The Green Bay Packers kept their playoff hopes alive in exciting fashion by ripping the New York Giants 45-17. In quite possibly their most balanced performance of the season the Packers are on the doorstep of the playoffs, only the Monsters of the Midway stand in their way now.
The Bears are playing for the No. 2 seed so they won’t be resting anybody for that reason, but the Packers will always get the Bears’ best no matter what the circumstances, we all remember Lovie Smith’s comments the day he took the job in Chicago. The Packers lost to the Bears in Chicago in week three which kicked off a stretch where the Packers lost three-of-four games. The Packers are coming off another such stretch but the win over the Giants brings hope they have turned it around once and for all.
Aaron Rodgers was absolutely on fire against the Giants in his best regular season performance to date. Rodgers quick release and uncanny accuracy kept the ferocious Giants’ pass rush from making plays and with even a slight running game the Packers’ offense can literally be unstoppable on some days. Yesterday was one of those days.
The Packers’ defense did exactly what it had to – shut down the run and make Eli Manning beat you. Manning threw 4 picks. That game plan won’t work this week though, as Jay Cutler is having a career year in Mike Martz’ pass-first offense. The Packers will have to come after Cutler without being gashed by Matt Forte in the process. If you can knock Cutler around he’ll give you some opportunities to make a play.
If the Packers bring the same effort and execution next week beating the Bears won’t be a problem. My main concern is just putting two good performances together against good teams, which hasn’t happened much under head coach Mike McCarthy. The Packers could still back in to the playoffs with a loss but I’m not even going to think about that, if we lose I don’t want to go anyway.
Even though I predicted the Packers would win the division this year, a win Sunday and a playoff berth would be quite an accomplishment considering all the injures they have sustained. Special teams have done much more harm to this team than the injuries have. I mean how can Dom Capers take guys off the street and oversee the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense but Sean Slocum can’t devise a simple scheme to cover a kickoff return?
Anyway, it is going to be a fun week in Packer land and an electric atmosphere at Lambeau next Sunday. Like McCarthy said, it can’t get here fast enough.