Friday, December 30, 2016

My Take -> Week 17

Greetings, G-Force.

After a festive thrashing on the purple panty queens from Minnesota, the Division title is firmly in sight for the Green Bay Packers. For the 4th year in a row, the Packers will play an NFC North title game in Week 17.

To celebrate the intensity of a Week 17 NFC North title game and the complete domination of the 'queens, it's a Crooked Stave Raspberry Origins. Fruit meets sour and a little bit of funky goodness to balance the overwhelmingly eye-pinching sour treat. I listen to a mix of the String Cheese Incident who I'll be seeing in advance of the NYE Holiday. I'm imagining myself standing on a mountain top...seashells are at my feet. Imagination creates reality. Aaron Rodgers imagined that this team could run the table. They've conquered 5 of the 6 tasks. There's one more hurdle. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Packers respond to the Prime Time finale.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy outclassed Mike Zimmer in a big way. Zimmer had no answers. McCarthy attacked. He showed a variety of formations, a wide mix of personnel and he used the success in the run game vs Chicago to set up the play action pass vs Minnesota. Minnesota's ILBs were keying on stopping the run. They consistently bit on play fakes to the RB. And, this, Packers WRs were often running open across the middle of the field.

* Aaron Rodgers. In MVP mode. Playing as the most cerebral man on the field. Patient. Using all of his Arsenal. His vision is back to where it was in 2014.

* JORDY! JORDY! JORDY! Put him in the slot. Put him on the outside. Have him run a lengthy blend of routes. The queens had no answers. That was vintage JORDY Nelson. He was emphatic is demeanor. More demonstrative than I've ever seen him. A Packers legend.

* What a great performance by Geronimo Allison. Difference making catches that kept the chains moving. He wasn't afraid to cross the middle of the field. He displayed terrific hands on his last catch to keep the chains moving.

* 31-13. Targeting a championship drive. 1st & 20. 13:02 left. McCarthy calls 4 WRs. With a TE. He lines up Adams in the backfield. With a backup RT. Three WRs to the right side of the field. Cook split left. 1/2 tight to the line. McCarthy forces Harrison Smith to step towards the box to the left side of the field, expecting the slant or a RB circle pass to Adams. Instead - it isolates Cook in man-to-man coverage against MN's #4 CB. It's not a slant. It's a GO route. It's 30 yards. It's a 1st down. It's McCarthy > Zimmer.

* Ty Montgomery delivering contact!

* Aaron Rodgers with the shake, the rattle and the roll for the Packers TD and a truly sublime Lambeau Leap. Watch out, NFL. Aaron Rodgers is having fun again!

* Bulaga and Bakhtiari. Weapons as bookend Tackles.

* TJ Lang. I hope he's a Packer forever. Give us a discount, TJ!

* Linsley was moved in the run game on the opening drive. Really, really surprising to see. Otherwise, a solid game from the 3rd year Center.

* Jared Cook needs to be back in Green Bay next year. Really wish Rodgers would've connected with him on the GO route to the back corner of the end zone. Cook had a step.

* Loved the back shoulder to Adams for a TD. Hope to see more of that.

* Richard Rodgers with the TD down the middle of the field. On an absolute dart from UNO-DOS! What a beauty!

* I've wondered what a healthy Aaron Rodgers would look like in the playoffs. We haven't seen it since 2012 when we weren't in the same class as SF. He's starting to look like he's close to 100%.

* Love the way Janis is being used. Keeping DCs guessing. Soon - we will see the reverse again.

* If that's how Clay is going to play, we instantly become contenders.

* Good to see Nick Perry back on the field. This team needs him.

* Happy to see Mike Daniels reap rewards from the Clay pressure to grab a sack.

* Really wish Janis would've downed the opening punt inside the 5. Other than that, I thought he did a good job as a gunner.

* As I've been saying, if this team can get pressure on the QB and if we can force a turnover or two a game, we will be tough to beat. Each week - it seems to be someone new making a play. That excites me. Everyone is stepping up to force turnovers. Randall, Rollins, HaHa, Burnett, Peppers, Hyde, Clark and Clay have all made monster plays in recent weeks. Need that trend to continue.

* Amazing to see the variety of ways that Clay dominated the game. He won with speed. He won with power. He won with finesse on a healthy mix of spin moves. Terrific performance!

* Kenny Clark showing great awareness! Additionally, Clark is quietly providing a tremendous push. He isn't getting home, but he's disruptive. He might have a sack in him this weekend.

* If this season ends with a Super run, the Clay strip-sack will live grandly in my mind forever.

* Etch this in your brain: Mike McCarthy's troops dropped 38 points on Mike Zimmer's ass in a Week 16 December contest on Christmas Eve. Help your Holiday spirit?

* I'd lock up Micah Hyde. 4 year deal. $14-15 million. He adds great versatility. He has a big play coming as a punt returner.

* I like the use of Christine Michael as a kickoff returner. Brings great speed and vision to the unit. Kid can move. Has burst.

* Dorleant. Was that the biggest cushion you've ever seen in a non prevent defense?

* Damarious Randall. What an enigma. Who is this guy? Looks like a natural at times. Then - he's totally lost on the next play. Feel like he has another big play coming.

* Happy Gunter is healthy. Team needs him on the perimeter. Still think he has an interception on the horizon.

* Mason Crosby's 48 yard FG was big. And, his kickoffs were exceptional .

It's Super Bowl or Bust. It all starts with a Division title. We need to beat Detroit. I have a hard time imagining anyone winning at SEA, at Dallas and at either NYG or ATL. Let's start the playoff run in Titletown, U.S.A.

The Packers head to the Motor City. For all of the NFC North marbles. Suddenly, the Packers are mostly healthy. And, the Lions are banged. Player availability is a key element this week. Do Darius Slay, Theo Riddick and Travis Swanson play? Without them, it's tough for me envisioning a scenario in which the Packers lose this weekend. We'd win the line of scrimmage if Swanson is out. Riddick is as elusive as it gets in the open field. Slay is as underrated of a CB as there is in the NFL.
The #1 thing to look for this weekend: is Darius Slay going to play? If not, Detroit cannot cover Green Bay. If so, how effective will he be? The Lions lack depth at CB. They need Slay to be healthy. Nevin Lawson will grab. He always does. If his tugs are called, we will see big plays down the field. We will receive gift first downs. If the contact isn't called, Lawson can frustrate WRs. He's annoyed Adams previously. As Lawson is in stride, he's easily beaten on the back shoulder throw. Let's hope that Rodgers is in mental unison with his WRs down the sideline. If so, the Packers will light up the scoreboard.

