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I cannot remember the last time I was this conflicted about predicting the result of a football game.  Spoiler alert, I’m going to pick the Saints to win on Sunday.  I can’t really tell you why I’m going to do this but I promise you, I am going to do this.  Aaron Rodgers is now clearly better than Drew Brees.  I’m not sure if it’s because Brees is at least a little washed up or if it’s just because Rodgers is so good but the difference is clear.  Offensively the Packers are better.  Defensively the Packers are clearly better.  The New Orleans Saints rank 32nd in Defensive DVOA (FootballOutsiders).  There isn’t a 33rd team in the National Football League.

So why? Why am I picking against the Packers, quite possibly the NFC’s hottest team? A building.  I’m picking against the Packers because of the Superdome.  This is a scary game.  If the Packers go into New Orleans and win on Sunday night I have to believe in this team 100%.  YOU have to believe in this team 100%.  I know that sounds nuts because of the Saints’ record but it’s true.

Barring injuries that occur in the Saints game, the Packers should come back from the bye week completely healthy.  All of their currently injured players, PLUS JC Tretter all appear healthy enough to possibly play against New Orleans.  I can’t honestly imagine that any of them would be sidelined after a bye week.  All hands on deck is not something that the Packers have been able to say in week 10 in a very long time.


It’s time to trust the Packers’ defense


I trust Dom Capers.

There, I said it out loud. No take-backs and all that, right? Sure it was a little shaky there in the first few weeks, and I was nodding along with demands for a regime change. What can I say? I’m fickle and impatient.

But wasn’t Cam Newton on his way to being crowned one of the next big things? A mobile QB that was a dangerous threat outside the pocket?

Well he looked more like Christian Ponder than his contemporaries Kaepernick and Wilson. The Packers did a great job shutting down a mobile quarterback and finally decoded the read option that had been their Kryptonite for so long. Sure the Panthers are a shadow of the team they were a year ago, but it’s the same QB that would gash teams on the ground.

And Cam ran for diddly. What yards he got were gained scrambling for his life.

That type of resounding victory is exactly the confidence booster this team needed. They aren’t just good shutting down a pocket passer like they consistently are in the NFC North. They turned the page and were effective in neutralizing the new generation of dual threat quarterbacks.

While people were calling for Capers’ head (yes, I was one of them. I kind of apologized above, remember?) there were others pointing out it wasn’t a scheme issue, but rather a personnel issue.  This is definitely not the unstoppable defense that the Packers fronted in 2010, but it appears to be the best one since.


Packers’ 2014 Draft Class Paying Early Dividends


As I sat in the Lambeau Field bleachers and watched the Panthers game, I couldn’t help but to think of how well the 2014 draft class is panning out.  Now there are certainly disappointments.  It’s possible (maybe even likely) that Khyri Thornton Carl Bradford and Demetri Goodson can’t play.  Jared Abbrederis was lost for the season with an ACL injury.  Other than that though, things look great.

I know that kind of sounds like “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?” but it isn’t.  It’s possible that one of those 3 defenders will turn into a decent rotational piece.  Josh Boyd looked just as lost as Thornton early on in his career and he’s a perfectly capable fill-in on the defensive line.  Obviously if you take a defensive linemen in the top 100 you’d prefer he not be a fill-in but it happens.  Goodson was always going to be a project and Bradford is going through a position change a la Jamari Lattimore.

This much I do know.  The Packers have found 3 rock solid starters, possibly a 4th starter and another player that will contribute in a positive way.  I don’t care how many draft picks you have, if you come away with a haul like that it was a success.  The fact that Green Bay didn’t have drafts with that success rate in 2011 and 2012 largely attributes to the lack of playoff success after the 15-1 season.


Randall Cobb Setting Himself Up For Big Money

cobb stiff arm

It’s no coincidence that the Green Bay Packers’ offense has jump started with the return of the electric and explosive Randall Cobb.

