Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

'Tis the Holiday season. A grand December game at Lambeau awaits. This one will be special.

I was born and raised Catholic. In an Irish family. For me, Christmas means great laughs with family, gift giving in the spirit of Santa, more Christ, and intense Green Bay Packers football. But, I'm fully cognitive that religion divides people in the world. So, as I write, I take a break from Christmas music and I listen to Sly and the Family Stone's "Stand" vinyl. Everyday People. All for one. One for all. Music is the weapon of the future.

I sip an Avery "Tweak" as I damn near tweaked out with concern a couple of times last Sunday. At 17.81% ABV, it comes with a punch. An imperial stout. With coffee. And aged in bourbon barrels. Yes, it helps me to R-E-L-A-X.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* The team looks to be in a small funk right now. And, it's starting with McCarthy. I'll never understand the 3rd and goal handoff to Kuhn. On a counter nonetheless. Hey Coach, hand it to EDDIE! I was surprised to see 5 WR on the field on the 4th down. Why not kick a FG and take a two-score lead? Why not give it to EDDIE? McCarthy is searching for answers. I don't blame McCarthy for being stalwart to Rodgers' arm, but right now, Eddie is running with a purpose.

* EDDIE! Tackling him is a business decision. He's in playoff mode.

* Rodgers showing the toughness of a Champion. Confident in the pocket. A calming figure in the huddle. An MVP.

* While Rodgers is in peak form, the Packers have to go on another Super run. He's too good not to win another title.

* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER!

* Randall Cobb. Lock him up!

* This isn't the time for Davante Adams to lose both focus and confidence. Loved how Rodgers came back to him on an easy out pass to try and get him going again. I'm wondering if Adams has hit the rookie wall.

* Jarrett Boykin doesn't look like the same player that he was last year. Really frustrating. No rhythm to his game right now.

* AQ81! The big guy with another big reception!

* Kuhn as a lead run blocker was a solid addition to the offense early in the game. Opened a couple of really huge holes. Following Kuhn's lead, EDDIE grabbed chunks of yardage.

* EDDIE locking down nearly 6 yards per carry.

* Nice hands, Richard Rodgers. Keep working hard, young man. You've earned the MVP's confidence.

* I loved how McCarthy named the captains for huge playoffs already. Amp it up! Again, McCarthy shows a masterful pulse on this team.

* After a slow start, I thought Bakhtiari performed really well for the final 3 Quarters.

* TJ Lang. Josh Sitton. Best Guard duo in the National Football League.

* The Corey Lindsley holding call wasn't fair. He looked like a masterful technician on the play.

* Like that Tretter continues to see snaps.

* Bulaga toughed it out and played strong.

* James Starks needs an education on down and distance game situations. Too often he's trying to make something happen when it'd be wise to simply lower your shoulder and push for a couple of yards.

* Congrats to EDDIE for topping 1,000 yards for the second year in a row.

* Jordy is a security blanket.

* Randall Cobb is aging to perfection. So crafty.

* Once again, Clay Matthews comes thru with a monstrous performance. The Claymaker was fast, active and powerful. Since the bye, he's been an absolute Superstar.

* Mike Daniels with a dominant showing. Especially early in the game. He meant business.

* Need Letroy Guion winning the mini battles. He's been pushed backwards a lot over the last 6 Quarters. That was fine vs Tampa. But, it won't be OK vs future opponents.

* As Julius Peppers strives to etch his name alongside Sir Charles and REGGIE as veteran FA's who propelled the Packers to Super status, he has to continue to pursue QB's with the same intensity he brought vs Tampa. Two great sacks!

* Mike Neal with the burst for a sack.

* Really vibin' the Jayrone Elliot effort. Wish he had an extra gear and a quicker 1st step, but the dude could make an impact in the playoffs.

* Nick Perry will not be on the Packers next year.

* Datone with the pick! Great pressure by Elliot on the play.

* Barrington came with aggression on the blitz. He was an integral part of the commanding display of defense. While he lacks speed, he brings strength and desire.

* MORGAN BURNETT! Wow - what a day. He's made great strides this year. Attacking at the line of scrimmage. Terrific in run defense. Making plays on the blitz.

* Ha Ha can tackle really well, but he still isn't a playmaker when the ball is in the air. Gets beat often.