The Lions have talent, but they lack depth. Golden Tate has hurt the Packers previously. And, with Andre Roberts unlikely to play, it wouldn't surprise me if the Lions use Tate as a punt returner. Tate is tough to bring down. Every time he touches the ball, he's a threat. Marvin Jones crushed the Packers in Week 3. Anquan Boldin is banged up. But, he's a gamer and I anticipate that he'll be ready this weekend. TJ Jones is a young receiver who looks the part. He's a tough guard in the slot, but he & Stafford aren't always on the same page. For most of the year, Stafford was on the short list for the MVP award. Have massive respect for Stafford. He never quits. He's a king of the 4th Quarter comeback. I've always liked Eric Ebron. He runs a sharp down-and-out, he can power through tackles and he's not afraid to run the fly route down the seam. Ebron is a difference maker who wins with both speed and power. Riddick strikes fear in opponents. If he's out, the bulk of the load falls on the hard-working, over-achieving Zach Zenner. The Lions OL is suspect - especially if Travis Swanson is out. Taylor Decker and Riley Reiff can both be beaten on the edges. Decker can be beaten early with a speed rush around the edge and after he plants to hold the edge, he can be beaten with power to the inside. Riley Reiff can be out-smarted by a savvy pass rusher. If Nick Perry is fit to go, he'll give Reiff all kinds of trouble as he gets underneath Reiff and pushes him back. Graham Glasgow and Larry Warford have talent, but both go through mental lapses. If Daniels, Clark and Guion play with endurance, they'll each make plays this weekend.

Defensively, the Lions have a great front 4. Ziggy Ansah is as dynamic as a pure pass rusher as their is in the game. Devin Taylor has length and speed. When Taylor extends his arms in the run game, he's not going to be moved. Taylor can also get around the edge with surprising quickness. Haloti Ngata can still plug the run game. He's tough to move. A'Shawn Robinson is showing signs of being a legitimate NFL starter. The 2nd round pick can be beaten with physicality, but he's a fighter and won't take plays off. Kerry Hyder has been a surprise as an interior pass rush. If Rodgers holds onto the football too long, Hyder will get a sack. DeAndre Levy - when healthy - is a star LB. He's been banged up. He should be good to go this weekend, but he's not 100%. Tahir Whitehead is not great in run defense, but he's an animated presence in the Lions nickel and dime defense. He's fiery. He's fast. He plays with attitude. The Lions secondary is a huge question mark. After Slay and Lawson, the Lions roll out Johnson Bademosi. Bademosi is a special teams gem, but he can't play CB in the NFL. If he sees significant action, he'll get torched. Alex Carter is not yet ready for prime time. Asa Jackson is a below average slot CB. Randall Cobb would run circles around Jackson, if Cobb can go. Glover Quin is an underrated Safety who has the ability to make plays. The same can be said for Tavon Wilson. But, the Lions depth at safety is also poor. Miles Killebrew doesn't match up well with anyone that the Packers roll out on offense.

Stafford will put up points. He will also take chances. And, those chances can lead to turnovers. I foresee the Packers defense forcing two turnovers. Peppers gets a strip. Gunter gets a pick.

The Packers have to watch the WR screen to Golden Tate. It'll come early. We will see it often.

I expect Capers to use a blend of Joe Thomas and Morgan Burnett against Eric Ebron. Ebron is problematic down the middle of the field. If we aren't careful, he could terrorize us.

Against MN, early in the game, McCarthy called 11 straight pass plays that led to 14 1st Quarter points. Zimmer had no response. The Lions don't have the queens secondary. They don't have the queens front 7. They don't have the queens defensive mental wizardry. McCarthy should give the game to Rodgers. Let it loose for 45 passes. We will see positive results. And, if we are in sync, I really believe that the only way the Lions can stop the Packers is if the Packers stop themselves.

Rodgers outplays Stafford. The NFC North title comes back to Titletown, U.S.A. Where it belongs.

Packers 38
Lions 27

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac

Friday, December 23, 2016

My Take -> Week 16

Greetings, G-Force.

When in doubt, throw the TRUMP CARD. Halas Trophy. Soldier Field. Visitors Locker Room. TRUMP CARD FOREVER! Yes, the XLV run remains clearly in the front of my mind. And, the Soldier Field magic still remains. Now, Rodgers to Nelson for 60 yards on 3rd & 11 with 00:31 seconds left sits just behind the Rodgers to Cobb 48-yard TD on 4th & 8 with 00:38 left in the game. Both are true signs of being able to drop TRUMP CARD. Post the win, hope still remains in the hearts of the Titletown, U.S.A. faithful.

When you bunker beers, you save true treats for celebratory fashion. The 2013 New Glarus Wild Sour Ale fits in that category. Sour plum goodness. Still beautifully carbonated. Surprisingly, a little less sour than I recall. To celebrate I listen to Stevie Wonder's Number 1's collection. After all, when the Bears equalized at 27, I was uptight. But, with Aaron Rodgers, everything's alright. Really wish this was released on vinyl.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* Mike McCarthy. Aggressive. Assertive. Playing his stallions. Leaving victorious. In December. I'm not surprised. Are you? In typical McCarthy fashion, his team is peaking when it matters. And, now, his team controls it's own destiny. The NFC North is the Packers to win. Win and we're in.

* Aaron Rodgers. Had Nelson caught the two earlier deep balls and had Adams caught the two TD passes, statistically, Rodgers would have entered the MVP race. He's carried the team. I've wondered about his leadership skills previously, but the RUN THE TABLE message is residing strongly within the Packers locker room. His belief has carried over. Others could've said the RUN THE TABLE statement, but it wouldn't have carried the same weight. It needed to come from the 2-time MVP. He's playing with a magical form.

* Ty Montgomery! YES! YES! YES! Displaying elite skills. He's still learning the position - obviously - and I can't tell if he's overly patient or if he's slow to see the hole on occasion, but while that was an absolutely fantastic performance, I think he can be even better with more experience at the position. I love the way he powers through arm tackles. I love the burst between steps 2-5. He has a quick turbo button to his eruption through the running lane. His first TD was grand. He got the edge and then he batted off a would be CB tackler. What's amazing is that as marvelous of a performance as it was, he had 1 yard on 2 receptions. Someday - he'll have a 200 yard day.

