Keep an Eye on the Running Backs

Packer Running GameThe key to the game every time the Packers meet the Vikings is stop Adrian Peterson. When the Packers met the Texans, the key to the game was stopping Arian Foster. This week, against the Titans, the story will be much the same. Stop Chris Johnson and you stop the main threat the Titans have.

What may surprise Packer fans is that the Titans will also need to stop the Packer run game.

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Who’s Hot in the NFL Right Now?

2013 PlayoffsIt’s still too early for the Packers to be looking past the regular season and planning for the playoffs but the picture is looking much better than it did a couple of weeks ago. Still it looks like the Pack will be in the playoffs this post-season.

This week I started wondering about which teams are hot in the NFL right now and how the Pack might fare against them if we met them in the playoffs.

First of all, I don’t think season-long record gives an accurate indication of who’s hot right now. Case-in-point, Indianapolis began the season like they ended last season, losing two of their first three games. However, since then they’ve gone on a tear and have won seven of their last eight games.

The chart below shows the teams that have really turned it on in the most recent eight games of the 2012 season. Look it over and then we’ll talk about each of them. Continue reading

A Closer Look at the Lions – Part II

            Three weeks ago, the Packers eeked out a crucial win in Detroit that should have crushed the lowly Lions’ playoff hopes. Despite two hard-fought games against Houston and Indianapolis, the Lions have two more losses under their belts and are most certainly out of the NFC North conversation. Yet, in a prime time Lambeau Field environment with division rivals in town, anything can happen. The Packers haven’t lost a division game yet this season and love to move to 4-0 with a win over Detroit.

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What We Learned Against the Giants

A healthy Clay Matthews is essential for generating pressure on good quarterbacks. The undrafted free agent combo at outside linebacker was enough to get by Matthew Stafford and the Lions but couldn’t disrupt Eli Manning. Without Matthews, the Packers are forced to rely on turnovers, which aren’t exactly plentiful against smart quarterbacks like Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.

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Mason Crosby: Breaking Out of the Slump

Mason Crosby SlumpMason Crosby is not in a slump. What Mason is in, is so much deeper than that. The question on everyone’s mind is what do the Packers do about it.

Under different circumstances I would say the Packers should just bring in some competition. Competition can work wonders for a player who’s resting on their laurels. But, resting on your laurels is not what Mason’s problem is. Bringing in competition would do nothing for Mason aside from amplify the psychological factors that are challenging him. Bring in another kicker and the message Mason gets is ” We don’t have confidence in you,” and he’s already struggling with his confidence. Continue reading

What We Learned Against the Lions

            Though it didn’t feel like it, the Packers’ Week 11 victory over the Lions was a great one. The team overcame a significant number of key absences to squeak past another banged up NFC North squad. Green Bay’s 24-20 win in Motown put the Packers in legitimate position to challenge the Bears for the NFC North title. As for the Lions, winning out is almost a requirement to make the playoffs.

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2012 Midseason Assessment

After a 3-3 start to the season, Packers fans have to be happy with the way their team has responded, even if the victories haven’t been pretty. Injuries have hindered, but not yet decimated, one of the deepest squads in the league. With a significantly tougher schedule ahead of them, the Packers must get healthy if they are to challenge the Bears for the NFC North crown.

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What We Learned Against the Jaguars

Jordy Nelson means more to the Green Bay receiving corps than we thought. Last week I praised the wide receivers for their production without Greg Jennings. Evidently, the group isn’t nearly as spectacular when you take away both Jennings and Nelson. In such a situation, it’s good to have Donald Driver on the roster, adding production where he can.

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As Projected, Walden Making an Impact for the Defense

Erik Walden of the Green Bay PackersIn the Packers’ 30-20 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, the team’s leading tackler was a player many fans didn’t want to see on this year’s roster: outside linebacker Erik Walden. Back in August after starting inside linebacker Desmond Bishop got injured, I suggested that Walden would make a good candidate to replace Bishop on the inside.

I remember many some not liking that idea. And without D.J. Smith now, I still think it’s a good idea for Dom Capers to get all three of his best outside linebackers on the field in passing situations. Before injury, Smith struggled downfield in coverage on running backs and tight ends and we’ve all seen A.J. Hawk’s struggles when he’s exposed in the middle of the field. Continue reading