NFC NORTH CHAMPIONS! 4 years in a row. It's importance to both recognize and embrace such brilliance. These are exciting times. Cherish it!
To toast our excellence, I raise a glass of Crooked Stave Motif. It's dark at the pour. A Belgian Style Sour Beer that is aged in Sherry casks. It carries a scent of beauty. It's perfectly sour. Plainly stated, this one is tremendous!
Musically, I entertain myself with the Mighty Diamonds "Right Time" album. Purely roots. A Rub-A-Dub vibe that elicits goodness. A grand texture of happiness awaits with this reggae beat!
Here are some quick vibes:
* Mike McCarthy. Wizardry! Great in-game adjustments. He kept the Lions defense guessing. This team was ready to dominate. They were prepared. They were physical. It was a Championship performance. Will done, Irishman! Congrats!
* Aaron Rodgers. Seriously. Aaron Rodgers. MVP! What a superstar. Entering legendary status. A lifelong hero. Playing thru pain. Showing toughness. Willing victory to the franchise. Gutty. Truly, a Titletown, U.S.A. hero.
* Here's Championship football: after the 4th Quarter blocked FG, Burnett recovers a fumble. Then, the Packers go 42 yards on 9 plays, eating up 4:43 on the clock. The mentally tough MVP plunges in from a yard out. Giving the Packers a two TD lead.
* The Packers defense played at a Championship level. In the 4 Detroit drives after their game tying touchdown, they picked up 2 first downs, they had a fumble and a safety. That's winning football.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Bruising defenders. Carrying piles. Winning the leverage battle upon impact. He has changed the physical mentality of this team.
* Jordy Nelson. He's ours. FOREVER. An exceptional year capped by another performance in which the Detroit defense had no answer for him.
* Randall Cobb. Please stick around. We need you. You need us. We are better together.
* Cobb & Nelson combined for 10 catches for 166 yards and 2 TD's on a day that decided the NFC North.
* Richard Rodgers continues to gain the confidence of the MVP. Aaron Rodgers is looking to Richard Rodgers as a target. 5 targets. 5 receptions. And, the big TE is fighting for yards after the catch. He's plowed thru the rookie wall.
* Speaking of rookie wall. Time to knock the wall down, Davante Adams.
* For the record, when this OL was healthy this year, the Packers record was 11-1. If Bakhtiari, Sitton, Linsley, Lang and Bulaga are healthy throughout the playoffs, we will feel Super this offseason. What's also epic, if Bulaga signs, this unit will remain together for at least two more years. Further, Donny Barclay will be back next year. The future is bright on the OL.
* Jarrett Boykin was open for a TD. He looked to be the primary read. Rodgers never even glanced his way. That's how much confidence he has in Boykin right now.
* Thought AQ81! did a great job blocking throughout. Gave the necessary effort. Won some battles.
* EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE! Before the game, we heard how tough the Lions fun defense was. Then, EDDIE went for 100 yards in convincing fashion.
* James Starks. Running with pizzazz. The Green & Yellow Hornet was stinging people as he bulled forward for over 5 yards per carry.
* McCarthy called a running play on the first 6 plays of the fame. He gained 61 yards. Then, on 3 straight downs from the 1 after a pass interference penalty, Eddie Lacy was not on the field. Come on, Coach. Stick to what's working there. That wasn't the time to get creative. I'd give it to Lacy three downs in a row from the 1, if necessary.
* The Claymaker! Another All-Pro performance by Clay. Filling the box score. A crucial 3rd down sack on the opening drive. Two monstrous tackles for loss. A QB Hit. A pass defensed. A Championship performance.
* Mike Daniels was a beast. Powerful. Quick as a cat. Pouncing towards the ball.
* Another really strong performance by Morgan Burnett. He continues to impress.
* The Lambeau crowd was terrific!
* Casey Hayward always seems to get his hands on the football. SHOWCASE has a big play coming in the playoffs.
* T-Mon played really well. Gave up a couple of short completions, but nothing came over the top.
* Need something big from Sammy Swagga.
* I like when we see Sean Richardson on the field. Wish we'd see him on the field as an ILB on 3rd down.
* Demetri Goodson can play special teams.
* Sam Barrington was steady as a rock. He dan still be exposed on the outside. Especially in pass coverage. But, he's been a significant upgrade.
* It's sad to see AJ Hawk like this.
* Brad Jones. Why? There was no need to hit Stafford in the head. Think, man. Think.
* Julius Peppers has a BIG play coming.
* Need more consistency from Datone Jones. Occasionally, he'll flash a burst off the snap. But, we need more of it.
* Same goes for Mike Neal & Nick Perry.
* Lacy with the diving catch!
* I really wish we'd see more of Clay at ILB on 1st and 2nd downs.
* Letroy Guion continues to shine. He's getting a push. He making plays in the run game. He's going to continue to be tested in a big way in the playoffs.
* Micah Hyde has become a weapon as a return man. He's made a number of monstrous plays this year. I get the feeling that he has another game changing play in him this year.
* Josh Boyd continues to play with the desired effort.
*'Barrington's celebration on Burnett's 4th Quarter recovery was grand. So was the Claymaker's. Love the camaraderie on this team.
* The 3rd & 4 catch by Richard Rodgers with 12:15 left makes me smile.
* Clays effort on the 2-point conversion was truly spectacular.
* I really, really like seeing Julius Peppers at DT on 3rd down. I think that's his future. He's disruptive there. Gets his hands in the air. Uses his strength. Alters the play with excellence.
* Josh Sitton can do it all.
* Eddie on the spin!
* Our kickoff coverage team scares me.
* Letroy Guion has surprised me with his pass rushing push on 1st & 2nd down.