* Christine Michael. Can you say explosive? With Michael and Montgomery, we're onto something. Throw in the occasional RIP touch and I like our backfield in a way that I've never liked our backfield. We have a great mix of players who feel comfortable with the football in their hands.

* Jared Cook. Continuing to grow in the offense. Rodgers is looking to him. He's a third down weapon. He's a mismatch all over the field. I hope he's back next year on a cap friendly deal.

* JORDY! JORDY! JORDY! Adding to his Legend. I still need his autographed photo hanging in my Packers Wall of Fame. For my taste buds, he defines what it's like to be a Green Bay Packer. Great dude. Teammate. Hard worker. Bounces back in a tough moment during a sub-par game to make the monumental game clinching play.

* Adding to how tremendous the Rodgers to Nelson play really was, the Packers had both back-up Guards on the field for the play.

* Momentum is on the side of the Packers. Need to keep on playing with confidence.

* Loved the fake reverse to Janis on the first drive of the game. The results weren't glorious, but it sets up a double play-action play in which their might be an open receiver of the top. Look for it. Fake hand-off to Ty, fake reverse to Janis, and Adams is wiggling his way down the sidelines for a big play.

* Julius Peppers! I had a feeling he had a big play coming. You know what? He has another one happening before the end of the season.

* Play Clay Matthews at ILB. Please. He's not healthy enough to take on the contact against a more powerful OT.

* As I've been saying, the Packers don't need their defense to be elite. They just need to convert a turnover or two a game and they need to apply pressure on the QB. The turnovers were in abundance last week. The pressure on the QB was not enough. Still for 3 Quarters, the Packers had a championship worthy defense. The 4th Quarter meltdown was largely due to a lack of pressure on the QB and a lack of intensity on the perimeter at CB. I'll never understand why the Packers give such a cushion on the outside. Baffling.

* Congrats to TJ Lang. Ture footballer. Gritty. Gutty. A Packers HOF'er.

* HaHa. Taking the next step! Two massive, game-changing interceptions. Leading to 14 thrilling points.

* Need more out of Datone Jones. Especially in run defense.

* Damarious Randall. Who is this guy? Two weeks ago - he looked great. Last week - he looked like he didn't belong in the NFL.

* Micah Hyde. Earning big coins in his pocket.

* Ladarius Gunter. He's inconsistent, but he shows signs of being a legit #3 CB. And, he is a perimeter CB. Those are tough to find. Still have a feeling that he has an interception coming. I think it happens this week.

* Mason Crosby. Cool as a cucumber in hot sauce under pressure.

* Dom Capers. Zero confidence in him.

This week - it's the 'queens from Minnesota. Showing up in their purple panties. Last year - they stole the NFC North crown from us in Week 17 at Lambeau. This year - they punched us in the mouth in Minnesota. We need this one. Badly.

Sam Bradford has cooled off since a hot start. The 'queens offensive line has been decimated by injury. They've been a disaster. The 'queens have talent at the skill positions. Adam Thielen is a talented WR who gets almost zero props. He's a dangerous play-making WR who offers big-time match-up problems. The Packers had no answer for Stefon Diggs in Week 2. I'm not sure we can cover him this week either. Cordarrelle Patterson is being used more extensively as a WR, often catching short screen passes. He's a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. AP was back last week. His status is uncertain for this week. Without AP, they'd be using Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as a 1-2 punch. Asiata has been tough for the Packers to tackle previously. McKinnon is a mismatch for the Packers. Especially as a receiver. He's tough to bring down in the open field. Kyle Rudolph often destroys the Packers. He seems to score a TD every time we play each other.

Defensively, the 'queens match up with us better than any team in the NFL. Between Robison, Hunter and Griffen; they get to Rodgers from the outside. Linval Joseph has beaten us up on the inside. At LB, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Chad Greenway make up one of the best LB groups in the NFL. Terence Newman can't run and can be beaten on the outside. Xavier Rhodes is an elite perimeter CB. Andrew Sendejo is a tough-minded, sure tackling S. The 'queens should get Harrison Smith back from injury. Without Smith, they'd have Anthony Harris playing S. If it's Harris playing instead of Smith, look for many big plays to come down the middle of the field. Smith might be the best run stopping S in football. Trae Waynes can be beaten. Captain Munnerlyn is a solid slot CB.

The Packers cannot let Patterson beat us on special teams.

Plainly stated - these teams don't like each other. Minnesota wants to be Green Bay. They look at us with envy. They look at GB in much the same fashion as GB looked at CHI in the 80's. They look at us with disgust. They go straight emo when we win.

Mike Zimmer will pull out all of the stops. He'll have trick plays. He'll have a fake punt or FG at some point. He might try an on-side kick. He'll be aggressive. He's trying to install an attitude within his organization that they have to be able to beat the Packers - much in the same way that Lovie Smith used to talk to his Bears teams. Whether we're on top or not, the North title goes through GB. And, Zimmer knows it.

Much like last year - look for the 'queens to try to get McKinnon loose on the outside as a receiver. They try him deep. Our LB's can't run with him. If they connect, it could be a big play.

I don't expect Montgomery to have as big of a game running the ball, but I do see him having a big game as a receiver. And, if the Packers think that they'll be able to run at the heart of this MN defense, they're silly. They should spread MN out and go to the short passing game. Then, it's Nelson on a double move against Newman for a big play.

The 'queens secondary is a bunch of grabbers. They'll be victimized for at least 3 penalties this week. The Packers must attack with the double move. They'll bite. All game.

The Packers front 4 destroys the 'queens OL.

The key match-up of the game is Morgan Burnett vs Kyle Rudolph. With the exception of 2012, Rudolph has always won this battle. The Packers need Burnett to show up. Or they need to play Micah Hyde on him.

Ladarius Gunter makes the big game changing play this week.

The Packers are in the midst of a special run right now. It won't be spoiled on Christmas Eve.

Packers 20
'queens 16

Happy Holidays.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Take -> Week 15

Greetings, G-Force.

7-6. Above .500. I don’t remember what this feels like. It seems foreign to me. I’m intoxicated. Both literally and figuratively. Complete joy floods the soul. THE PACK IS BACK. Ready for a December run. But, we need help. And, we got none in Week 14. We took care of business. We gained zero ground. It’s nail biting time. It’s scoreboard watching time. We need good fortune. Thankfully, generally speaking, in the regular season, karma has been on our side. If this team gets a shot in January, I believe that we’re capable of a Super run. I really do.