* Sammy Swagga has to get his swagger back.

* Hayward & T-Mon were rock steady.

* More positive effort for Josh Boyd. He's an important part of the defensive rotation.

* Need better from Tim Masthay.

* We are in the playoffs. That's the first step. Now, we need to handle the Lions and catch a week of rest.

This week - it's the Lions. For all the marbles. A win means a first round bye. A #2 seed. A chance to refresh, recharge and take aim at a 14th World Championship. A loss means a 6th seed and a date at Dallas next weekend. We need this one.

We know the Lions. They're littered with weapons. Stafford can whip it. Bush can run it. Calvin & Tate can catch it. We might not have an answer for Riddick. Bell will bury his head into our DL and push for yards. Pettigrew is gifted athletically, but makes mental challenges. If healthy, Ebron is a talented TE. But, their OL is soft. And, they can be bullied. Especially without Raiola. The Packers must attack the right side of the Lions OL. Riley Rieff can be had at LT.

Defensively, the Lions are as good as it gets at DL. DeAndre Levy makes plays. Darius Slay and Glover Quin have been great. Rashean Mathis has tested time and exceeded in the battle. James Ihedigbo has consistently made game changing plays. And, while their depth is limited in the secondary, they have performed at a high level.

Jeremy Ross. I had so much hope for him as a Packer. Prior to the draft, I had targeted him as a potential Packer. When he was claimed post the draft, I had high expectations. He showed glimpses of goodness. And, then the fateful fumble vs SF happened. I lost all faith. In Detroit, he's been dangerous. Though he can't be trusted, he'll be a factor.

Turnovers will play a story. I expect Peppers to make a play. T-Mon as well.

Randall Cobb is the key to the game. Yes, it's all about a Cobb. They can't cover him. He needs to be a priority. Early. And often.

The crowd will be raging. The excitement will be animated. The intensity will be high. The Packers will return to glory in the NFC North. The Lions haven't won in WI since 1991. The streak remains alive.

Rodgers throws for 260 and two. Eddie pounds away for 100 and two.

Packers 34
Lions 30

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

On Thursday, August 21, 2014, I wrote:

In a year of dangled possibilities and Super aspirations, our dreams won't be roasted. Trinity Brewing confirmed such beliefs. If you're a beer connoisseur and you aren't familiar with Trinity, you're missing out. I've thoroughly watched the Packers v Rams preseason game. As I've indulged in the game, I've enjoyed a fine selection of Trinity's flavors. Old Growth is beyond spectacular. Red Swingline is a life changer for beer lovers. The Trinity Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta is tremendous. Combining Trinity Brewing with Green Bay Packers football leads to elite smiles. Vibe On.

Today, once again, I turn to Trinity Brewing to remind me of our Super destination. I open a Passion Swing American Fruited IPA. It hits you with a fun sweetness upfront. It carries a bulky sunshine fruit style scent. And, it's finish is a grapefruit hop bitterness. Gourmet!

As I try to stay in the R-E-L-A-X mode post the Buffalo defeat, I pop in the Jimmy Cliff "Give the People What They Want" vinyl. It mellows my mood. After all, "Reggae music is sweeter everywhere."

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* It's possible that Mike McCarthy was too aggressive. Yes, I wrote that. He needed to run the ball 35 times. Instead, he trusted his MVP QB on a day when the best player in the NFL showed he was human. Can you blame McCarthy? I'm not sure that I can. Yes, I wanted him to run the ball. I was begging for it. I was literally yelling at the TV. But, had Rodgers connected on the two deep balls to Nelson, we'd be singing a different tune. Once, Rodgers didn't see him. The other time, Nelson dropped it. Can't blame McCarthy for that.

* Aaron Rodgers, I love you, man.

* Jordy Nelson. Move on, young man.

* Eddie! A total stud. He tried to put us on his back.

* James Starks. Not every run has to be a 10-yard gain. Sometimes, it's ok to get 2-3 yards. Especially on 1st down. There's no need to try to spring every play.

* It was comical to watch Brandon Bostick on the punt return for a TD. What a wimp.

* Wish AQ81! would have caught the third down pass on the 1st drive of the game. We seemed to press a bit after the drop. Might have lost a little confidence as a team.

* Loved the animation that McCarthy showed on the sidelines.

