Packers still in good shape

While the Packers may not be in good shape healthwise, two more players to IR this week, they are sitting just fine as far as the playoffs are concerned. I don’t play the “if the playoffs started tomorrow” game, that is for radio personalities. The fact is there are five games left to play and the Packers for all intents and purposes control their own destiny.

Of course the easy way is to win them all and win the division, but I think 11-5 will win the NFC North. If the Packers just win their NFC games they might even have a chance for the No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round. If the Packers and Eagles win their respective divisions with identical records the Packers win the tiebreaker. I don’t think we have to worry about the NFC West.

The Packers didn’t play that bad last week, in fact I think they played well in spite of their head coach’s poor decisions, so I’m more worried about Mike McCarthy’s game day decisions than I am the play of the team. I would still like to see the offense finish drives better but Aaron Rodgers has been all-world the last few weeks and they are starting to get used to not being able to run the ball. If they can keep that up in inclement weather they should have no problems.

I think the Packers will win a tough battle Sunday against the 49ers by something like 27-14, then blow out the Lions in Detroit. Aaron Rodgers lights it up in Motor City and this year should be no different. After that I really do like the Packers chances against the AFC version of themselves – the New England Patriots. It may be in New England but it’s on the turf the Packers like and the Packers’ defense is better than the Patriots.

I’m not even worried about the Giants and Bears the last two weeks at Lambeau Field. The G-Men are in their usual late season swoon and the Bears’ blessed existence is about to come to an end. Every week the Bears get a break. From facing Yancey Thigpen at quarterback in Miami to Asante Samuel being out last week for the Eagles to Drew Carey starting at quarterback this week for the Lions. The thing is, free rides don’t make playoff teams. The Bears will implode before that last game if you ask me.

I’m not going to bitch about the running game any longer, either. It is what I thought it was. McCarthy has put the offense in Rodgers’ hands and we are going to sink or swim on his performance. The offensive line better step its game up and keep Rodgers upright and actually block somebody on the few chances they actually do get to run block. Do all that and all will be well – one home game and trip back to Atlanta. Yeah, I said it. Packers at Atlanta for the NFC Championship. So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

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  • Pierre

    Packers had better not take the 49ers lightly as they have a good defense. They need to take care of the ball, get ahead early, have the defense produce some turnovers and limit SF’s scoring opportunities. If they can make it a one-sided game Starks may be able to get some rushes to see what he can do.

  • Our competition for wild card is NO who seem to be improving and I think are in. The Giants and Tampa who has the easiest schedule. We shouldn’t count on winning the division because the Bears are for real since they’ve improved their O-line. We have to win 4 of to next 5 to guarantee a playoff spot. We might make it by winning 3 including beating the Giants and then getting help with Tampa losing 3.

  • Monty

    Al, you been smoking dope on a rope again?? yeah im with ya on the running game, McCarthy is just blind, he should start starks and use jackson as a third down back. im so tired of watching see brandon run see brandon fall down….The Bears are for real, they beat us becaues of jones fumble. until ARod and Fat Mike clean up that 2-12 record in close games, we arent going anywhere…we will be lucky to sneak in as the 6th team. My predictions for NFC Playoff Teams

    1 seed – Falcons
    2-seed – Bears
    3-seed – Eagles
    4 seed – Rams
    5 seed- NO
    6 seed – NYG

    On outside looking in because of no running game, tired defense and lousy special teams…
    Ted and Mike.

    So it is written so it shall be.

    • By the end of the season we will have beaten four of them.

    • Rick

      Aren’t you a ball of sunshine Monty. I guess MM pissed in your Cheerios this morning. 🙁

      5 games to go.
      We root for the Packers and against the Bears. Kind of like normal. I will be rooting for the Lions against the Bears this Sunday.

      We win more then the Bears, the Pack is in. 🙂

    • Monty, if we beat the Giants they’re out.

  • jimmyus333333

    Don’t look past the Lions.

