7-3! Tied for 1st place in the NFC NORTH! A 1st round bye directly in our sights! Feels glorious!
R-E-L-A-X. I'm trying, Aaron. But, dude, you have me beaming with excitement!
Before Kickoff against the Eagles, I opened a bottle of the 1st Anniversary Stout from River North. It had been marinating in my fridge for roughly 17 months. I poured 5 tasting glasses to share with friends. My intoxicated toast: The next 3 hours are going to be a top 10 moment in the 2014 calendar year for me. The Packers are that important to me and we are going to kick the Eagles ass. And, the Cardinals are going to beat the Lions, so the Packers will be in a tie for 1st place. I'm happy to be sharing and celebrating this moment with each of you.
Yes, those next three hours were pure brilliance. Sure, the top 10 moment comment was an exaggeration, but it was a day I will remember for a long, long time. Complete domination. A SUPER feeling!
As I write, I sip a 2013 Fall St Bretta from Crooked Stave. It comes with an elegant orange, citrus scent. The aroma reminds me of an Aaron Rodgers pass floating into the arms of a streaking Jordy Nelson down the sideline. It's a funky beer. Cloudy at the pour. It settles nicely. Both sour and sweet. I'm a fan.
My musical selection is West Nkosi. He was a South African musician that brings calmness to the soul. Much in the way the Aaron Rodgers feels as he stands behind the wall that is the Green Bay Packers Offensive Line.
Here are my quick vibes over the last week:
* An aggressive Mike McCarthy is a good Mike McCarthy. McCarthy went for the throat early in the game. He went full throttle throughout the game.
* Aaron Rodgers is your 2014 NFL MVP.
* JORDY NELSON. FOREVER!
* Randall Cobb. Please stay. You have things good. We have things good. Let's live in harmony. Together.
* The Claymaker at ILB is Defensive MVP worthy. The move came too late in the 2104 season for him to win the award, but if he plays the role with conviction for 16 games, he'll be the most dominant player in the NFL on the Defensive side of the ball. Additionally, the move has the Packers defense playing at a SUPER level. Further, he's being moved around so much that it's hard to plan for him. Clay is the dictator. Offenses are being forced to adjust pre-snap. I'm confused while watching on TV. I cannot imagine what it'd be like to play QB in that situation.
* Here's a Lane Taylor shout out! Loved seeing him bully Connor Barwin on the Lacy TD run. He moved Batwin out of the way. Pushed him aside. Played until the whistle. Antagonized him. And, then he walked away as Barwin stomped and pouted his way in an attempt to stir things further. It was a perfectly executed move by Taylor. I was hoping Barwin was going to frustratingly grab a 15-yard penalty. I liked the play so much that I've watched the replay at least 10 times.
* The first 6 plays of the game were all passes. 4 of them to Nelson. 2 of them went to Cobb.
* We were two botched Extra Points from dropping DOUBLE NICKEL two weeks in a row. Wow!
* Davante Adams on the slant is a beautiful sight!
* Letroy Guion! Tremendous performance. The sack set the tone. Post that play, Sanchez was scared. On the Eagles second drive, Guion made a great play in the run game. And, on the Eagles third drive, his recognition prevented an Eagles TD on the screen to Sproles.
* For the 2nd week in a row, Mike Neal looked much more explosive than he has all year.
* 53 points. Yes, FIFTY-THREE! Unbelievable.
* Rodgers' footwork and ability to escape were at peak levels last week.
* SHOWCASE! Casey Hayward with TD's in back-to-back games. I'm not sure if he finds the ball or if the ball finds him, but it's been that way since he was in college. Good karma, I guess.
* I'm amazed at Jordy Nelson's footwork.
* Randall Cobb is unbelievable when Aaron Rodgers is on the move.
* Eddie Lacy bruising forward! Carrying defenders. Stinging the opposition.
* Another stellar performance from David Bakhtiari. He's moving his feet and extending his arms like a true veteran.
