James Starks, good to meet you! What a thrill! While I'm not ready to call him the savior, it was spectacular to see him not only FALLING FORWARD, but man, he was CARRYING Patrick Willis for a yard or two EVERY SINGLE TIME! On multiple occasions, he stepped out of a Takeo Spikes tackle. Once, he even bounced off of Spikes in a full-out collision. Undoubtedly, this was cause for excitement. And, if you're like me, you probably put in a claim for him on the Fantasy Football waiver wire. James Starks gives reason for excitement. Cause for optimism. 18 carries for more than 4.1 yards per carry & nothing was longer than 16 yards. What a treat to see a back seeking contact. He reminded me of a cross between Ryan Grant & Dorsey Levens. His strides were like Grant, while he lowered his shoulder like Levens. One cut and go, baby. Hitting the hole in stride as his mission. Welcome aboard, James Starks. You provided the spark!
Yes, on Sunday, the Packers were perfect on 3rd & 1, but I left Sunday's game yearning to see James "the Spark Plug" Starks carrying the ball in a short yardage situation. His running style seems to cater to short yardage situations.
Speaking of 3rd & 1, I enjoyed the 3-FB set that McCarthy unveiled this weekend. Look for the play-action out of that set in the next couple of weeks. The ball will likely go to AQ81 down the seam. Expecting big results.
After the impressive 34-16 victory, the Packers continued to control their own destiny with respect to a 1st round bye. Win out & we get a bye to rest & wait for our opponent. To me, it looks like we could use a week of rest. Especially Chad Clifton. While, I know that he sustained a concussion at some point Sunday, I've felt that the last two weeks Clifton has struggled mightily.
Aaron Rodgers has undoubtedly thrown his name in a short list of MVP candidates along with Tom Brady (the clear front runner) and Matt Ryan. Rodgers was brilliant against the 49ers post his mistake when he missed a wide open Quickie in the end zone in the 1st Quarter. It was a great play call. With fine design. Double-D was open. Rodgers overthrew him. No worries, A-Rodge. You were a stallion on Sunday. Making the reads. Using the drop down. Connecting with 8 receivers. Rodgers was sensational. He was having fun & clearly, it was a treat for him to see the Spark Plug providing a running game.
Donald Driver's TD was the play of the year thus far. Good to see Double-D get busy.
Once again, BJ Raji was a dominant force. Loved his sack. But, man, the guy is slippery. Finds his way into the backfield & disrupts the action most plays. It'd be a shame if he doesn't make the Pro Bowl.
Presently, Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings is the most lethal combination in the National Football League.
Props to Cullen Jenkins & Frank Zombo. After what I thought was their worst game at Atlanta, I felt both played their best game of the year. Sad to see Jenkins hurt again, but prior to the injury, Jenkins was a dominant force. 2 much needed sacks. The "Z-Man" also chipped in with a sack & 3 tackles. Moreover, I felt the "Z-Man" was strong at the point of attack. I liked his coverage. He was active. It'd be great to see him get 4 more sacks over the last 4 weeks and to finish with 8 for the year. After all, he's dealing with single coverage.
Erik Walden has made a difference on special teams. He made a great special teams tackle on Ted Ginn.
I also thought Josh Gordy was active on special teams.
Korey Hall's injury is the only reason Quinn Johnson will be active for the rest of the year. Johnson continually makes mental errors offensively. He, too, had a nice special teams tackle, but this guy can't be very intelligent. Rodgers was clearly frustrated with Quinn Johnson's inability to know the offense & where he was supposed to line up.
Well done, John Kuhn. Hard running in short yardage situations. Played with heart. And Fight.
Let me continue the man-crush. Watching Starks return the short kickoffs was totally buzzworthy. He was elusive. Almost vicious as he picked his legs up. A total upgrade.
Sammy Swagga brings flava to the kickoff game. Man, he's fast to the corner. Would be great to see him hit a hole up the gut.
Wish both Sammy Swagga & T-Mon would have picked off passes that hit them in the hands.
Mad props to Nintendo Nick for getting dirty on the pick. Hopefully, that play will be a momentum builder for him. He gets picks in bunches. That play might have been the start of something special.
Good to see Jordy Nelson picking up a 1st down.
Tom Crabtree deserves a mention. Solid blocking. Almost another OL at times. Wondering if he might be a receiving option in the near future. Possibly next week at NE.
Dear Claymaker & Sir Charles, don't get frustrated. The big plays are coming. Chuckie-Wood, remember you're going back to Detroit. And we all know that you own the state of Michigan. You'll be dancing this weekend. Clay, the sacks are coming. But, remember, mate, you're playing the run with excellent style & bro, you led the team with 6 solo tackles. Keep on keepin' on, mate. The sacks are coming.
TJ Lang got blown up on the missed 29-yard FG. Unacceptable.