  • Larry

    Pierre has a point about the 49ers defense but their offense will give us some turnovers to help in the scoring column. If we can use a TE or RB over the short middle early we may be able to keep Willis from the sideline or getting deep. SF plays a 3-4 so there shouldn’t be any surprises.

    I’d like to see Lange or another at LG, he’s biger and meaner, maybe the hole stays open a little longer. Their DL is not as large as ours. Let’s see Stark or Nance get some carries or swing passes. BJax is so pedestrian.

    • You know what Grant’s loss did to us; how would you like to lose Gore? Willis does not a defense make any more than Matthews. I would be more concerned about the DET if they had Stafford and Hanson, we’ll see won’t we?

  • Monty

    Of course if we win all five we are division champs…..jackson is worse than pedestrian, he doesnt belong on an NFL roster. We dont even know what we have in the other two backs because MM keeps doing the Jackson dive play over and over. As for backs out of the backfield or for that matter Tight End, when was the last time you saw either catch the ball for plus yards…Minnesota game in GB, we need to play more like that on offense. BJax does ok on screens, he can get a running start, he just has no burst or explosion into the hole. Its like we have Starks and Nimitz or Nance or whatever the hell his name is, but MM wont use them. Do you know what a good running game would do for us? I would make our offense so much better and rest the defense. But we all know that…Since MM and Ted are playing blind with our running game, Im gonna play blind too and see what happenes in the next five weeks.

    • Rick

      @ Monty – Der Himmel fällt
      – 空は落ちています

    • Rick

      For the rest of the group I said, “The sky is falling”

      Calm down Monty Chicken Little.

      They play each game for a reason. A solid victory over the 49ers and a oops 3 or 4 pick Cutler day loss by the Bears and the world changes.

      We just need to focus and win each game. The Packers do not need help to get in. Just their own wins.

    • jimmyus333333

      hence the problem…

    • Rick

      What Problem?? If you win games you play in the post season. If you don’t you go home at the end of the season. Duh, that was the point playing all the games since week 1 right?

      We are one game behind in the division with a tie break game at home in week 17. GB is only two games back from best record in the NFC with 5 to play and 3 of those are at home. The two away games are the Lions and Patriots.

      We win the three at home the Bears HAVE to win ALL 4 of their other games to beat the Packers. That is a tough road to hoe.

  • dave76

    You hit the nail right on the head AL. This is the Aaron Rodgers show. We WILL live or die with him. MM is not that worried about the running game as much as some of us think. This is week 10 of trying to find it somewhere, we are now grasping at straws half-heartedly. MM has a ton of faith in Rodgers and very little in our run. Simply look at our play selection and it says it all. We have done excellent in some positions when injuries occurred, this is not one of them. Our best chance to win games, is through the air. I am positive MM has tried his best, there is alot that goes on behind closed doors and at practices that we just dont know about. Execution on ST killed us last game. Our O line is much better at protecting Rodgers this year, by mid-season last year we had given up 41sacks. Right now after 11 games, 21 sacks, and he is not hobbling around like he was by game 8 last year. We are good enough right now to beat anyone if we dont have turnovers and undiciplined penalties. Knowing we will have both Grant and Finley back next year, I think MM is mostly content with Rodgers spreading it out and throwing most of the time. Right or wrong, this is the gut feeling I’m getting with MM, especially with our solid D also. I still say we are in the playoffs and I think the Bears are playing a little over their head!

    • iccyfan

      Rodgers can only do so much to win games! That article yesterday about ARod being 2-12 in games decided by seven or fewer points was eye-opening. I knew Rodgers was getting a bum wrap about not winning the close ones, but I didn’t know the extent of it. Per the article, ARod had the Packers tied or in the lead during the fourth quarter of all twelve losses! That’s incredible, but to me it means we really can’t expect much more from Rodgers than he’s already giving us…

      Here are my three suggestions for improvement this week:

      1) Jordy Nelson has been stepping it up lately and Driver hasn’t been getting the job done; this is no time for sentimentality – start giving DD’s targets to Nelson.