* How does Slocum keep his job after this year? Another blocked kick? Are you kidding me?

* Great game, Clay!

* Nice pick T-Mon.

* Play Jayrone Elliot as a pass rusher.


* Good game, OL. Need Bulaga healthy.

* In an effort to stay positive, I move on. Yes, I'm bummed that home field will likely not go thru 1265 Lombardi Ave. But, we just received a wake-up call. And, I'd we win out we get the #2 seed and a 1st round bye. I'll take it.

This week - it's the Bucs. It's Lovie. It's Josh McCown. Ironically, we faced them in Week 16 post the Week 15 collapse in KC in 2011. This should be a home game for the Packers. If you're in attendance, be loud!

The Bucs have weapons at WR. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are tall, fast, athletic, and both are great at winning the jump ball. They're match-up nightmares. The Bucs have great depth at RB with Doug Martin, Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey and Mike James. But, the Bucs OL cannot give protection or open holes. They lack muscle. EDS has started 14 of 15 games for the Bucs at Center. Logan Mankins is a star at LG. But, outside of that, the Bucs have a patchwork OL.

Defensively, Lovie will go to his famed Tampa 2. But, the Bucs defense is banged up. Especially upfront as they'll be missing two starters. Once again, the Packers OL should dominate. Michael Johnson has great length and has given the Packers problems previously. I don't think it happens on Sunday. With Mason Foster and Lavonte David, the Bucs have a pair of undersized, but speedy LB's. Impact defenders who play much bigger than their size. Danny Lansanah also starts at LB for the Bucs. Long time readers know that I felt he had a future in the NFL. Happy to see he has another shot. Alter rain Verner is a playmaker at CB. Dashon Goldson is a heavy hitter at Safety. But, the Tampa secondary lacks depth. I expect Rodgers to have a Super day.

Early in the game, expect Tampa to try to establish the run game. They'll run it right at our belly. Attacking the middle of the field. But, Mike Daniels mans up. So, does Letroy Guion. Tampa slows down the game. But, then the Packers take over. It's play-action. Rodgers to Nelson on 15 yard post routes. The Bucs have no answer for this Packers offense. Lacy pounds away. Moving the pile. Then, it's Rodgers to Cobb for a TD.

Packers 38
Bucs 20

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Take -> Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

10-3. First place in the NFC North. Tied for first in the NFC. Staring home field in the face. But, the win over the Falcons serves as a reminder that an NFL game is a marathon. Thus, I listen to Bob Sinclar's Western Dream album. My aim is to ensure that I'm mentally fit for a full 60 minutes. Against Atlanta, at halftime, it seemed as though the R-E-L-A-X message was taking too literally. The Packers relaxed too much and the game quickly tightened.

I sip a Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett. It's a robustly sour beer that has a heavy consistency carrying throughout. As I taste, I'm reminded that this beer was crafted for consistency from start to finish.

Here are my quick vibes over the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Thankfully, McCarthy stayed aggressive throughout. The shot to Nelson was a thing of beauty. It was vintage McCarthy who seems to masterfully have his finger on the pulse of the team and the games in which they play.

* Aaron Rodgers. Ring the chorus: MVP! MVP! MVP!

* Jordy Nelson. FOREVER! One of my favorite Packers. Ever.

* Randall Cobb is a go-to receiver on 3rd down. He's so tough minded. Fearless. Powerful for his size. Stick around, Randall.

* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! With the spin! With the shoulder boom! With animation in his step!

* James Starks goes Green & Yellow Hornet as he seals the deal! Slashing thru the ATL defense.

* AQ81! with another big catch on 3rd down. Statistically, he hasn't been a star this year, but man, he's made some monstrous plays.

* An awkwardly lazy special teams performance until Crosby's late kick.

* Good hands on the onside kick, Jordy Nelson & Jarrett Boykin.

* There was a Brandon Bostick sighting! Boy, did he look clumsy.

* Clay Matthews gave a monstrous effort. He wanted this win. Loved his energy and activity. I really hope this role becomes a permanent move for him.

* Sam Baarington brings muscle. A shoulder laden tackling intensity. He'll plug holes. But, he can't run.

* I appreciate AJ Hawk's approach to the demotion. He doesn't want to be a distraction. Wish the media wouldn't attempt to create division. I know it's their job to report on the topic. But, really, it's a performance based demotion. Carry on.

