Sorry to have left everyone without my insight, or lack thereof, for last week. I had surgery to remove a cyst from my right wrist so I was really not up to typing. I am back and as good as ever.
If this is a game that gets away from the Packers then, yes, it will be a long season. The Seahawks are limping into this game. Road game, but very winnable. If the Packers play down to the level of competition it will be tough, but the Packers are definitely the better team this week.
Seattle is injured everywhere. The defense and offense are missing parts. Hasselbeck did not practice on Friday yet, but he does expect to play. We can finally play a team more hurt than we are. This is also a team that has fed on the weakness of the NFC West for years and is just not that good any more. Seattle’s offense is 18th in scoring and 22nd in yards.This is good for a Packers team that has struggled. The Packers faced the number one rush offense in the league last week and had troubles, but so has the league. Saying we have had trouble stopping the run against the Vikings and Falcons is no disgrace. Still, this will be another test. Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett are part of the sixth best running attack in the league. Where Seattle is weak now is the passing game (26th overall with 156 yards a game). This is good for our suffering DBs. Hasselbeck has a 57.7 QB rating. The Packers should mix in the run blitz and hold down the edges. Pass rush will not be as key to start the game, the DEs should focus on contain responsibilities.
Good time for the Packers to come home and play a team we can beat. Atlanta is not a terrible team, but the Packers could win this one and probably should. If the Packers can finally find some motivation and build a little momentum they should do just fine. That’s the hope at least.
Atlanta is the best running team in the NFL and we will put out our 23rd ranked rush defense against them. Atlanta is two different teams though. In their two wins they average 251 yards rushing a game, but they only average 111.5 in their two loses. Passing is their constant; 139.5 net in games they win and 136.5 in games they lose.The Linebackers have to start attacking the line and taking on blockers to stop the run. Barnett and Hawk were missing a lot in the two loses. If the Packers are without Hawk this will hurt even more. Our DEs will have to maintain contain on the run game. Atlanta will stick to the run even when losing so discipline will be necessary. With all the penalties in the first four games discipline is not our strong suit. McCarthy should be stressing this much more. Even if we get a lead Atlanta will not put the game in Matt Ryan’s hands. Atlanta has not played a close game so if it comes down to it in the end it will be a mystery how they will respond. They average 9 points a game when they lose and 36 points when they win.
Expect passing this week. Griese had just a stupid 67 pass attempts last week against the Bears. Gruden wants to throw. That is part of who he is. The running game is the best thing going for him. Graham is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and Dunn is getting 5.2 yards per carry. Griese is an 83.2 career rated passer and in the midst of a 71.3 rating for this season.Three picks in a game is just not going to help. Still, Tampa has the 27th ranked pass defense and the Packers are locked in the 22nd ranking so far. This game also pits the Bucs’ sixth ranked pass offense against the Packers’ seventh ranked passing offense. Packers injuries and Bucs age in the defensive backfield will only add to the barrage. Expect to see the ball in the air a lot.
This week is going to be tough. I am trying to stay neutral in this one and just give good information. At the beginning of this year I predicted the Cowboys to likely win this one for one of Green Bay’s six losses and I had Dallas winning the Super Bowl. With the AFC falling apart it just looks more like an NFC year. I am not going to predict this one and just go into the points where I think the game will be won or lost for each team.
Green Bay needs to rally and get up for this game. Green Bay has faced a running team and a passing team so far and both gave us a few problems here and there.The major issue for this game will be in the hands of the front seven. Not deep and insightful there I know, but the keys to this game are getting ahead and making the Cowboys play from behind.
Keys to this game are not nearly as interesting as last week. This is a game that should be well in hand for the Packers. After beating the media darling Vikings the Packers get to face the Lions. The Lions were giving up over seven yards a carry over the course of the game with Atlanta. Atlanta got 220 yards out of Michael Turner who is no slouch, but then Jerious Norwood got 92 yards on 14 carries. Grant had a day like that playing against the Vikings on a day when he was not full strength. The Lions defense will give up huge point totals. Matt Ryan was throwing 12.38 yards per attempt. The Lions safeties are weak and will get beat over the top. Expect to see several missed tackles on the edges. If Green Bay can get the running backs to the edge or hit wide receivers in the flats expect to see big gains. The Lions defense is the biggest key to the game this week. Life after Rogers is tough on the D-Line. He was notorious for taking plays or games off, but he was the best they had.
I say the defense for the Lions is the key because Atlanta held this team to 21 points and the Falcons are not the defensive team we are. The line is still coming together. Kitna just gets older. The running backs are talented, but they cannot shine without a line to get them somewhere. The receivers are the talent. Johnson and Williams are gamers who will get their touches, but the pass happy attack left with Martz. Do not expect huge things from McDonald or Furrey and expect more passes to the running backs. If our safeties can stay as deep as the deepest we should be able to keep the big play out of the game and keep the offense caged in. Green Bay had troubles last week with the TEs, but no one is scared of a TE in Detroit.
Intangibles in this game will be the possibility of the valley game effect. Green Bay just came off the high victory and first start of Rodgers and Dallas is in the future. Green Bay might be capable of looking past this team, but McCarthy is too good a coach to let that happen. Rodgers knows he is not allowed a down week so he will do all in his power to prepare for this game like all others. The Lions may be hoping to play better this week after the embarrassment of last week, but the talent is hard to overcome. I see this game playing into the hands of the Packers