For Christmas, I asked for the Peter Tosh Complete Captured Live album. It’s the only Tosh album that I don’t own on vinyl. In hopes of getting my wish, I’m sending both Santa and the Elf on the Shelf my vibe. I’m listening to it via iTunes as I write this. Also, I’m sipping a Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper. 10.5% ABV. It’s an Imperial Stout that is sweet with a roasted malt backbone. Really smooth. Find it. You want to sip it. And, with Avery’s Czar not being produced post 2016, this will rest well in my bunker for years to come. My gut tells me that it’ll age really well for 3-5 years. I’m hoping a little of the sweetness dies and that some caramel flavors pop.

Here are my quick vibes from the past week:

* Mike McCarthy. Aggressive. Victorious. That’s not a coincidence. In fact, it’s commonplace. When McCarthy attacks, he wins. When McCarthy is an offensive dictator, he’s the best coach in the NFL. Yes, I wrote that. And, I firmly believe that. His problem: he’s inconsistent and he often goes conservative. Stirringly, McCarthy was fierce in his approach against Seattle. Pete Carroll’s defense had no answers. McCarthy was in complete control. In fact, other than when Rodgers missed a wide open Adams down the sidelines near the end of the 2nd Quarter and when Lane Taylor got completely destroyed early in the 3rd Quarter, Pete Carroll was hopeless against the McCarthy led troops. McCarthy’s football team dominated. It’s December. Super teams win in December. McCarthy has his group of men ready to win. They’ve responded. They need to continue to play with intensity or the season will devastatingly end prematurely.

* Aaron Rodgers. Suddenly, he’s in the MVP mix. If he can finish the season the way he’s played the last 3 games, he’ll lead the NFL in TD’s. He’ll boastfully have carried his team to the playoffs. He deserves consideration. Plainly stated, Rodgers is dominating his competition right now.

* JORDY! JORDY! JORDY! Straight ballin’. Owning the red zone. In mental unison with Rodgers. Really fun to watch.

* Randall Cobb. Tough. Full o’ desire. Looking like his 2014 self.

* JEFF JANIS! Loved the call by McCarthy. Showing a massive middle finger to Pete Carroll’s dirty, cheap-shot taking bunch of losers.

* Davante Adams, once again, emerging as a true threat. Is this real? A year ago, I didn’t want him in GB. Today, he’s the bringing the shake that could put the Title back in Titletown, U.S.A.

* McCarthy is using Jordy in the slot. He’s using Ty extensively at RB . He’s owning the mind of Defensive Coordinators. He’s walking away victorious. No reason to think that this doesn’t continue.

* Really liked how McCarthy inserted Spriggs as a TE on run downs. Didn’t like how Spriggs got off of the ball. Spriggs was slow footed. Almost as if he didn’t know the count. Good coaching, poor execution.

* For weeks, I wondered why McCarthy was playing Starks extensively. Clearly, it was because he trusted him. Michael showed that he’s not yet to be fully trusted. It was a crucial 3rd down play. The Packers were on the brink of FG range. Leading 7-3 in a must win contest. And, Christine Michael ran the wrong way. Starks might not have picked up the first down, but he’d have been in the right spot. Rodgers is a cerebral player. He has to trust his players. Michael was not mentally up to speed for the 2nd week in a row. Both times, it cost the Packers.

* Ty Montgomery. Just how good can he be? In my September 11, 2014 blog, I wrote that I thought Ty Montgomery should be someone that the Packers should consider in the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s looking like he’s worthy of a 1st round pick. He’s a talented player who is mentally fit and the first player that makes contact with him never wraps him up. He’s growing into the role. I seriously wonder how good he can be. My Dad compares him to Le’Veon Bell. Can’t say I disagree.

* Christine Michael is quicker than any back that I can recall in Green & Gold. Travis Jervey may have been faster, but he didn’t dart through the hole like Michael. Jervey had straight line speed, a great special teams pit-bull. Michael has pure burst. He sees the hole and he hits it.

* Really enjoyed watching Jared Cook running the slant. Bummed me out that he didn’t get the PI call on the play in which he got injured. There was definite contact. The penalty should have been called. It wasn’t. Poor officiating. Cook has the DB beaten.

* McCarthy saw the mismatch. He attacked the mismatch at CB. McCarthy is in the coaching zone right now. DeShawn Shead couldn’t cover anyone on the field. McCarthy knew this. He went after it. All game. And, yes, the Packers dropped 38 points on the Seagulls.

* TJ Lang. What a gamer! Such a throwback. A dude from the 1960’s version of the Packers. He’d have fit in next to Thurston, Kramer, Curry, Skoronski and Gregg.

* Corey Linsley. Still feels odd watching him getting blown off of the ball.

* Lane Taylor. He’s either really good. Or really bad. When he’s good, he’s creating lanes for Ty to plow in for his first TD. When he’s bad, he’s destroying drives.

* David Bakhtiari & Bryan Bulaga. Is there a better pass blocking duo at Tackle in the NFL? I don’t think so.

* Jared Cook. One big play. Leading 14-3. Third down. Rodgers hits Ty in the flat for a first down. Would’ve been a nice gain. And, then Jared Cook gets his hands on Kam Chancellor and it became a terrific play. Cook moved Chancellor back in a fashion that allowed Montgomery to pick up an additional 12 yards to get the ball inside the 10. On the next play, Rodgers hits Nelson on a TD to make it 21-3. If Richard Rodgers was blocking in that situation, the extra yards wouldn’t have happened.

* I enjoyed watching the Seagulls defense melting down on the sidelines. In each others faces. Confused. Unable to stop McCarthy’s offense.

* Good to see Richard Rodgers soften the blow as he held on for a sublime first down reception on 3rd & 4. The following play was Rodgers to Nelson for a 3 yard TD pass to conclude a 32-yard CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE.

* Montgomery had 12 touches for 84 yards. That's 7 yards a POP! WILD!!!

* Once again, a total treat to watch Christine Michael sell the play action fake. A true pro. So well schooled.

* As I've been saying, this defense doesn't have to be overly dominate. They just have to be able to force a turnover or two a game and they have to win the line of scrimmage. I think we're built for that. We're going to give up big plays. Without Nick Perry, we are going to give up chunks of yards - on occasion - in the run game. But, if we can utilize the DL rotation to keep legs fresh and apply pressure on the QB and if we can take the ball away, we're going to be a contender. We're going to be a team that NO ONE wants to face. We'll be a playoff team. We'll be able to make a serious playoff run.