James Jones was a total disappointment. Showed alligator arms on a deep ball down the left sideline. Thought he also should have made a play on the ball when the ball hit Nate Clements in the head. I also thought he ran a 2nd down route a 1/2 yard short of the 1st down. Thankfully, John Kuhn bailed him out with a 2nd effort on 3rd down to get the 1st down. Nonetheless, James, pay attention to the details. And give us full effort. Every play. Every week.
I loved the 1929 kits. Would love to see them pull it off again. Represented well. And in style.
After 12 games, the Packers have forced 22 turnovers and we've accumulated 35 sacks. I still reckon that the Packers will need to force a minimum of 30 turnovers to run the table & earn the 1st round bye.
The Detroit Lions. At 2-10. With a 3rd string QB. Without a starting DE & a starting CB. Playoff teams don't lose this game. We won't. It'll be convincing. It'll be fun. As long as we rush the passer. We all know Suh. Guy is a stud. Sucks that he's in our division. Will be interesting to see Sitton battle him again. Corey Williams can apply pressure, but I imagine Colledge can handle him. But, the guy that scares me the most is Cliff Avril. Avril can flat out pressure the QB. It'll be a great test for Bulaga. We'll be able to see Bulaga's progress this week. Avril has 7 sacks & every time I've watched Avril play, he's applying immense pressure. The loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch hurts the Lions a lot. Turk McBride can be had. I expect to see Starks start his runs to the ride followed by a wicked cut back to the left. Holes will be found at the expense of McBride & Williams. Other than Louis Delmas & Julian Peterson, I don't respect anyone in the LB core & the secondary of the Lions. They can be buried. We'll score points. In abundance.
Offensively, the Lions don't offer much with Stanton. Yes, Calvin Johnson is a stud. But, T-Mon matches up with him perfectly. I really like Jahvid Best, but he's not getting loose against us. At this stage of his career, Nate Burleson is not a #2 WR. Sammy Swagga can handle him. In fact, Sammy will probably pick off a little comeback route this week. Tony Scheffler matches up well against our LB's, so I'd put Sir Charles on him. Brandon Pettigrew has been a machine this year. I'd instruct Desmond Bishop & AJ Hawk to be sitting on the curl ALL DAY. I'd challenge Pettigrew to run the seams. Pettigrew runs a solid down & out. He's talented on the curl - where he boxes out the defender. JUMP THE CURL! If so, we'll get a pick. It's all timing. If we do our homework, we'll pick off this pass. I'd have Peprah double Pettigrew on 2nd & long as that's when they typically come to this play. Keep Nintendo Nick over the top against Calvin Johnson.
Three rules for this game:
1.) Protect our Pro Bowl QB.
2.) One turnover or less.
3.) Don't let Stefan Logan beat us on special teams.
If this happens, the Packers win a blowout. While the Lions have been extremely competitive all season, I don't envision a contest this week. See, we are the Green Bay Packers. We have a superstar QB. We have a solid coach who has compiled a tremendous staff. We have playmakers on defense. Many of them. And soon, those playmakers are going to make plays in bunches. It's likely that'll happen against the Lions.
Lets go for the dagger early. 1st drive. 3 WR. 1 TE. B-Jack in the backfield. Throw the screen. The Lions will be aggressive up front. It'll get a first down. On our initial 2nd down, I'd like to see Starks on the field. I-Form. Crabtree at TE. Two WR. Jennings lined up against Chris Houston. Everyone in the building will think a running play. I want play-action. Jennings on the back-yard style down, out & around. Jennings gives a little SHAKE with his hips. Curls it up-field. It'll be 65 yards & a Packer touchdown.
Force the Lions to become predictable. Most of the routes will be under 10 yards & then they'll try us with Calvin Johnson. I expect a pick-6 from our secondary.
The Packers grab a 17-3 lead & then it's the Spark Plug. Starks gets to the 2nd level of the Lions defense. It'll be interesting to see him in the open field.
We must be ultra-focused early. We should be prepared to dominate. Win the line of scrimmage early. The Lions will get frustrated as we grab a three score lead in the 2nd Quarter as we score on 4 of our first 5 possessions. When we snatch this lead, be careful of falling into silly tactics by the Detroit defense. They might try to scuffle. They might be a bit dirty. But, be mature. Don't do anything stupid that might jeopardize the ability to play in the following week. Laugh it off. Let's win this one early. Then lets rest.
Green Bay 41. Detroit 13.
I must admit excitement that I plan on cheering for the Old Dirty Bastard. Good ol' #4 could do the Packers a HUGE favor by winning the next two weekends. If my math is correct, a Packers victory officially eliminates the Viqueens from post season contention. So, let's cheer for the Viqueens to grab the highly unenviable 18th pick of the NFL Draft. Hell, for old times sake, I want to offer a good old school country yell: Come On, Brett!
Final note to Ras Al. I was sorry to read that you went on the IR. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Play with confidence. Play with focus. Play with certainty. We're the better team. Do what we are supposed to do. Go Pack!