      2) Time to deactivate Quinn Johnson for somebody , anybody else. He got in the way of the potential TD pass to Quarless and he’s sure as heck not opening any holes for the runningbacks. The only Quinn I want to see from here on out is the hot cheerleader on Glee…

      3) To make this thought unanimous on the site, give the damn ball to Starks and let’s see if he can run with it…

      • Skyler

        Good post, Iccyfan

        Last time I checked, Football was a team sport. If we had a better O-line, not so may penalties, just installed a new defense, and had better special teams play, we would have win a few of the close games. ARod has been nothing short of great.

        It is time to give Jones and Nelson a shot at #2 spot.

        Quinn Johnson is a bust. Not sure why we wasted a pick when we have two solid FB’s (Kuhn and Hall).

        It will be interesting to see Starks play. Let’s hope his injury bug is dead.

    • dave76

      I agree iccyfan, don’t get me wrong! Time will tell, I’m just not positive MM does. I hope so though, Starks has not played in 2 years since his surgery but we won’t know unless we do give him an opportunity.

  • Monty

    Im glad has this board, even though i dont always agree with everyone its nice to have a place to discuss one of my passions. I suppose there were people the first couple of years who said Vince “who”? But after the first championship well the rest is history. As we read in one of the article AL posted, I think it was by Mike what’s his name from the Gazette, McCarthy is trying to make the packers move from good to elite….but without a two back running system we cant do it. I wish Mike and Ted would open their eyes… lets see its 49 whiners, the pussy cats then the G-men, Tammy Brady and finally a rematch with da Bears…..I do hope Jones has learned to carry the ball in the correct hand when we play da Bears. Lombardi would have been excited, everyone thought the Vikings were the team to beat, now they have kitchen duty cleaning up after da Bears and the Pack…its like 1960 all over again. Give the ball to Starks….

    • Vince “who” won the championship in his second year by getting rid of half his team and playing the trade and what was the equivelent of the FA market at the time. When he took over in ’59 after winning one game in ’58 they were good, just underachievers so they had some trade value. What he did was bring in “leaders”, the first being Tunnel, kind of like a Woodson. They won seven games in ’59 and the championship in ’60. Things were going smooth in GB until he got rid of Ringo in ’64 and boy did the debate start; many unhappy people. Reminicent of Wahle and Rivera. Gets us to the locker room of today IMO. I feel we’re going to be in the hunt for many years.
      You know we have that pattern of winning big every two decades. Time flies but we are a decade and a half since our last big ones.
      We need a RB, a returner, another OT, a DE ready to step in, that elusive other OLB, and a CB to replace Woody. Which are you going to grab out of the draft as your #1?
      I’m betting on BPA for one and two.

      • Monty


    • I don’t know the value of our practice players, but I do know we’ve got group of really good guys on the IR.

  • PackerPete

    Wow, Monty took off his purple jersey for a moment…

    This team is soooooooo close to being elite, even with their warts and injuries they have lost games by the slimmest of margins.

    The injuries are actually a blessing in disguise in that they have allowed our diamonds in the rough to be polished extensively.

    How many of us here had the faith that Bishop actually was an upgrade over Barnett? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Tramon actually was an upgrade over Harris? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Shields actually was an upgrade over Underwood/Lee? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Zombo actually was an upgrade over Jones? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Raji actually was an upgrade over Pickett at nose? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Bulaga actually was an upgrade over Tausher? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Jones/Nelson actually was an upgrade over Driver? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Peprah actually was an upgrade over Bigby/Burnett? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that our DL actually was an upgrade with Jolly out? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that CJ Wilson actually was an asset and not a liability? True fact today.

    How many of us here had the faith that Hawk actually was an upgrade over Chillar? True fact today.

    Thats a LOT of optimism, probably more than this board has seen in quite a while, certainly from me… LOL!

