4-4. It’s ugly. But, we can’t panic. We have to keep the faith. There are 16 teams in the NFC. 11 have either 3, 4, or 5 wins. There’s no time for hating. Instead, this team needs support right now. It needs positive kinetic energy. With Minnesota traveling to Washington this week, there’s a strong possibility that the Packers will be in a 3-way tie for first place in the NFC North with 7 games to play. More often than not, McCarthy and Rodgers teams have improved as the season has gone along. And, with the team getting healthier over the next couple of weeks, there’s a possibility that this team can put it together. Further, there’s a chance that after this weekend, the Packers will be right in the mix to achieve a 1st round bye. Sounds crazy, but while the outlook is bleak right now, most teams in the NFC likely feel just like Packers fans felt on Sunday afternoon. It’s not the time to give up. And, if the Packers fail to find victories over the last 8 weeks and they miss out on the playoffs, then it might be time for the Packers to evaluate whether they’ve met the end of the Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson road. But, for now and for the rest of the year, I’m going to focus on the 2016 regular season.
The Avery Kaiser welcomes me with a smile. Rich in ABV. Smells like fall. A toffee, caramel feel. It’s sweet. Big bodied and ready to tackle your buzz. Sly & The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits keeps my happy and rhythmically bouncing. After all, we have to “Stand!” for what we believe in. I believe in Dancing to the Music of the Green Bay Packers. I also listen to the Avett Brothers because "There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light. In the fine print they tell me what's wrong and what's right. And it comes in black and it comes in white. And I'm frightened by those that don't see it. When nothing is owed or deserved or expected. And your life doesn't change by the man that's elected. If you're loved by someone, you're never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it."
Here are my quick vibes over the last week:
* Mike McCarthy went bland for three quarters. And, while we had opportunities for big play, we were extremely predictable. Sure, the offense moved the ball and was often in Indianapolis territory, but the Packers couldn’t finish the drive, with the exception of a free play that resulted in the Rodgers to Nelson TD. Also, McCarthy’s use of Cobb and Montgomery was baffling. It didn’t seem like he kept his players in the loop. Poor leadership move by McCarthy.
* Aaron Rodgers wanted that game. He was wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Trying to will the team to victory. He wasn’t always on target and he wasn’t seeing the field at an elite level, but he played with the type of command that will bring the Packers victories in the near future.
* Jeff Janis had me punching the floor with vulgarities like a 2-year old throwing a terrible tantrum. I can’t do that in front of the kids again.
* Huge props to Corey Linsley. He saw the DL jump. He snapped the ball. He created the free play that led to the Nelson TD pass.
* Ty Montgomery needs to touch the ball a minimum of 15 times every game.
* Don Jackson, once again, showed burst. He has quickness. Now, he needs patience.
* Good game, Davante Adams. Liked the way he used his body on the TD catch.
* This team needs Clay Matthews healthy. Like immediately. Even if it’s as a situational pass rusher. I seriously wonder if Clay's size is his hindrance. I wonder if the 50 pound weight difference against OT's put pressure on his back and if it then has an effect on his hamstrings. I really hope he gets put back to ILB. I know I write it weekly. But, I think it could be a solution.
* Back-to-back weeks, the defense had a chance to put us in position to win the game by getting a stop on the last drive. Two weeks ago, the ball bounced off of HaHa’s hands. Last week, HaHa missed the sack. Not on knock on HaHa, I’d just like to see him seal the deal. With that said, without HaHa’s performance, the Packers might’ve been blown out early in the game.
* Love the way Kentrell Brice wraps up. Feel like he has a forced fumble on the horizon.
* The Packers need Micah Hyde to be healthy.
* Julius Peppers spent a lot of time on the ground. He was pushed around. But, he's playing too much. With Clay hurt, Fackrell not ready for full-time duty, Elliott not taking the next step and with the diminished production from Datone Jones; Peppers is forced to take on more snaps than what was planned. In return, we've seen decreased production. Still, Peppers remains one of the few Defenders that we have who you'd expect to make a game changing play. That can't be discounted. When Clay comes back, I'd expect Peppers' play to improve as well.
* I remain optimistic that the Packers could put together a late season run. The NFC looks bad. Outside of Dallas, who feels good about themselves? And, we have to remember that the Packers seem to be getting healthier. Soon, we'll see Jared Cook. We'll have Clay back. While I don't like Starks as a starting RB, at least he knows the position and the offense. Damarious Randall will be back soon. And, it's quite possible that EDDIE will be back with fresh legs for the playoff run. It's possible that the Packers will be healthy at the right time and if so, it's possible that we'll be ready to peak at the right time.
I’m not going to dwell on the negative. I’m moving onward. So, my attention will be directed toward the Titans. After all, I'm headed to Nashville. For a family reunion and a family date at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. And, I'm making sure that I'm leaving with victory in hand. We are bringing the G-Force. We are bringing excitement. We are bringing positivity. We are bringing the FUN back to the Packers. If you're going to Nashville this weekend, be ready to get a hearty high five, to be greeted with a grand smile and a full-on GO PACK GO. The 2nd half of the season is our time to shine.
The Titans have played decent football lately. They're going to be a physical test for the Packers. And, when they don't turn the football over, the Titans win games. But, Marcus Mariota has been mistake prone. The Packers are going to need to jump routes as Mariota lives for the underneath route. He can't throw the deep ball. If we're aggressive in the secondary, big plays will happen. Rishard Matthews and Kendall Wright are dangerous after the catch. Harry Douglas can play the slot WR role. Tajae Sharpe doesn't scare me. The Titans will have Delanie Walker in action. Walker is a really talented TE threat. He'll be a mismatch for the Packers. DeMarco Murray is a bruising back. But, he puts the ball on the turf, so it'll be important for the Packers to be slapping wrists as they look to make tackles. It doesn't appear that Derrick Henry will play. The Titans have a physical OL. They're gritty. They're under appreciated.
Defensively, the Titans are aggressive. They attack. They'll come with a wide variety of blitz packages. From all angles. DaQuan Jones is a force in the run game. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are tireless around the edge. Both offer a talented speed/power pass rush. Orakpo scares me. Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard are talented ILB in a 3-4 defense. The secondary takes chances, but can be beaten. Perrish Cox has been a physical addition on the perimeter at CB. Jason McCourty is a battle tested perimeter CB. Antwon Blake can't cover anyone on the Packers. He'll get torched. The Titans lack secondary depth. Rashad Johnson and Da'Norris Searcy are confident, hard hitting safeties, but both can be had.
I expect a Music City Packers celebration. I look for Rodgers to be in command. To be in complete control of the game. From start to finish. The Packers are on a mission.
Tennessee will annoyingly move the ball. They'll bring the read-option. They'll hit underneath routes. They'll be methodical. But, they'll struggle to finish drives.
The Packers finally connect on multiple big plays down the field. Jordy has a monster day.
Packer fans will show up in Tennessee in abundance. It'll be a fun buzz.
Go Pack Go!
You gotta believe!