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.
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.
Ball security is always important, but it gets even more important in games that are more evenly matched. In close games the win often comes down to who is plus one in the turnover column. As the Packers meet the Giants the importance of ball security will be amplified, and there are three very good reasons why. Continue reading
Mason 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
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.
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.
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.
In 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
Casey Hayward has earned increased playing time. And Hayward will get that playing time with fellow defensive back Charles Woodson out for six weeks. The Packers’ youth in the secondary has impressed as a group. Hayward’s four interceptions are tied for best in the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers can return to MVP form on any given week. That’s right – any week. The Houston defense under Wade Phillips is no joke and Rodgers flat out torched them on Sunday night. The former MVP flashed brilliance on more than one occasion as his offensive line provided adequate yet not perfect protection. His six touchdowns may be just the spark the Packers needed to get the offense rolling.