Arizona squeaked a win with their third string quarterback so the Packers need a win just to keep pace. Travelling to Buffalo, the Packers have a chance to prove that they can get it done against a top ten defense on the road. While I think the Packers would win going away even if they had to play in Arizona for a Super Bowl bid, the very best scenario for the Packers here is (obviously) to win out and see the Cardinals drop a game.
Here are three things they need to do to get the job done on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers has been more than hot, but the Packers offense stalled a couple times againt the Falcons who have nobody…just nobody on defense. It is time to find out how much of Aaron’s hot streak had to do with homefield advantage. He may need to have an exceptionally good day because if Eddie Lacy’s hip injury keeps him from going, the onus may end up on the arm of Rodgers and he will NOT have 8-13 seconds to deliver the ball like he has had in the last two games. If Starks has to go…I expect him to be ready as it will be a sort of “homecoming” for him. But this one will end up on Rodgers.
It has been beaten like a dead horse that the Packers defense was a “tale of two halves” on Monday. What has been largely forgotten is that one of those halves was good defensive football. If you don’t believe me, you need to watch the film. Every blogger in the blogosphere was touting the Atlanta Falcons as better than their record before the game. We all said that they had weapons, that Matt Ryan could make plays. Then, when they did…we assumed that it was all to do with our defense. The Packers D held the Falcons to 7 points in the first half…that doesn’t forgive the second half but it should not be forgotten.
Julius Peppers said that the defense played “one half of bad football” and he’s right. But remember this…NEVER forget this…we ALWAYS learn more from our failures than our successes. There is nothing better for this young defense than to make mistakes in a game that the Packers still won. When we get to “one and done” time…the corrections to those mistakes will pay dividends. I guarantee it.
Special teams have not been spoken of this entire season it seems. That is a good thing. The Packers special teams are going to need to continue to be sound and possibly win back some field position in this game if the Packers are going to win. Mason Crosbly has been money and if there is a game that I think the Packers may have a walk-off field goal opportunity…this is it. Mike Davidsen had this game as one of his surprise losses at the beginning of the season and his predicition, while I hope it does not come true, may be realized unless the special teams continues to shine.
So this is a very big road game for the Packers. The Cards still have to play the Seahawks and 49’ers and without Palmer OR Stanton for at least one of those games (as it looks), I would expect them to drop at least one more. Let’s go get this one.