* JP with the TD! He's making an impact play every week, it seems. Sure, he's only played 10 games for the Packers, but it doesn't matter, I'm going to say this: if the Packers win the Super Bowl this year, Julius Peppers will live in Packers lore in the same breath as REGGIE & Sir Charles. Tall, yes. But, in no way an exaggeration. His veteran leadership is that great.
* TJ Lang & Josh Sitton is the greatest guard combination that the Packers have had in my lifetime. Old school ballers. Leaders. Punishers. Fire starters. And, true camaraderie.
* Bulaga with another SHOW ME THE COIN game.
* Way to finish the play, AQ81!
* Rodgers be nimble. Rodgers be quick. Rodgers jump over that 1st down stick.
* Dance, Micah. Dance! Loved the blocks by J-Bush, Sean Rchardson and Boykin on the return. Richardson's block was pure abuse!
* Quietly, another solid game for Ha Ha. He attacks with a vicious intent.
* Corey Linsley is a keeper. Love his relationship with Rodgers. So much admiration.
* Shocked that the Packers had 8 tackles for loss against a speedy Eagles offense.
* Great diving pass defensed play by Micah Hyde! Showed tremendous athleticism and recognition.
* Really liked Julius Peppers' energy early in the game. He was working to get to the QB.
* More solid hustle from Josh Boyd! He has a really impressive work rate. Valuable!
* Richard Rodgers showing some push in the run game. He drove Kendricks 7 yards back and eventually pancaked him on Lacy's 10-yard carry in the 1st Quarter.
* Datone Jones making an appearance in the oppositions backfield.
* Really wish AJ Hawk would get home on a sack soon.
* T-Mon with another pick! It seems as though he gets his hands on a ball almost every week.
* Back-to-back weeks in which CM3 has grabbed a sack. Great disguise!
* The screen game is BACK! In full effect!
* Morgan Burnett filling up the box score, once again. But, still, he left a couple of plays on the field.
* Randall Cobb has been spectacular. I'm amazed at how low he gets when he runs with the ball.
* How about Aaron Rodgers targeting AQ81! and Richard Rodgers on big 3rd down plays? Beyond sublime buzzes!
* Need more out of Mike Daniels. He's showing the strength and quickness were accustomed to seeing, but he's not getting home. He's close though. He has a big game waiting in the ways. I'm positive of that. And, it's super encouraging.
* With the injury to Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliot's improved health, I anticipate that Elliot will see snaps this week.
* It was great fun to see the white shoes that Sammy Swagga & Ras House were rockin'.
* Eddie Lacy gon' Green & Yellow Bumblebee on dem defenders!
* Catch the ball, Jarrett Boykin! Clearly, he's lost confidence. I hope McCarthy gave a speech in front of them team praising his blocking on the Hyde return. Sometimes, it's the little things that end a slump. Akin to a lay-up in basketball getting a jump shooter in rhythm.
* I love hearing speculation of how this team has peaked. The Packers haven't peaked. There's still so much room for growth and a variety of wrinkles that haven't been introduced. Mike Daniels will make big plays in the near future. Further, as Bostick gets healthy, he will get an opportunity to run down the seam. I've never been a fan of Bostick, but his athleticism cannot be denied. At some point this year, he will make a play down the field.
* Happy that Tretter is getting reps. He needs them.
* Congrats to Sir Charles! Woodson became the first player in NFL HISTORY to reach 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. It should be noted that he's two interceptions from 60 interceptions. He's currently tied for 11th in career interceptions. And, to my eye, he should be able to play at least one more year.
* Last year, the Packers got a 3rd round compensatory pick for Greg Jennings. Jennings finished the year with 68 catches, 804 yards and 4 TD's. Through 11 games, James Jones has 54 catches, 545 yards and 4 TD's. Could we get a 4th round pick for Jones? Also, EDS has started all 10 games for Tampa Bay this year. Marshall Newhouse has played in 9 games and started 3 for Cincy. CJ Wilson has played in 11 games, started 3 and has grabbed 2 sacks.