* Aaron Rodgers. Cerebral. Artistic. Surgical. Carving up the ATL defense. With his mind, his arm and his legs. A true athlete. A Titletown, U.S.A. legend.

* Another absolutely dominant performance from the OL. Each of them playing hard. Lang's hustle downfield doesn't get enough attention. Loved seeing Bakhtiari clearing the hole on the early 2nd Quarter rushing TD by Lacy.

* Fun to see Kuhn with the ball early in the game. He's a Shepherd for the Packers Kinfolk.

* Ummmm, time to make a play, Julius Peppers. Saw him in the action on two downs. Once, he couldn't wrap Ryan to the ground and the other, he was dominant at the line on the 2nd & 2 on the Falcons second drive of the game.

* Letroy Guion! With the tip. And the athleticism. Wish he'd have held on. Thought he had a great first half.

* Catch the ball, T-Mon.

* When it was clear the Falcons were going to be passing the ball, I was begging to see Jayrone Elliot. Stunned to not see him get one snap on the defensive side of the ball. Too conservative, Dom.

* I've said it before. I'll say it again. If our starting OL is healthy, I think the Green Bay Packers will be Super Bowl Champions.

* I like how McCarthy continues to introduce new formations. He's creative. Interested to see what Lacy does as they continue to utilize him as a receiver.

* Another shout out to AQ81! as he continues to stock pile big plays! He's turning into a weapon for the MVP.

* Morgan Burnett with a huge pick! And, he was plugging holes. But, he looked awfully slow on the big play to Julio Jones start the second half.

* The 10-yard TD pass to Nelson at the end of the 1st half was complete brilliance from Rodgers. We are blessed to watch him as the QB of the Green Bay Packers.

* Time to move Sean Richardson to ILB in the dime. Brad Jones isn't the answer. Neither is AJ Hawk. Sam Barrington can't play the role either. I'd also prefer Lattimore over all of them when Clay is rushing and we have only 1 LB on the field.

* Good work on the blocked FG, Brad Jones.

* Liked seeing Lane Taylor and JC Tretter on the field at the goal line.

* Demetri Goodson was a decent special teams performance.

* Good to see Brandon Bostick make a special teams tackle. Thought he was broken into two after the play. He's so soft.

* It was great to see Clay bouncing off blockers and hitting a ball carrier.

* Ras-Davon with the best performance of any CB.

* I will choose to not be too critical of the 2nd half. We relaxed. We got too conservative. It gives McCarthy a speaking point. A reminder that the journey needs to be enjoyed. And, that as a team, we must power through and not lose focus. 10-3. In control. Carpe diem!

For the fun of it, I made drastic changes to my mock draft. And, yes, I believe that the best talent in college football is found in the PAC-12, the SEC and the ACC. Take a look:

Round 1.) Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah.
Round 2.) Trey Flowers, DE/OLB, Arkansas.
Round 3.) Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA.
Round 4.) Tyeler Davison, DT, Fresno State.
Round 5.) Tony Washington, OLB, Oregon.
Round 5.) Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State.
Round 5.) Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville.
Round 6.) Kasen Williams, WR, Washington.
Round 7.) Quayshawn Nealy, ILB, Georgia Tech.

This week - it's the Bills. In Buffalo. A hostile environment. With a lot on the line for both teams as the Packers fight for home field throughout and the Bills battle for a potential playoff berth.

Kyle Orton scares me. He beats the Packers. Often. In 2011, I was in KC in December in Week 15. The Packers were 13-0. It felt so right. I hope Week 15 in 2014 has a different ending. I wish I was headed to Buffalo to support the Packers.

I'm hoping Orton plays as he did in Lambeau Field in 2008.

The Packers must dare Orton to hit receivers outside the hash marks. Test his arm strength. Take away the middle of the field. He can't hit a corner route. He'll look for Scott Chandler on short routes and on quick releases down the seam. Chandler is a solid TE with great hands and an ability to make a catch it traffic. Hyde should be able the match-up with him. Orton will also target Sammy Watkins & Robert Woods on slants, WR screens and short crossing routes. Watkins is lethal after the catch. Buffalo will pound the ball at our nose. Between the tackles with Fred Jackson & Bryce Brown. Jackson is a grinder. Brown is elusive and can find space, but he has a pension for putting the ball on the ground. Buffalo has a big, physically intimidating OL.