* Have to give a shout out to Dean Lowry. Not just for the sack, but for his overall activity. Really enjoy the way he gets his hands up to distract passing lanes. He has good length. He's winning with effort. He's winning the leverage battle.

* Good game, Datone Jones. Again, he was really physical in the passing game. Solid pass rush. Has a lot of work to do in the run game though.

* Couple of really awesome plays by Jayrone Elliott. Hope the sack was a confidence booster. Need him to continue to make plays. Didn't like seeing Jimmy Graham eat him up in the run game though.

* High effort game from Kenny Clark. Was a fighter. Was getting a good jump off the ball. With the exception of the play in which he jumped offsides, I really felt like he had good timing off of the ball.

* Thought Daniels and Guion really controlled the line of scrimmage.

* The type of game that earns Micah Hyde a paycheck. If not in GB, somewhere. He was playing well in the slot, he was coming on the blitz, he was dropping as the deep safety, he was stepping into the box, he was covering the TE, he was covering the back out of the backfield AND he was returning punts. Great game from Hyde. Fun to see the game clinching pick as well.

* Knew Damarious Randall had big plays coming. Think there's more, too.

* Felt like Rollins had a pick in his future. He got it. Might be another one over the next three games as well.

* Huge game from Morgan Burnett. The defensive MVP. Dynamite work on Graham. Stepped into the box as an ILB. Looked quick. Playing some of the best football of his career.

* Joe Thomas filled the stat box, but didn't pass the eye test - for what that's worth. Wonder if the Packers should work out Marwin Evans as an ILB in the offseason. He's faster than Joe Thomas. He's likely just as physical. In the brief moments that I've seen him get after the football, I'd think he'd have the instincts for the role, too.

* Christian Ringo! BULLYING Bull Rush! Late to the party, but the play didn't start until he arrived! Forced a fumble as well.

* Have a feeling that Gunter has a pick coming in the next two weeks.

* Can't afford any more missed FG's this year. Need every point.

This week - it's the hated Bears. Yes, at 3-10, the BEARS STILL SUCK. But, admittedly, the Bears have been extremely competitive. In most every game. In fact, in their last three losses, they've had the ball and a chance to win on their last drive of the game. In each game, they were within 40 yards of victory. With temperatures expected to be between -1 & -15 on Sunday - yes, you read that right - the playing field levels out. It comes down to toughness, the line of scrimmage and turnovers.

The Bears have decent talent on offense. Cameron Meredith is showing that he's a worthy developmental WR. He can get over the top and he's not afraid of running crossing routes. Eddie Royal is still a dangerous slot receiver who can beat you deep. Alton Jeffery returns from suspension this week and he remains an elite deep threat. Daniel Braverman is an slot receiver who can move the sticks. Marquess Wilson can beat you on the go-route. Josh Bellamy is a high-effort WR. At RB, Jordan Howard is fast becoming a top-notch, do-it-all RB. Jeremy Langford is a talented RB who can both find the lanes as a RB and catch the ball out of the backfield. Ka'Deem Carey is a nice change-of-pace back. I give Matt Barkley credit. He's been put in a tough position. He's played with composure. He's protected the football. He's moved the ball. He's played within the system. He's put the Bears in position to win games. He's stood in the pocket well and played with confidence. The Bears OL is a weakness. Bobbie Massie and Charles Leno can be beaten around the edge - especially with speed. I'm sure Josh Sitton will be motivated this week, but he's had an average year. Ted Larsen is a bad Guard. He should get destroyed this weekend. Cody Whitehair is a rookie Center who offers great promise.

Defensively, the Bears have played really well. Especially in the front 7. Akiem Hicks has made plays. Pernell McPhee is a legitimate pass rusher. Leonard Floyd has made big plays. Jonathan Bullard has offered great promise as an interior DL. Eddie Goldman has been a high effort interior defender. Willie Young continues to offer length and a pass rush from the outside. Nick Kwiatkoski has been a surprisingly good player at ILB. I thought he'd be too slow, but he's masked that fault with good instincts and understanding. Christian Jones is always around the football. In the secondary, Tracy Porter remains a talented, play-making CB. Cre'von LeBlanc is a gifted slot CB. Outside of that, the Bears secondary is pathetic. It can be had. If the turf allows, it will be had.

On special teams, Deonte Thompson is an under-appreciated kick returner. He's a threat every time the ball is in his hands. On a cold day in which it'll be tough to kick the ball into the end zone on kick-offs, beware of Thompson.

The temperature is a thing. If the weather was going to be in the 20's, I'd be calling for a 3 score Packers victory. But, with cooler temperatures, uncontrollable things occur. Unforeseen mistakes happen. This game will be uncomfortably close.

Look for the Bears to run the ball early and often. They'll want the ball first. They'll pound it at the heart of the Packers defense with the goal of running it more than 40 times. They'll eat up clock between each play. Mostly dropping the play clock under 5-7 seconds. They want to shorten the field. They want to keep Rodgers off of the field. They look to find 3rd & short. They try to pound away with Howard. I expect to see Howard carrying the ball at least 25 times this weekend.

On the contrary, the Packers pick on the Bears via the passing game. Attacking the perimeter. Singling out Bryce Callahan, the Packers go after him. With an abundance of short passes. Even in awful temperatures, Rodgers finds his rhythm.

Montgomery fights the Bears defense and bounces off of tackles. Finds his way into the secondary and busts open a long 40 yard run.

It's late 3rd Quarter. The Packers lead 13-10. And, then Barkley makes his mistake. He overshoots Meredith on a crossing route and it lands in HaHa's lap. The Packers quickly attack. It's Rodgers to Nelson for the TD. A 2-score lead. And, the playoffs are one step closer.

Julius Peppers also makes a big play against his former team.

Packers 23.
Bears 17.

Go Pack Go!


Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Take -> Week 14

Greetings, G-Force.

BACK TO EVEN! A little momentum cooking. Still, in dire need of continuing the win streak if we're going to extend the life of the 2016 Season beyond the regular season. We dug the hole. Now, we have to dig ourselves out. Nonetheless, you have to enjoy the journey to reach your destination. The last two games were excellent indicators that this team still has fight.

It's Stout season. And, while my previous two beers were stouts, I sit down with a Crooked Stave Pure Guava from August of 2015. It's refreshing. It's perfectly carbonated. Much of the fruit has quieted, but it still has a tropical mist to its nose. I listen to MGMT's Oracular Spectacular album. It offers a healthy, uplifting energy. An "electric feel" - of sorts.