Here's a quick updatedPackers Mock. CBS DRAFT SCOUT changed their rankings recently. Here goes:
Round 1: Danny Shelton, DL, Washington.
Round 2: Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington
Round 3: Justin Hardy, WR, ECU (slightly edging Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State, Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State.)
Round 4: Preston Smith, DE/OLB, Mississippi State. (Za'Darius Smith, OLB/DE, Kentucky)
Round 5: Curtis Riley, CB, Fresno State.
Round 5: Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville. Slightly above Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska.
Round 5: Junior Sylvestre, LB, Toledo.
Round 6: Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State.
Round 7: Nick Perry, S, Alabama
This week - it's the Viqueens. In Minnesota. Outdoors. Temperatures expected to be in the mid-to-high 40's. A chance of precipitation. Riveting November football in the Midwest!
Some may call this a trap game. Coming off to big home wins. A date with the AFC leading Patriots lingering next week. And, in the middle, it's a road Divisional road game. On the road. Against an inferior opponent.
Don't worry. The Packers aren't losing this game.
I anticipate that 1/3 of the Stadium will be Packers fans. The Stadium will be rowdy. Early in the 4th Quarter, it'll feel like a home game.
Turnovers will play a key role in this game. I'll be surprised if Teddy Bridgewater doesn't turn the ball over. I first saw Teddy play when he was in High School. He didn't respond well to pressure up the middle then. He doesn't respond well to pressure up the middle now. Even though he's mobile, he panics when pressure comes up the gut. He does a decent job using his feet when the pressure comes from the outside. I imagine Dom will come with a variety of blitzes and with the knee injury to Matt Kalil, I imagine Peppers, Neal and Matthews will all have opportunities to get home. If Perry doesn't play, we have any see Elliot get a shot. Or even Brad Jones. I wouldn't be stoked about Jones getting a shot, but it is worth mentioning that he showed OLB promise in his rookie season.
With Matt Asiata injured, I imagine that we will see Ben Tate carry the ball. Tate is explosive. He's not elite, but he's good enough. And, I'd imagine he's motivated. Jerick McKinnon will get the snaps early on, but don't be surprised if Tate gets 10 carries.
Greg Jennings and Jarius Wright are both banged up. Initially, I didn't think they'd play. Now, I feel that they will. Cordarralle Patterson hasn't been given enough opportunities this year. Let's hope that lasts one more week. He's lethal. Former Packer, Charles Johnson, is finally healthy. He looked good last week. Kyle Rudolph has been banged up most of the year, but he's finally healthy. He's a dangerous target. Especially if he's guarded by AJ Hawk. Both Burnett and Hyde should match up well against Rudolph.
Look for Minnesota to try to control the clock by running the football. They'll also call play action and try to roll Teddy outside the pocket. They'll largely be 2-3 man routes with Rudolph as the main target. The Packers will have to stay disciplined.
Defensively, the Viqueens have talent. If Sharrif Floyd is unable to go, that'd be a huge blow for the Viqueens. He can play. The Viqueens did get Chad Greenway back. He's rock solid. Harrison Smith is a great player. Xavier Rhodes is a physical CB. Linval Joseph is stout against the run. Brian Robison & Everson Griffen can get after the QB, but aren't great run defenders. Anthony Barr is a fast rising LB. Robert Blanton is absolutely awful and should be attacked. Captain Munnerlyn is aggressive. He's physical and man's up well. Josh Robinson tries hard. He gives it all he's got. Every down. He's just not good enough. He's a lot like J-Bush.
The Packers will attack Robinson early. He can't cover any of our WR's. Rodgers will also have his eyes on Blanton in a similar fashion that he targets Chris Conte when he plays the Bears.
Eddie Lacy will run left. Between Bakhtiari & Sitton. He'll get chunks of yards.
But, the Viqueens keep it close. And, then, in the 3rd Quarter, we see the turnover. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that Morgan Burnett grabs a pick this week. And it springs the game open.
Rodgers continues his push towards another MVP with 3 TD's.
Go Pack Go!