The Bills have the best front 4 in football. Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and Jerry Hughes. It'll be the stiffest test our OL has seen all year. Corey Graham and Stephon Gilmore are worthwhile CB's. Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers are journeyman at LB. Nigel Bradham is inexperienced, but talented. Aaron Williams & Bacarri Rambo are a below average safety combination. Buffalo does not have depth in the secondary. The Packers catch a break with Da'Norris Searcy missing the game.If we can protect Rodgers, the MVP will have another MVP performance. But, protection is a huge concern.

Spread them out. Attack with short routes and double moves. I expect Jordy to have a big game. I also think Adams' shifty route running will give him opportunities to get open. We can test them on the outside. Short 7 yard stop and curl routes will work. Bulaga will be tested as he doesn't handle speed well.

Hopefully, we see a lot of base defense from the Packers. 4-2-5 alignment. Hyde over the TE. Clay & Barrington plugging the middle. An 8th man in the box. Creating havoc over the middle of the field. All within 15 yards. No zone. All man-to-man. Providing clutter for Orton to try and force the ball into traffic. Get your hands up, DL! Play Elliot as a pass rusher. He will run around Seantreal Henderson and Cordy Glenn. Orton cannot move. He's looking for the short route.

I expect Clay to get an interception this week.

It'll be a dog fight. But, the Packers capitalize on a late TD to widen the margin.

Packers 27
Bills 16

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

To celebrate, I pour an Avery Grand Cru Beast. More than 18% ABV. I pour because it's robust. It's strong. It's bold. You know, all of the feelings that were on display post the epic victory over the Patriots. But, I'm reminded to R-E-L-A-X. So, I put on Culture's "World Peace" album.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Thought the Lambeau crowd showed up in electric fashion. Playoff atmosphere. The weather may be cooling off, but the intensity is heating up. Past teams didn't seem to care about the road going thru Lambeau. This team is hungry for Titletown U.S.A. to host the playoffs.

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. Against New England, McCarthy was the dictator. He offered a variety of looks that the Patriots hadn't prepared for. He had 5 receivers on the field. Often. He had Cobb in the backfield. Often. He kept the Patriots guessing for the entire game. He kept adjusting before NE could catch up.

* Aaron Rodgers. MVP. And, it's not even close. Only JJ Watt has an argument.

* Super Bowl teams are often tested throughout the season. They learn the art of perseverance. They win in a variety of ways. Recently, we've seen the Packers win on a legendary 2-minute drill in Miami. We saw the Packers absolutely dominate the Viqueens, Bears and Eagles at home. We saw a victory on the road in which the ball wasn't bouncing our way and the Packers pounded away on the ground. Then, against NE, the Packers had a CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE only thwarted by an Adams drop as he was walking into the end zone. The drive was an 11-play, 65-yard drive that ate up 5:10. But, the drop forced the Packers defense to rise to the occasion. The defense elevated and to force NE into a 47-yard FG that was pushed wide right. This team is winning in a wide variety of ways. That feels Super.

* Early in the game, Rodgers reminded me of Favre a bit. Uber focused. Pressing a bit. High on a lot of throws. Animated!

* The Packers may have only sacked Brady once, but they were in his face often.

* Clay looks so passionate coming around the edge.

* Awesome to hear the Lambeau faithful forcing a timeout less than a minute into the 3rd Quarter. Great volume, G-Force!

* When AQ81! is the lead blocker, EDDIE should follow his lead more often than not.

* DAVANTE ADAMS! Wish he would've caught the final pass, but man, what a breakout game. An elegant route runner. He catches the ball with his hands. He still needs to work on his footwork down the sidelines, but his route running is already significantly above average. He has a grand future. He also showed toughness as he went up in traffic and came down with the ball.

* Way to Lively Up, Richard Rodgers! Still not a great blockers as he often chooses the wrong guy, but he has displayed tremendous hands. Great over the shoulder grab.

* 4 weeks in a row in which AQ81! has made a big play! His third down reception was enormous. It's fun to watch Aaron Rodgers' relationship with AQ81! as the MVP gives the TE enough attention to keep him happy and always gives him a congratulatory finger point after a big reception.


