scent that follows a La Cumbre Elevated IPA. I believe that La Cumbre plays with hops as well as anyone in America. On the headphones, I bounce to the Dirty Heads. If you don't know the song "Believe", I encourage you to give it a listen. Believe. Yes, I Believe in the 2014 Green Bay Packers.
Here are some quick vibes from the last week:
* In order for the Packers to be Super, the OL has to remain healthy. Lane Taylor was exposed. Especially on 4th & 1.
* The Rodgers injury doesn't concerns me. Even though Hamstrings linger. Rodgers wants to sweep it under the rug.
* Throw the Box Score away. The Packers were unlucky. Peppers dropped a TD. I guarantee he's been catching that pass in practice. The first Rodgers interception was a really unlucky bounce. It was 16-16. The Packers looked to be ready to reclaim the lead. Then, the momentum changed. Still, on the next offensive possession, Adams catches the pass for an apparent first down. Lewis fakes an injury for the Saints. The Saints get extra time to review. They challenge it. The call is overturned. Taylor gets blown up. The game was over.
* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. McCarthy showed bravado, confidence and aggression against the Saints. His players let him down. I loved the call to Peppers. McCarthy, once again, showed that he's a players coach. He wanted to showcase Peppers' talents. Peppers is capable. He just didn't finish the play when it mattered. I expected him to catch it. I didn't mind the onside kick. I wish Hyde or J-Bush would have made the play. I liked the call to go for it on 4th & 1. Taylor couldn't hold the point. Coaches coach. Players play.
* My one McCarthy complaint: Where was Cobb in the Red Zone?
* I'm a huge fan of Davante Adams.
* Randall Cobb is going to get paid.
* Loved the screens to Lacy!
* TJ Lang, please be OK for the Bears game. Same with Josh Sitton.
* Ras Davon & T-Mon will have better days.
* Guion with another big stop on 4th & short!
* Barrington isn't the answer at ILB.
* Aaron Rodgers is committed to stretching Davante Adams to be the best he can be.
* Corey Linsley was terrific on the long TD pass to Cobb.
* The loss doesn't eliminate the possibility of a 1st round bye as I still think that 12-4 is a possibility. If the Packers stay healthy & finish worse than 11-5, I'll be extremely disappointed.
* The lyrics to the Dirty Heads song "On My Way" are appropriate right now: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dirtyheads/onmyway.html
* The Saints are behind us. Now, it's time to go back to doing Super things. The Bears are a perfect remedy. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
The bye week came at a perfect time. Sitton, Lang, Rodgers, Sammy Swagga and Burnett were all able to rest up. And, that was necessary. It's Bears at Packers. Lambeau Field. Prime time Football. Under the lights. It's time to sparkle!
A Packers win and it's tough for Chicago. They aren't eliminated, but they'd have to go on a marvelous run over the last 7 weeks to stay alive. A Bears win and Chicago is right back in the thick of a ridiculously tight NFC.
We know the stories of Ray Nutler vs the Green Bay Packers. Dom Capers has dominated Nutler. In glorious fashion. Nutler is loaded with weapons around him. There's no excuses, Ray. Absolutely none. With Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett, Forte and a dramatically improved OL, Nutler has the talents around him. It's up to him to be good enough. I'm not convinced that he will ever be good enough over a 16-game season. I'm convinced that a large part of an athletes success is in the mind. For Ray, I'm not sure how well he's stocked between the ears.
Defensively, The Bears have an improved front 4. At least from an individual name perspective. Allen, Paea, Young and Ratliff have talent. Ferguson & Sutton offer depth.
The weakness on the Bears is defense is their safety play. I wouldn't be shocked to see either Richard Rodgers or more likely Brandon Bostick streaking down the middle of the field. McCarthy often saves players for the weak after the bye. McCarthy will absolutely have a new wrinkle this weekend. My guess is that Bostick is in the game plan.
Weather will be an issue. It's crucial for the Packers to get an early lead and to test Trestman's patience. Forte murdered the Packers in Week 4. He could do the same this week. He's an unbelievably talented back and the Packers need improved ILB play. I'm hoping that with a change in weather and decreased speed on the field, the Packers ILB speed will become less exposed.
Marcellus Bennett is questionable. I hope he sits this one out. He's a match-up nightmare for the Packers. Unless the Packers have Sammy Swagga and Ras House on the outside and T-Mon over Bennett. Hyde cannot cover Bennett. My problem with this defensive lineup is that House has not performed well vs Chicago. Sammy Swagga & T-Mon have been pests for Ray Nutler's life. Hayward has also grabbed a pick from Ray. I'll be curios to see how we line up vs Bennett.
Look for it: Lacy has a big game. Rodgers connects with a TE over the middle. Matthews and Peppers apply pressure. Nutler throws two interceptions. If the Packers grab an early lead, the Bears stay in hibernation and continue to show internal frustrations. Now, it's on the sidelines.
THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
Go Pack Go!