5-0. With a date at Lambeau to move to 6-0. Fairly epic. It's never too early to start thinking about the playoffs. In no way does a win this weekend guarantee a playoff berth, but needless to say, a 6-0 start would put the Packers in prime spot. Throw in a 5-0 record in the NFC along with the Eagles, Bears, Giants, Cowboys, and Falcons struggles and a playoff berth is within sight. Granted, as the defending Super Bowl Champions, we expect more out of this season than a playoff berth, but the only way to repeat is to qualify for the playoffs. One step at a time and the playoffs are the first step.
A few takeaways from the beauty of a victory at Atlanta:
* Aaron Rodgers. Put us on your back, young man. Carry us, mate. On the move. In the pocket. He was lethal. Unstoppable. Connecting with 12 receivers. Sublime play. After 5 weeks, Rodgers is unquestionably the leagues MVP.
* Props to Mike McCarthy. Even with the shuffling of the OL after Clifton's injury, McCarthy stuck with the game plan. He stayed aggressive. He trusted his players. He trusted his staff. And he came away victorious because of it.
* Cheers to Ted Thompson. In past years, this would have been a loss. But, finally, it appears we have youth, athleticism, strength and most importantly, DEPTH along the OL. While it was totally sad to see Nintendo Nick hit IR for the year this past week, the move was inevitable. What excited me about the transaction was the promotion of Ray Dominguez. Kid has potential. He has the size. He has the athleticism to make it in this league.
* Mason Crosby from Wonderland! Arguably the play of the game.
* Huge ups to Marshall Newhouse. Keep it up, Marshall, and we'll categorize you in the same class as Bruce Wilkerson.
* Greg Jennings' TD was a thing of beauty. Watching him dance down the sidelines was a total treat.
* James Jones getting deep and beating the safeties. What was so sweet about the play was that the Falcons loaded up on Sherrod's side. Sherrod held the point of attack, while allowed Jones to be matched up with a safety. Word up!
* It was telling that on the crucial game-sealing drive, Randall Cobb was on the field instead of Double-D. Was this the changing of the guard? Operating out of the slot, Cobb gained 16 on 2nd and 18.
* I'm not going to make a big deal out of J-Mike's drops. He knows he's better than that. He will be better than that in the future.
* Nor am I going to make a big deal out of TJ Lang's 5 false start penalties in 5 weeks. He's been a significant upgrade over Colledge. He's more physical than Colledge and he's solid at the point of attack.
* I expected more out of Josh Sitton this year.
* I hope we see more of Alex Green catching the ball in the flat. Are we saving this for Detroit? It's possible. In the past, McCarthy has saved players for big games. It wouldn't surprise me to see more of Green after the bye week and then to see him get the ball out on the edge against Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
* Keep the chin up, Ryan Grant. In order for the Packers to leave the 2011 season with the Super Bowl trophy, we're going to need you to make plays.
* Congrats to DJ Williams on the first catch of his NFL Career.
* J-Bush & Charlie Peprah grabbing picks! That's two picks in two weeks for Peprah!
* Love watching Desmond Bishop fire through the gap.
* Clay Matthews might be struggling with regards to sacks, but one of these games he's going to get multiple sacks. He's oh, so close to getting home! I hope he doesn't get overly frustrated.
* Raji & Pickett are immovable.
* Sammy Swagga's playing as he did late last year offered tremendous hope for the future.
* Soon T-Mon is going to make a game changing play. I can feel it.
* With the "Z-MAN", Frank Zombo, back at practice and with Neal/So'oto coming back soon, there is hope that a pass rush is coming soon...
* After 5 weeks, the Packers have 12 sacks and they've forced 13 turnovers.
This week, it's the St. Louis Rams. And, while St. Louis' baseball team might beat Wisconsin's team, there is no way it'll happen on the football field. So, it's up to us, the G-Force, to ensure that we are wild in the stands. If you have tickets to this game, bring the volume. Let's jump on the Rams early. Let's jump on them often. If we get an early lead, this could be a 30 point win. But, the crowd has to make it difficult early in the game.
It appears as though the weather will be beautiful. Mid-to-high 50's. In October. Green Bay, WI. That's football weather. A terrific fall day. A day for Aaron Rodgers to top 350 yards. We're going to attack the rams. Blessed with the NFL's finest arsenal of Receiving options. Defensed by a Rams defense that is floundering with injuries. They've already lost their top-3 CB's. Expect the Packers to come out gunning. And if our young tackles can contain the underrated pash rushing DE's from St. Louis, the Packers should be able to score at will. But, let's not take the Rams for granted. Long and Hall can pressure the QB. They're high effort guys. Newhouse and Bulaga better be ready.
Offensively coached by Josh McDaniels, you know that the Rams are going to try and find short passes. And, then they'll get the ball into the hands of Cadillac Williams and Steven Jackson. If they get some rhythm, you know McDaniels is calling play-action and he'll try to hit us deep. Denario Alexander was a nice college player at Mizzou. He hasn't been able to stay healthy, but he remains a threat deep down the field. The Rams also have a couple of quality prospects at WR in Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. They can't be overlooked and are due for a game in which they surprise the opposition.
But, really, the only way the Rams can win this game is if they have success running the ball. They'll need Jackson and Williams to pound away at us, however with the talented Raji & Pickett manning the front, I don't see it happening.
In fact, I see a blowout. No one loves Ras-Al more than me. He's a Packer HOF'er. A great player for us for a number of years. But, he's too old to play with the likes of Greg Jennings. Early in the game, off play-action, I expect the Packers to test Harris deep. While Harris will want to have a big game, it's unlikely.
I see big games for Jennings, Nelson and Cobb. I foresee Cobb grabbing 4-5 balls out of the slot. Working out of the shotgun, once again, Rodgers will be brilliant. Throwing for more than 350 yards and also throwing 4 TD's.
Packers 45. Rams 13.
Go Pack Go!