* Each week, Randall Cobb shows that he deserves more $$$. He'll be a Packer for the foreseeable future and it has to excite the MVP that he'll have Nelson, Cobb, and Adams at WR for the next couple of years.

* Corey Linsley is human. Was surprised that he was late on the inside blitz on 3rd down inside the Red Zone.

* Another stellar game out of the OL. Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Linsley, Lang and Sitton. Wow. We are blessed. Hope Bulaga takes a hometown discount and sticks around for a while.

* On the biggest defensive 3rd down play of the game, it wasn't Clay, Pep, T-Mon or Sammy Swagga that made the play. Instead, it was a combination of Mike Neal & Mike Daniels. Monstrous!

* On the first drive of the game, Linsley was a true stud. Getting to the second level. Putting his hat on a LB. Creating yards.

* Sam Barrington setting the tone early with back-to-back tackles on the opening drive to get the defense off the field. Barrington and Clay compliment each other well. I didn't like seeing Barrington lined up outside covering a RB. That'll eventually be exposed.

* Another strong game from Clay. He looks like a natural at ILB.

* Crosby has to make that kick.

* The aura around this team is magical. The vibe is healthy. The teamship is grand. Mike McCarthy is tremendous at building a Locker Room.

* The first 4 offensive plays went to EDDIE. He was dominant as he grabbed 51 yards on those 4 plays.

* Early in the game, Belichick was planned to keep a 3rd CB on Adams. McCarthy & Rodgers sensed this and attacked this match-up. Knowing they'd have success and that NE would adjust, he had a back-up plan. As Belichick changed that strategy, McCarthy brilliantly moved Cobb to the backfield and used Cobb, largely, as a receiver.

* Randall Cobb looking like Dave Meggett. How great was that HB Circle wheel route?!?!?!

* I liked seeing Jarrett Boykin getting involved. Nice little 6-yard pick up out of the backfield.

* JP with the tipped pass!

* Really nice tackling, T-Mon.

* Get healthy, Sammy Swagga. You, too, Jamari Lattimore.

* When AJ Hawk was on the field, he was victimized. On crossing routes and in the run game.

* Quite possibly the best game of Datone Jones' career. Good pressure. Attacking. Doesn't have the stats. Had the energy.

* Mike Daniels was a MAN!

* I want to see more of Jayrone Elliot. Speed rush. From the outside. Up the field. Especially against stationary QB's like Matt Ryan and Kyle Orton in the coming weeks. As he comes up the field, I'd have a LB coming to the inside on a blitz. Elliot could be the next addition in the continued evolution of this defense. Sure, he struggles against the run. But, that's not what he is at thus point. He's a one-trick pony, but it's a talent that we lack without Clay at OLB.

* HaHa with another big game. Physical. Aggressive. Intense. Fearless.

* Great grab, James Starks!

* Liked Jayrone Elliot and Sean Richardson on special teams coverage.

* Though Burnett missed a couple of tackles and got beat a couple of times, I thought he was steady.

* EDDIE meaning business on 3rd & 1 is an exciting buzz.

* Really, really impressive tackling by T-Mon. Worth mentioning again.

* Sam Barrington plugging holes!

* Rodgers throwing on the run and making it look easy.

* Guion & Boyd continue to work hard.

* As the remains an issue and kickoffs continue to fall short of the goal line, I get the feeling that DuJuan might break one. However, I'm more concerned about our kickoff coverage unit making the tackle than I am the prospects of Harris getting loose.

* Brandon Bostick. I've never liked him because he can't stay healthy. But, still, his athleticism cannot be denied. I'm still waiting to see him used as a mismatch down the field.

* It's noteworthy that James Jones has 60 catches on the season. EDS has started 11 of 12 games for Tampa and is healthy, once again. I'm hoping he starts 15 games. I want two compensatory picks.

* The MVP continues to use his legs to grab chunks of yardage.