Here's my quick vibes from the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. The thought never gets old. Once again, McCarthy was in attack mode. Once again, McCarthy's team walked away victorious. It's noteworthy the McCarthy's teams have a 33-14 record in December and January regular season games. I have great confidence that his teams will continue to be prepared to win games between now and the end of the year. I have confidence that McCarthy will continue to be aggressive in his personnel use. I believe that McCarthy will continue to mix up his packages. The offense won't be stagnant. He'll keep defenses on their toes. He'll win the mind games late in the contest, which will propel the Packers to victory.

* Aaron Rodgers. Outside of the fumbled snap, it was a mostly magical performance from the 2-time MVP. Rodgers was gutty. He was in attack mode. He was smart. He was decisive. He used his legs. He remained patient. He battled through pain in difficult conditions. He stayed within the offense. He took shots deep. He took chances in 1 on 1 coverage. He was the MVP.

* JORDY! JORDY! JORDY! He looked like he was back to me! He got separation deep when the DB slipped. On the final, game-clinching drive, it was vintage JORDY. The drive went 8 plays for 89 yards. Nelson grabbed two balls on the drive for 49 yards. He braced himself for contact on the brilliant catch down the sideline for 21 yards. And, then, on the all-important 3rd & 6 from midfield, he out jumped the Texans star CB, Kareem Jackson, for a 28 yard catch. It was a monstrous performance from Nelson. Loved the emotion he was showing on the field as well. He understands the urgency.

* Randall Cobb. SNOW ANGELS! What a beautiful pass by Rodgers on the TD. Rolling right and whipping it across his body. Cobb smothered himself in contact and held onto the football for the TD. Cobb is playing with great passion right now. He's lethal as a punt returner as well. Fearlessly attacking the oppositions return units.

* It was 7-7. There were just over 3 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter. The Packers were backed up at their own 2. McCarthy gathered his wits. He gave the backfield to Montgomery. Finally! Dude, what were we waiting for? On 3rd & 1 from the 11, Montgomery responded. In epic fashion with a 13 yard run. He's a mismatch. I'm not sure how to defend him. He's too fast for LB's. He's too tough for CB's. He's a fantastic talent. He's quickly becoming a Packers favorite of mine.

* James Starks. 4 carries. 1 yard. Those statistics included a 4 yard gain, in which a decisive, quick-footed runner would've gained at least 7 and possibly 12. He had room to run. He didn't take advantage. Barring injury, I'll be disappointed if he has 4 carries in a game again this year. We are so much better with him on the sidelines.

* Christine Michael. On the contrary to Starks, the stats don't tell the story. He looked quick. He has a burst. He's lining up 8 yards off the line of scrimmage. He has a nice zip to his step. I also really enjoy the way he sells the play fake. He's well schooled. He has a big game in his future. It appeared to me that he's clearly still learning the offense though. It looked like he didn't understand the audible on the 3rd Quarter hand-off to him. He caught Rodgers' attention, in advance, so there was no harm, but it was evident that the didn't know the adjustment. For my eye, Michael didn't have room to run when the ball was in his hands.

* Montgomery touched the ball 8 times. He totaled 56 yards. That's 7 yards per touch. Fantastic work.

* RIP! RIP! RIP! I HOPE HE HAS A LONG CAREER IN GB! HUGE FAN! Is there anyone tougher than him in the NFL? He seeks contact. He wins that battle every time, it seems. Wish he could play ILB.

* When Jared Cook catches the ball, it seems like it's a first down nearly every time. Hope he continues to be utilized more and more in the offense. Would like to see him targeting roughly twice as much as he is right now.

* Davante Adams didn't have his best game. Didn't seem like he gave maximum effort. Tough footing, but it didn't appear as though he was trying to get in and out of his cuts.

* Definitely not Lane Taylor's best game. Need more from him as we try to fortify a minimal semblance of a run game over the last month of the year.

* Jason Spriggs was a battler. Guard might end up being his position.

* When your defense is mediocre, ball control is one opportunity that you have to limit possessions for the opposition. Even if it comes at the expense of operating out of the no-huddle offense.

* I often talk about the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. It's the knock-out punch. Wayne Larrivee's "dagger." But, for my eye, the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE can just be a time eating drive. It doesn't have to be a drive that nets points. Nonetheless, the Packers offense has delivered that CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE two weeks in a row.

* Clay Matthews is hurt. It's clear that his left shoulder cannot handle contact. He's approaching blockers in a fashion in which he doesn't want contact to the left shoulder. When rushing, he needs to attack as a ROLB. That way - the can approach the edge without the fear of getting a physical shove to the shoulder. I still believe he's best utilized at ILB. Generally speaking, he'd see the contact coming at him as well. I appreciate his courage. And, his mere presence is a difference maker. But, it's definitely banged up.

* Speaking of injuries, the Nick Perry hand situation could be devastating. It'll be tough for the Packers to finish the season on a 6-game winning streak without a healthy Nick Perry. His injury worries me.

* Julius Peppers. What a gamer! Again, the dude just makes plays. In fun fashion. He has a strip sack coming again. It'll be a game changer. Maybe not this week, but it's coming soon.

* Dean Lowry with the monster performance!

* The Packers need Jayrone Elliott to produce. They need him flying around the edge and creating a big play. I like how he has been dropping in coverage, but he's needed as a pass rusher right now.

* Really solid game from Datone Jones. Maybe his best game of the year. He was physical at the edge. He was pursuant all game.

* Micah Hyde was a diamond in the secondary. Treat to see him cover last week. He was slapping wrists and defending well.

* Jake Ryan played with great activity. Interesting positive attribute: Ryan looks like he runs with the same speed on a slow track as he does on a fast track. A true mudder.

* Didn't like how Morgan Burnett and Joe Thomas were getting sucked in on running plays. Way too many big runs. Packers were vulnerable.

* With that said, I wish the Packers would play with Burnett and Clay at ILB on a handful of plays each week.

* Ha Ha has superstar potential. He has another big play coming.

* Q-Rollins & Gunter teaming up to cause the forced fumble! Big way to start the game!

* This defense won't be dominant. But, if this defense can cause a turnover or two a game and if it can apply pressure on the QB in the same fashion that it has over the last two weeks, we're going to be tough to beat. Especially, if the offense continues to utilize the quick-passing game.