    The changes we have had to endure have also helped to focus attention on the real needs for this team to continue to improve:

    Power run blocking
    Better OL coaching
    RB with courage, reckless abandon, running vision/talent
    Better play calling, OC with playcalling duties
    Better game management including challenges, time clock and timeouts, MM as HC only
    Dynamic OLB opposite Matthews
    Special Teams continuity/strategic plan and Better Coaching

    All other woes fall into a catch all “depth” bucket which I believe is in a great position with all of the talent we have on the current roster and IR along with another draft class coming back/in.

    I am interested to see how MM continues to grow this particular group of young men into “Winners” and if the patched together team that is the 2010 Green Bay Packers can form a cohesive team capable of winning against the best in the NFL as the stretch drive and playoffs unfold.

    • Rick

      An excellent post Pete. Simply excellent.

    • iccyfan

      Excellent post! I don’t have to agree with all your individual examples (Zombo, Peprah, Jolly, Bulaga) to support your conclusion(s)!

      Don’t get me wrong; Zombo was seemingly born to be a Packer and I’ve always liked Charlie Peprah for some reason (maybe because he’s not Jarrett Bush), but I’m not ready to say they’re upgrades to their predecessors yet.

  • Larry

    Right on iccy…at some point we have to hold a lead in the fourth….to give a guy 9 seconds and 60 yards of turf to pull out a win is impossible. (lets not forget the 8 or 9 in coverage on the D side). IMO we need a blowout here and against Detroit so we can play Starks/Lang/McDonald or any other player we’re so fond of without risk. Let Flynn get some reps and if Starks fumbles its not a big deal.

    I’m tired of reading about inactive players that we really like. Sit a FB and lets get Starks on the field.
    College needs a wakeup call. Clifton could use a break from the Dec. cold) Lets start this one fast and furious and see some of these great prospects!

  • Jeff

    Don’t sweat the 49ers, they are coming off a Monday night game going on the road into the cold with no Gore, Packers win 34-13.
    It is great that the Bears are facing teams with injuries especially at the quarterback position because it is going to lull them to sleep and they will not know what hit them when they play Brady , Favre , Sanchez , and Rodgers.
    In my opinion , the Bears have to beat the Lions and if they dont they are done because they are facing 4 tough games after that , yes , the Viking game will be tough because they have a new coach and Favre is 5-0 against the Bears on Monday night and the Bears are 0-3 against Adrian Peterson in the dome and they will be coming off a tough divisional road game on a Monday night to play the Jets.
    Really , the Bears are facing a must game in Detroit for many reasons , a loss among other things would all but assure the Packers a better divisional record going into the final game of the year.
    I have broken all of the tiebreakers down and if the Packers go 4-1 with that loss being against the Pats , there is no way the Bears can win the division and almost every formula shows that the Bears can not win the division if they do not upset the Packers in Lambeau.
    The tiebreakers are division record , common opponents , conference record and at this second the Packers have one more win that the Bears in common opponents and the same number of losses , the Packers have already beaten the Jets and the Bears have lost to the Ginats , Bears still play the Jets and the Packers play the Giants , that will be big.
    I do not know why I am thinking this , but I fell the Lions will get every call against the Bears to make up for the game that was stolen form them on opening day.

  • Monty

    The only one I disagree with is Bulaga….he’s had some weak moments…and I thought Lang was suppose to start at RT and Bulaga LT or LG. I agree with getting a better OL coach and an OC that calls plays…but then when the shit hits the fan, McCarthy can only blame himself for bad playcalling. Driver has been nursing that quad so I give him slack, dude was a 7th rounder and is one of the best all time Packer receivers. Burnett too young to tell, I liked his closing speed and that he made plays on the ball, he needs to work on his tackling…linebackers, I like Zombo, CMIII, Bishop, they need someone else beside Hawk and Chewy in the middle that can cover. I think we are better with Jolly, hopefully he can make it back. Not many linemen make interceptions. Totally agreed, give the ball to anyone but Kuhn or Jackson for running, those two dont do bad with the screens, better than Grant, and next year draft a horse or two to run like Michael Turner. It should be a good group for four or five years if they ever get the labor thingy settled. Hey and I dont wear purple…..I type naked hahahahahahahaha

  • Monty

    oh and fire the Special Teams guy….he sucks too.

