Nintendo Nick! Just playin', baby! And an ecstasy filled sigh of relief permeated thru America's most hallowed sports theater.
If Jim Miller, Brian Griese or Kyle Orton were the Bears QB last weekend, the Packers would have been watching the playoffs at home. Thank you, Ray Nutler. You saved our season. Down 3-0 & the Bears nearing the red zone, I was worried as the game was mid-way thru the 3rd Quarter. And then Nutler found Charlie Peprah wide open in the end zone. Momentum changed. And the Lambeau faithful were gloriously able to belt out the "Bears still suck" as they exited football's palace in the season finale. Cheers, Nutler!
The Packers beat the Bears in a game that was won via special teams & defense. I'd have never guessed it. But, yes, last Sunday, our defense & special teams beat the Bears defense & special teams.
Thank you, Dom Capers. You were a savior! In a game that determined our playoff fate, our defense was stellar! The Bears were confused and unable to come up with an offensive solution.
Ted Thompson never seizes to amaze. Let's consider his last week. During the Bears game, we had 6 sacks. 3.5 of the 6 sacks were by a player that wasn't even on the roster at the beginning of the year. Erik Walden was credited with 3 sacks (originally, it was registered as 2) and Jarius Wynn had a 1/2 of a sack. Making matters even more sublime for Thompson was that Howard Green was originally credited with one of the Walden sacks. It should be reiterated that Green did not play with us until late October. Then, this week, he's locked up Desmond Bishop & Brett Goode. With Ted Thompson at the helm, the Packers will be competitive. Every year.
4 more years of watching Desmond Bishop rub the belly & tap the head! OH BABY!
This offense cannot continue to make lackadaisical mistakes. A lack of focus. Lazy. I thought the offense started the game with a great tempo. A smooth rhythm. Then came a series of nearly colossal mistakes. And then B-Jack dropped the ball on third down. The following possession, we're moving near the 30 & Driver fumbles. In the 2nd Quarter, Jennings drops the ball on what would have been a TD. On the following play, James Jones drops a 1st down pass.
Let's hope that '1 yard to go' isn't the death of us. Why don't we put Kuhn at Tailback in the I-form? "Use him like Peyton Hillis!" This is unquestionably McCarthy's kryptonite. He needs to figure this out. Immediately. Either way - he's confused & this '1 yard to go' scenario is in his head.
Great to see Erik Walden win the Defensive Player of the Week award! 11 tackles (I heard a rumor that this was going to be increased to 16!). 3 sacks. Great pursuit of Nutler. Huge in victory. With that said, to me, he looked like a liability on run downs. It's certainly something to note as we enter the playoffs.
We get Cullen Jenkins back this week!
Great to see Sir Charles come up with another big play! He was in control of the game for a couple of series. Single handedly, he was dominating the Bears offense.
CM3 getting to the QB.
Let me reiterate, Desmond Bishop is locked up!
And Nintendo Nick is sealing the deal!
Two weeks in a row - it's Donald Lee in the end zone.
When in rhythm, there is no better QB/WR tandem than Rodgers to Jennings.
James Starks might be the real deal. Need to see more of him. He was absolutely dangerous on the dump off. He ran thru Urlacher. And every time that he is tackled, he is falling forward. Every time. He's impressive. Wish he'd be our go-to back.
Tim Masthay was an MVP of the game. He's another Ted Thompson gem. Since the 1st Bears game, Masthay has been excellent.
Matt Wilhelm did a great job leading T-Mon's path on the punt return.
AJ Hawk consistently playing with a fierce nature. The most physical he's been in a Packer uniform. 2010 has been a solid year for AJ Hawk.
Charlie Peprah might have saved the Packers season. The unlikeliest of heroes.
Good to see Driver getting loose on 3rd down.
Quinn Johnson was beating Urlacher up early in the game. And then we stopped running the ball. Should have run I-Form with Johnson leading Starks all game.
While Bulaga struggled with 4 penalties, at times, I thought he was dominant. The Colledge/Wells combo scares me. On the 3rd & goal in which Rodgers got sacked by Tommie Harris. Harris was on the ground & Colledge didn't keep him there. Horrible protection.
Defensively, we finished the season with 47 sacks & 32 turnovers.
Sooner or later, it all gets real. We'll that time is now! Win & I'm heading to Atlanta to meet the Packers! Let's do this! Prior to the season, my head said it'd be a Falcons vs Steelers Super Bowl. My heart said it'd be a Packers vs Steelers Super Bowl. Let's hope my heart wins out.