* Crucial play of the game: Packers leading 14-7. Houston crosses over to Packers territory. Less than 11 minutes left. Ryan comes on the inside blitz. He breaks through. He forces Osweiler to flip to Blue. Guion reads it and buries Blue for a 9 yard loss. I pumped my fist so hard that I thought I was going to have the same AC joint injury that Clay has and I yelled so loud that I felt as though I injured a vocal chord. Intense play!

* 12 plays. 98 yards. Glorious season-saving drive.

* I had high hopes for Mike Pennel. Now, I doubt he ever plays for Green Bay again.

* Morgan Burnett. Our season might hinge on his ability to cover the TE. With Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolph and Eric Ebron waiting in the wings; the Packers are going to need premium TE coverage skills. Burnett is often given that task. That worries me. I wish that was Micah Hyde's responsibility.

This week - it's the hated Seagulls from Seattle. In a near must win for the Packers. Even with a loss, both the Wild Card and the Division are potentially within reach, but I don't want to face those odds. Let's win out and we'll be in. Each game is vital. Neither Tampa nor Detroit did us any favors last week as both came away with tough road wins, so we have to take matters into our own hands. And, that requires winning out. 10-6 will make the playoffs.

Seattle comes to Lambeau off of one of their best performances of the year. They dropped 40 on Carolina. They have talented playmakers on offense. Doug Baldwin is an underrated, premier WR in the NFL. He's physical. He's dangerous. He catches everything. He's tough minded. Jermaine Kearse is overly talented, but the guy makes plays. Almost every week. Jimmy Graham is healthy and fitting into the Seattle offense in a scary fashion. He and Russell Wilson have found comfort with one another. Tyler Lockett is a terrific slot WR who can also line up on the perimeter and win with speed. Paul Richardson has shown flashes of becoming an emerging threat at WR. Thomas Rawls is a dangerous do-it-all back. Wilson is healthy and he's playing at an MVP level. He's seeing the field. He's not making mistakes. He's mobile. He's an All-Pro talent at QB. The Seagulls OL is their liability. The Packers must dominate the line of scrimmage. I believe they will.

Seattle plays a lot of 4-2-5 defensively. They do a great job of rotating their front 4. Michael Bennett often plays on the outside on early downs and rotates to the inside on pass downs. Bennett will give Spriggs and Taylor all-kinds of problems. Tony McDaniel and Ahtyba Rubin are solid run-stopping DT's. Cliff Avril can still attack the QB. Off the bench, Frank Clark and Cassius Marsh add speed as edge rushers. Jared Reed is a talented rookie DT as well. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright are as good of a tandem as their as at LB. Brock Coyle adds high-effort to the depth of their defense. Richard Sherman is elite. So is Kam Chancellor. The rest of the secondary has the attitude and the swagger, but they aren't as talented. The Seagulls will be without Earl Thomas. So, expect the Packers to attack Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead, and Steven Terrell. Look for the Packers to utilize the quick hitting attack. Early and often.

I pray that Lockett doesn't destroy us on special teams. He concerns me. Greatly.

I look for the Packers to utilize Montgomery. Coming out with Jordy and Cobb in the slot. Adams and Cook on the perimeter. The Packers will try to get Cook matched up 1 v 1 against Wright on the outside. They'll try to get Nelson matched up against someone not named Richard Sherman. If Sherman is matched up against Nelson in the slot, Rodgers will lick his chops and Adams will get 10+ targets. It's a match-up league. Rodgers will see the match-ups, he'll attack the edges.

The Packers DL dominates the line of scrimmage early. Guion and Daniels make their impact felt. They swallow Rawls.

Eventually, Russell Wilson gets loose. He connects with Graham and Baldwin for big plays. He quiets the crowd. Seattle grabs a 3rd Quarter lead.

But, the Packers grab momentum. Michael bursts to the second line of the Seattle defense. Adams grabs a back-shoulder grab. Rodgers connects with Cook on a deep ball. The Packers defense forces a turnover. Crosby seals it with a late FG.

It'll be a fierce dog fight. From the start. I've been wearing my GET LOUD LAMBEAU t-shirt all week. I'd like to hear Lambeau rockin'. Don't be afraid to stand up and make some noise either. We need to create a false start or two. We need to force them to burn timeouts early in the 1st & 3rd Quarters. The Lambeau faithful need to be lively for 60 minutes. We can't afford a 3rd Quarter energy let down. Prepare to celebrate!

Packers 23.
Seattle 20.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Take -> Week 13

Greetings, G-Force.

Life is better when the Green Bay Packers win. With the victory, positivity was restored amongst the Packers fan base. Grasping onto hope that Mike McCarthy's team can, once again, play it's best football in December. And, confident that if the Packers play with the form that they played with on Monday Night, we'll be back to .500 after a Sunday at Lambeau.

To celebrate the victory, I write with a Crooked Stave L'Brett d'Cherry from September 2015. Robustly sour. Heavy Cherry. A mouth full o' Brett yeast. Golden Sour. Golden Flavor. Aging perfectly. I'm listening to the Michael Franti & Spearhead show from Jazz Fest in 2008. Seriously, one of the best shows I've ever seen in my life. Total dance party. It was raining NOLA-style. Total swamp feel. He jammed throughout. I'm super stoked to see Franti two times next weekend.

Here are my quick vibes from the last week:

* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. McCarthy had his foot on the gas pedal. He wasn't going to leave anything on the table. He was the dictator. He determined the tempo of the game. He attacked the Eagles defense with quick hits. When the Packers offense plays with that tempo, I'm not sure that there's a defense in the NFL that can defend us.

* Yo, HaHa! ROCK WITH ME! That pick was a game changer. And, the Packers defense was desperate for a turnover. Often, turnovers can come in abundance. I have a feeling that we have a couple of turnovers coming this week as well.

* After the HaHa pick, I was calling for a deep shot. McCarthy did so. I was hoping he'd look for Cook. Instead, he went to Adams. Adams found magic down the sidelines.

* Davante Adams! Playing with shake to the beat of "A Little Bit A Riddim make the world go round."

* Rodgers was in MVP form. Playing with magic. Focused. In rhythm. Cerebral. Smartest player on the field. Concentrating on moving the sticks. When that's Aaron Rodgers, we are tough to beat.

* Jordy showed flashes. He's still not himself on the deep ball, but the footwork was terrific down the sidelines.

* Randall Cobb running with conviction is a scintillating sight.

* I've been critical of Jason Spriggs previously. He held his own. Played well. Still needs to get stronger. But, he played well. Moved his feet well. Like his athleticism.

* Bulaga and Bakhtiari. Hats off. Total studs at Tackle. Glad they're locked up. Need them healthy.