Saw a bunch of college football this past weekend. Made great progress on desired NFL Draft prospects. Most of it confirmed what I've already been writing. Added a new target for late in the Draft. As always, it's rare for me to list an OL, I only list if I've watched the player and I have the Packers picking #32. I'm still seeking additional DL to add beef to the line. Also, thank you to CBS DRAFT SCOUT for your guidance. Here goes:

1.) Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington. With Danny Shelton, DT, Washington likely off the board, I go with Kikaha who is the best pass rusher in CFB.
2.) Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas. Long. Elephant style player. His length changes games. He's athletic. Both quick and powerful off the snap.
3.) Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State. Ballhawk. Smooth tackler.
4.) Jake Ryan, ILB, Michigan. Instinctive player. Natural defender. Looking for more game speed at the position than he brings, but I haven't found it yet.
5.) Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville. Big, athletic target who can get down the seam.
5.) Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska. Big target. Elusive. With return skills.
5.) Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State
6.) Cameron Botticelli, DL, Minnesota. The WI native reminds me of Don Davey. Surprisingly athletic. Deceptively strong. Really smart. Good nose for the ball.
7.) Sam Eguavoen, ILB, Texas Tech. Heavy hitter. Plays with passion. Inflicts pain.

This week - it's the Falcons. Whenever I think about the Falcons v Packers, I think of the 2nd Quarter of the Packers January of 2011 NFC Divisional win over Atlanta. To date, in my opinion, it was the best Quarter played by the Packers in my lifetime. 28 points. The 5th play of the Quarter capped off a 13 play, 81 yard TD drive that ate up 7:56. BJ RAJI as the FREEZER capped off a 10 play, 92 yard TD drive that chewed up 5:44. After a Sir Charles sack & a T-Mon pick, it was Rodgers to James Jones for a TD that completed a 7 play, 80 yard drive as the Packers were in a 2-minute offense. Then, we saw Clay with a big sack to knock the Falcons to the brink of FG range and on the last play of the Quarter is was T-Mon with the pick and a 70 yard return for a TD. GREATEST QUARTER EVER!

This years Falcons team finds themselves tied for 1st place in the NFC South. Somehow. They've won 3 of 4 and sit at 5-7 on the year. It's a must win game for the Dirty Birds. It's also a must win for the Packers as they aim to secure home field throughout the playoffs.

With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the Falcons are a threat to put points on the board. Both Roddy White & Harry Douglas did not practice this week. While the injury report isn't out yet, if they cannot play, Atlanta will have Devin Hester and Eric Weems running routes. Previously, both White and Douglas have given the Packers problems. At TE, Levine Toilolo is a big target. Bear Pascoe is a decent possession receiver. With Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman, Atlanta has a wide variety of running styles at RB. The ATL OL is bad. Really bad. Except Jake Matthews, Clay's cousin. I fully believe that the Packers will have at least 3 sacks this week. They might get 5.

Look for Jones to get 10 targets. Mostly, on WR screens and deep balls. ATL will force the Packers secondary to make tackles. Additionally, they'll run Jackson up the gut as a bully to the Packers defense. Ryan will eat up click between plays. And, he'll mix in a blend of screens to Rodgers and Freeman who'll annoyingly pick up first downs.

Defensively, Atlanta leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, Osi can still rush the passer and has been a nightmare for the Packers, but he's what they have as a pursuer of the QB. Biermann can play the run. Paul Soliai is a tremendous run stopper. Tyson Jackson hasn't developed as a pro prospect. Jonathan Babineaux is just a guy. Prince Shembo is still learning the LB position in the NFL. Robert Alford will have a cast, if he plays. William Moore & Dez Southward will hit you, but both can be beat deep. Desmond Trufant was drafted too early and is overrated. Robert McClain can be beaten.

Other than Jones, the biggest concern is Hester returning kicks. On occasion, the Packers have struggled to cover kickoffs. We have to tackle Hester.

With ATL expected to run the football in an attempt to eat clock, I expect to see Capers mix it up again. He's offered a wide mix of looks. Look for some early down action with Guion & Pennel on the interior. Era specially if Boyd and Daniels are limited due to injury. Both are big, beefy defenders who should be intent on plugging holes. ATL wants to see 3rd & 4 or less. Often. If so, they'll feel comfortable. If it's 3rd and long, Ryan will be under duress all day.

Give help on Osi. Just a chip. Spread them out. Give the game to Aaron Rodgers. On MNF. Playing in his 100th game. On National TV. For the world to see. Rodgers goes for 350 and 3. The defense is in Ryan's face early and often. It's a Lambeau celebration and the mystique of the 2014 season continues to build.

Packers 38
Falcons 20

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.