First, we must take care of the Philadelphia Eagles. Frankly, playing the Eagles in Philly is what I'd consider the most difficult task on the road to Dallas. It's an intimidating place to play. The Eagles have a number of offensive weapons. And, at times, Michael Vick has been a thorn in the side of the Packers organization. However, it should be stated that if memory serves me correct, the Packers are 3-1 in games in which we've played Vick. We beat him in the '02 opener. Lost to him in the '02 playoffs. We beat him in Atlanta in '05. And then we beat him earlier this year as our defense stopped him late!
The Eagles secondary is decimated with injury. The game plan should be simple: Attack Dmitri Patterson, Joselio Hanson & Trevard Lindley with quick hitters. Short puma routes to Jennings. Back shoulder passes to Jones. And on a 2nd & 2 play, it's Kuhn lined up in pro-set. Crabtree in motion. It's play-action to Jordy Nelson on a deep ball. 55 yards & a Packers TD.
Attack Patterson, Hanson & Lindley. These guys can't cover ANY of our WR's.
Kurt Coleman is a rookie from Ohio State. 7th round pick. He's showed signs of progress. A good tackler against the run. He struggles in coverage. He'll be exposed on the deep ball as well.
Asante Samuel & Quintin Mikell scare me. Samuel is a pick-6 threat every week. Mikell will come on the blitz, he'll stop the run, and he's good in coverage.
Jamar Chaney is also a 7th round pick. Guy has developed into a budding star in the middle of the Philadelphia defense. He attacks in a manner similar to Bishop.
Philadelphia's defense has attitude. They come after you with a blitzing mentality. Similar to us. They'll be aggressive. Juqua Parker & Trent Cole possess an interesting speed & power mix. They'll present a problem for our tackles. We'll need to keep Crabtree in to block. We'll also need to keep B-Jack to chip as well.
I believe that the Packers can have some success running it right at the teeth of the Philly defense. If we attempt to run outside, I'd expect trouble. Philly's defense is quick. But, I believe that we'll find success with Starks on the quick cut-back.
Offensively, it's no secret. Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin & LeSean McCoy are capable of scoring a TD every time they touch the ball. We must stay disciplined.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Clay Matthews rush from the right side of the defense - at times - this week. We need to force Vick to his right. Occasionally lining Clay up on the right side of the defense would certainly present confusion for the Eagles. We'd blitz Woodson from Vick's blindside. Walden would be a spy. It should be noted that Walden was often coming on a delayed blitz last weekend. Additionally, Jenkins could line up as LDE on passing downs.
Andy Reid will have his team prepared. Mike McCarthy has assured the nation during his post-game press conference that he'd have his team ready for Philadelphia. Therefore, expect a consistent & balanced attack. Maybe I'm crazy, but I anticipate 10-12 carries for Starks. Possibly the same for B-Jack. And then, Rodgers to Jennings via play-action will win us this game. Attack Patterson.
I'd like to see the TE screen to Donald Lee again this week. The Eagles will be in heavy pursuit. This play could lead to an easy 12-15 yard gain.
Our defense has played emphatically this year, however it's hard to expect them to hold the Eagles below 23 points. So, we must be prepared to score in abundance.
We're an elite passing team in this league & this week we show it. Aaron Rodgers needs this victory. If he hasn't already, it'll quiet any skeptics that say he can't win the big game. I expect him to be efficient. I expect him to be accurate. I expect him to be in control. Rodgers throws for 330 and 3 TD's. Jennings gets busy for 120 yards. Kuhn finds the end zone.
Sure, McCoy gets his 130 total yards. And Vick will get into our secondary. But, Sammy Swagga & T-Mon are good match-ups for DeSean & Maclin. I think AJ & Bishop can neutralize Celek. Sir Charles can slow down Avant.
With temperatures in the mid-to-high 20's & 0% chance of precipitation, it'll be a shoot-out. High powered offenses frustrating aggressive defenses with big plays. With every score, the opposition has an answer. Rodgers & McCarthy beat the 4-point demon.
Packers 34. Eagles 30.
Attack Patterson, Hanson & Lindley. Points will come in abundance. Be patiently aggressive on defense. Stay in your lane. Win with a physical mentality.
The Destination is Dallas, but first, we must take care of Philly. One game at a time.
Go Pack Go!