* It was only 1 carry. It was only 4 yards. But, I was really encouraged by Christine Michael's movement. Could be a really nice dimension to this offense. If McCarthy allows it.

* Loved the way McCarthy called the clinching drive. He didn't let up. He played to win. He called safe plays. He trusted his players to make plays. Rodgers did. So, did Jordy. It was a thing of beauty.

* Offensively, we weren't perfect though. There's no reason for James Starks to carry the ball 17 times. Sure, Starks picked up a couple of nice first downs, but I view that as being a product of the system, not a product of Starks' play making abilities. I'm antsy to see more of Michael. And, man, I don't get why Montgomery isn't catching swing passes and curl routes across the field out of the backfield? That should be happening a minimum of 5 times per game. It should be noted that I'm not a Starks hater, but man, we need better than 2.4 yards per carry out of the running game. And, throw in this, Starks had three carries that added up to 22 yards. So, on his 14 other carries, he grabbed a total of 19 yards. That's 1.36 yards per carry. That's not going to scare anyone. With Michael and Montgomery getting those touches, I promise that those statistics will improve. And, in turn, the offense will be even more dynamic.

* Also, want to see comedy? Watch Richard Rodgers block on Starks' 8 yard carry on 3rd & 1 with less than a minute in the 1st Quarter. He doesn't touch a soul. Literally. I have no idea what he was thinking. Also, watch Richard Rodgers on Aaron Rodgers' first down scramble on the first 3rd & 1 of the game. If he had any foresight to throw a block, Aaron Rodgers would've picked up another 5-7 yards easily.

* Remember when Corey Linsley played like the strongest guy on the field? What happened to those days?

* Julius Peppers continues to make plays. Looks fresh. Playing with intensity!

* This defense is so much better with CM3 at ILB. He adds speed. He brings an inside blitz dimension. He makes more plays at ILB than he does at OLB. He shows his instincts. He gets to read and react. His talents are on display. He makes a huge impact as an ILB. I hope he stays there. In fact, a piece of me would like to see Burnett and CM3 as the ILB's with Brice and HaHa at Safety. It'd add more speed to the defense.

* Another nice game for Nick Perry. He's earning coin.

* Mike Daniels was a difference maker.

* Really liked Letroy Guion's play.

* Again, Kenny Clark showed push in the run game. He even powered through for a bit of a pass rush.

* Damarious Randall may have shown terrible tackling skills, but I loved the way that he attacked the slant. I see big plays in his future.

* Liked to see Q-Rollins get his hands on a football. Expecting a big play from him soon.

* Another up-and-down game for Gunter.

* Big play: 17-10. 3rd Quarter. Eagles driving. Clay showing blitz from the inside. Instead he drops and Capers sends Q-Rollins and Hyde. The Packers get pressure from the backside with Hyde and Perry. They hold to a FG. It was a crucial play in the game. Good call by Capers, but if Dom Capers thinks he can win this week with Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas starting at ILB, he's a fool. Keep Matthews at ILB.

* Jayrone Elliott was given an opportunity on defense. He didn't come through. I was excited to see if he could perform. Left disappointed. Was really hoping that he could add an outside rush with Clay playing ILB.

* Jeff Janis continues to disappoint on special teams.

* Marwin Evans continues to impress on special teams.

* RIP! RIP! RIP! Total fan.

* Why is Demetri Goodson still eating up a roster spot? Isn't he done for the year?

* Liked to see Josh Hawkins making a special teams play.

* Felt like Datone Jones added a physical push.

* Good punt, Jacob Schum.

* Someday - Mike McCarthy will learn that his defense can't get off the field at the end of the half and he won't use a timeout to help the opposition.

* The Packers played loose. They were having fun. There was continuity. It was a joy to watch. Now, think of this. Dallas travels to MN on Thursday night. Let's get a Dallas victory. Detroit travels to New Orleans on Sunday afternoon. Let's do this, Drew! With a Packers win, we're one game out.

This week - it's the Texans. In another must win. At Lambeau Field. Frankly, if the Packers can't win this game, we don't deserve to hold out hope. We need Lambeau rockin'. We need Lambeau ready to bring us a victory. Stand up, G-Force! Off yur' ass! On yur' feet! Let's make some noise!!!

The Texans have solid weapons on offense. DeAndre Hopkins is a weapon on the outside. He's as talented as it gets at WR. Will Fuller is rich with athletic gifts. Jaelen Strong is a physical mismatch at WR. Braxton Miller is an athletic gem as a slot WR. CJ Fiedorowicz is a big bodied TE who blocks well, sits in the zone and has great hands. Lamar Miller is a speed back who adds a little shake and a lot of power. But, the Texans have Brock Osweiler at QB. And, he's awful. He plays small. He holds on the ball too long. And, he doesn't see the field. Also, he's mistake prone. Additionally, the Texans OL can be abused. I fully expect the Packers front 4 to dominate the Texans OL.

The Texans are without JJ Watt. And, it shows. Jadeveon Clowney is a decent player, but he hasn't lived up to the billing. I believe that he'll be shut down. Whitney Mercilus is a good pass rusher, but when's he asked to cover, he struggles. Vince Wilfork is still a tough run stopper. Antonio Smith brings energy to the DL. Brian Cushing is tough as nails and even after the injuries, he can play. Benardrick McKinney is an over achiever. I believe the secondary for the Texans can be exposed. They lack depth. They don't tackle well. I'd like to see the Packers spread them out. I'd like to see some shots deep down the sidelines. The Texans don't match up well with the Packers on the outside.

I wanted the Packers to draft Tyler Ervin last year as a scat back and a returner. He's returning kicks for the Texans. He's dangerous.

I'm hoping that Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews are fit to go. Both in playmaking positions. In the spotlight. At the core of the team. Ready to dominate. Saviors to the 2016 season.

Rodgers finds his rhythm. He attacks the secondary with quick hits. He finds Cobb early and often. Cobb moves sticks. He looks to match Nelson on Jonathan Joseph. Nelson stiff arms Joseph to the turf.

I have an odd feeling that Geronimo Allison makes a big play this week. Don't ask me why. But, I feel it.

Osweiler struggles early. He commits two turnovers. Randall makes a pick and has a nice return.

But, with Osweiler, you have to play 60 minutes. He gets hot late in the 3rd and leads a Houston comeback. The crowd gets antsy. Rodgers leads a late scoring drive.

Party up, G-Force!

Packers 30
Texans 23

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.