* On occasion, Mike Neal flashes brilliance when he plants his left foot and cuts to the inside on a pass rush.
* HaHa wants to be a star in this League. He's willing. He's able. I hope it all comes together for him. He has all of the natural gifts.
* I can't get enough of watching Randall Cobb get in and out of his breaks. He's so low to the ground. He's so determined. It's beautiful.
* I'm so sick of all of these blocked kicks. It's seriously baffling.
* The precision on the 3rd & 4 TD pass to Cobb was precious. Aaron Freakin' Rodgers!
* Be sure to hang onto the ball, EDDIE.
* I still cannot believe that Tony Washington, OLB, Oregon is listed as a 5th-6th round pick. I'd take him in round 3. Maybe round 2. Watch him in the National Championship game on Monday Night. He's #91.
This week - it's the Cowboys. It's the first time in NFL history in which a team that went 8-0 at home will play a team that went 8-0 on the road. And, yes, it's the Packers hosting the Cowboys.
These two teams carry a rich history. The most famous game is obviously the Ice Bowl. But, the year before was a legendary game as well. If you haven't seen video of the game, find it. Starr was brilliant with 304 yards, 4 TDs and 0 interceptions. The game ends as Tom Brown intercepts Don Meredith in the end zone. It could be argued that had the Starr sneak and the Brown interception went the other way, the Lombardi Trophy might be the Landry Trophy. And, it would've been Meredith - not Starr - who would've been the Super Bowl I & II MVP. Yes, three yards might have been the difference.
In the 90's, the Cowboys got revenge. In a big way. They ended the Packers season in 1993, 1994 and 1995. It was painful. Had Sean Jones intercepted that pass in 1995 when the Packers led 27-24 in the 4th Quarter...
Ahhh, the Packers as a 6 point favorite in Vegas. Vegas never loses. And they're begging the public to get the Cowboys. The Packers as underdogs - in the eyes of the gambler. Not Vegas. But, the man who is placing the bet. I lithe the way that sounds. You can bet that Aaron Rodgers feels the same way. And, I have to admit, I don't trust Roger Goddell. Hence, I feel really good about this game.
Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.
Tony Romo returns to WI. DeMarco Murray is a running beast. Dez Bryant is ultra talented. Terrance Williams is a blossoming star. Cole Beasley has become a decent slot WR. He's emerged as a go-to target for Romo on 3rd down. Jason Witten is as tough as ever. He's a dedicated blocker and a trusted target. Gavin Escobar is growing into a weapon at TE. He can get deep. He can get down the seam. He'll test the coverage skills of our ILB's. Lance Dunbar is a fine back-up RB who offers a scat-back option. And, I believe that Dallas has the 2nd best OL in football. Behind the Green Bay Packers. Zack Martin is a Superstar as a Rookie at Guard. Tyron Smith is an animal at Tackle. Doug Free is a baller at Tackle. Travis Frederick is big-time at Center. Ronald Leary is their weakest link and can be attacked.
Expect Dallas to stay committed to the run. Early. And often. There will be heavy doses of Murray. He'll pound at our interior. We better see Clay at ILB or they could trash us for big yards. The Cowboys hope their run game will open up the play action pass. They'll look to get single coverage on the outside. Sammy Swagga and T-Mon are battle tested. Seasoned playoff veterans. I trust them. I believe Hayward will make a play vs Beasley in the slot. Look for a Hayward pick this week. Go egg the ball, SHOWCASE!
While Murray is uber gifted, he will put the ball on the turf. We have to gang tackle. The first guy wraps up. The next guy goes pinching for the ball. We can grab turnovers this week.
Micah Hyde - your assignment is Jason Witten. Man up.
Defensively, Dallas has overachieved this year. They can't stop us. But, they'll bring effort. George Selvie, Demarcus Lawrence, and Tyrone Crawford are all undersized, high effort players in the 4-3. They grind. They come with speed. They aren't littered with power. Bruce Carter is becoming elite at LB. He brings speed, intensity and high instinct. Rolando McClain has been great for the Cowboys at ILB. McClain is banged up and might not play. The Cowboys will attempt to cover the Packers WR's with Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr. Barry Church and JJ Wilcox won't be good enough at Safety. Sterling Moore will likely have the assignment of stopping Randall Cobb. Look to Randall, MVP. They can't cover him.
EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!
EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!
EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE!
Chant down, Lambeau! He'll be the best back on the field. He brings cold weather football to the locker room. He'll amp up the intensity. They don't have an answer for him.
Aaron Rodgers will have options at the line of scrimmage. A plethora of them. Cobb on the slant. Lacy on the run. Jordy on the double move. Adams on the slant. Richard Rodgers in the flat. AQ81! on the out. They'll all be there. Be your cerebral self, MVP. It's your day.
Defensively, we need to force two turnovers. We will have our opportunities. I'm looking for JP to make a play. SHOWCASE , Sammy Swagga and T-Mon will all be in position. Carpe diem, secondary.
I'm really scared about Dwayne Harris. I've always liked his game. He's a lethal returner with a pension for the big play. He can alter a game every time he touches the ball. We have to show up on special teams.
Is this FINALLY the week that Brandon Bostick makes a play?
The Packers need to get the lead early. It'll slow down the run game. It'll allow Capers to dial up the blitz. If you overload the weak side of the Dallas OL, you can get free looks on the QB. When that happens, anticipate Romo's spin move. Play to Romo's outside hip. You have to tackle the outside hip. If not he'll get loose and that's when he makes the big play.
Rodgers has another big day. Lacy flexes his strength. Cobb finds the end zone. Romo makes a 4th Quarter mistake.
Go Pack Go!