    • Pete H

      I think that is a unanimous feeling………….but I think it was last year as well

    • Rick

      *Warning– I am not Slocum defender*

      Slocum probably will not be fired. He has dealt with a hodge podge on ST all season with the 13 IR players wrecking havoc on consistant ST players even being available.

      Ever since we lost Martin in Week 5 we have had a tough time getting our gunners (Shields and Bush) down to cover up the returner. We have had bad lane contain by the new players on the field. If we can keep the same group of guys healthy on ST for 2 weeks in a row we should see some improvement.

      No exuse but just the reality of playing losey goosey with this number of ST fill ins.

      • Rick

        MM will want a coach like him that was a great college level ST and Defense coach (Patrick Willis anyone) to groom under Capers just like Kevin Greene is also doing. I don’t like what I see on the field but the previous ST coach just sucked. Slocum basically played with holdovers and went right for the punter competition this year. I think we got a decent punter out of it.

      • Rick

        If he does not improve after a less injury filled year next year then I can see them firing the bum.

    • Monty, Best Player Available – regardless of position, I can even see going WR, DD cannot go on forever.

  • roy jamison

    Will be interesting how guys like Gordy and McDonald progress. Give credit to the talent guys in TTs office including Reggie McKenzie, who should probably have been given a chance to be a GM himself.

    • It appears that Gordy is a speed guy, not unlike Shields.
      Couple of tidbits gleaned off other sites:
      Don’t be too surprised if TT pulls another “Matthews” and tries to trade up for a Von Miller, and it was a missed tackle by one who never misses tackles (Woodson) who made that 3rd and 18 conversion possible and had a major effect in the outcome of last Sunday. Oh, the little things, a season makes……..!

  • Pierre

    Packers need to play intense, error-free execution football from the first quarter through the fourth quarter. Teams need to know coming into Lambeau is not going to be an easy game; Packers need to re-establish a solid home field advantage like Atlanta and NE have.Time to unleash the uptempo, passing offense and keep the 49er defense from resting and substituting players. Score the first touchdown of the game and then have the defense going full throttle and score some points on forced turnovers from an aggressive, pressure attack that does not let up. Capers should be able to devise a plan to keep Troy Smith from being effective through the air. The offense needs to keep their peddle to the medal also and make this game a blow-out if possible. No reason why they should not be able to if their effort is high energy. Game plan to put opponents like this away early and avoid these close games that run the risk of having one play result in a lose. There is no way this team should have lost to Washington or Chicago!

  • PackerPete

    Im glad we all agree that MM needs a play calling OC and that he needs to take better control as HC especially on gameday.

    In my “better” list, I was thinking about actual in-season improvement and comparison of performance from early this season to current time with consideration of how the team would be performing if the “not better” players were in place.

    I placed Zombo on the “better” list due to his better power and run support than Jones, Jones may be a little more explosive, however Zombo’s power translates into pass rush as well and his motor seems to be a little better than Jones as well.

    Bulaga is on the “better” list in contrast to the 2010 Tausher, not the Tausher in his prime. We are in 2010, not the Ahman Green days. Bulaga and his rookie mistakes give a better result than Tausher was providing this year, he was constantly in ARod’s lap on passes and whiffing on runs. Bulaga provides much better power in the run game and has held his own in pass protection.

    I also focused on 2010 when I placed Jones/Nelson over an injured DD. DD playing through a bad quad does not provide a superior alternative to healthy Jones/Nelson.

    Peprah’s current stretch of games played rivals Bigbys longest career stretch of uninterrupted play, availability counts. Peprah’s overall performance, tackling, coverage, hits, has been better than Burnett who played soft when he was in the lineup.

    Hawk was solid before despite his challenges in coverage at times. He has blossomed beside Bishop and is a much better player than he was next to Barnett. Read into that what you will, but I do not see Nick Barnett in a Packer Uniform after training camp next season (if there is football).