Green Bay’s offense struggled during their 1-2 start in large part because Cobb was showing rust from his broken leg last season and Aaron Rodgers was locking in on Jordy Nelson too much because he had nobody else he trusted. Now, with Cobb returning to form and the emergence of rookie wide receiver Davante Adams, the Packers almost have a complete set of weapons for Rodgers with the only thing missing being a tight end.

Cobb is in line to receive a new big contract next season if he continues to put up these numbers. He caught six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown yesterday against Carolina. That touchdown brought his season total to eight, which leads the NFL.

You do not think of Cobb as a prototypical red zone threat at 5-feet, 10-inches tall. You tend to think of big players like Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant who you can throw fade passes to, although those can be low percentage red zone plays at times. Also, touchdowns can be random and luck driven. For example, Johnson had only five touchdowns in 2009 and 2012, but at least 12 in every other year other than his rookie season. He did not perform any worse in those two years than the others; he just got unlucky with many receptions falling just short of the end zone.


Early Bird Breakdown Week 7: Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers


Early Bird Breakdown Week 7: Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers


Hello all, welcome back for week 7 of the Early Bird Breakdown, the Green Bay Packers hosting the Carolina Panthers. Before we dive in, as always, let’s look back at last weeks matchup’s.


The Recap: Green Bay Packers @ Miami Dolphins

Aaron Rodgers did what he does best, creating something out of nothing and making magic on the football field. With fifteen-seconds left to go on the clock, Rodgers perfectly executed a fake spike and threw the ball to Adams who dashed to the six yard line before being shoved out of bounds with six-seconds left. It was a play first made legendary by Dan Marino, and Rodgers pulled the trick out in Marino’s old stomping ground.



Another magical moment for Rodgers’ highlight reel

The following play Rodgers hooked up to Andrew Quareless on a perfect throw to take the lead with only three-seconds remaining. The defense also took a step forward, only allowing 112 total rushing yards, the lowest so far for Green Bay this season. The Packers’ secondary continues to be the strength of the defense, despite late in the game losing both starting corners in Sam Shields and Tramon Williams. As for the Panthers, they went to overtime against Cincinnati and came away with a tie. While impressive as it is to go into Cincinnati and nearly win (Cincinnati has not lost yet at home), the Panthers ended up blowing the game on defense, having a touchdown lead going into the fourth quarter. 


Game Predictions: Packers vs. Panthers

packers panthers

C.D. Angeli (@TundraVision): It’s been a great week following a great win. The Packers are going to be heading into this game likely without their starting corners, and while House and Hayward are up to the task, any time you’re putting Jarrett Bush out there in the nickel, you’re playing with fire. While Rodgers continues to play en fuego, the running game has been muted all season long, and that’s going to catch up to you one of these days. I think a solid Panther defense is going to be a change for the Packer offense, which is going to be slowed down just enough with some 3-and-outs to keep the Panthers offense on the field, picking on the young corners and the middle of the field. Don’t like to be “that guy”, but I think the Packers are going to struggle at home and the Panthers just might pull out the game with a big play on special teams or a defensive touchdown.

Panthers 28 Packers 27

Jacob Westendorf (@JacobWestendorf):

John Rehor (@jrehor): The big news this week out of Green Bay is that starting CB Sam Shields is out, and fellow starting CB Tramon Williams will be a game time decision. The good thing is the Packers don’t need either of them. Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin is questionable to play. He is their WR corp. QB Cam Newton is also hurt, playing like a shell of himself. If neither of these guys can make a difference, the Panthers offense is going to struggle. Their defense knows about struggles, giving up an average of 392 yards per game so far in 2014. Now they are strolling into Lambeau Field to take on a Packers offense which has been clicking the past three weeks. This game could get ugly. It should get ugly. That’s a good thing for the Packers and their fans.




I swear it seems like the Packers are never playing at Lambeau Field on Sundays.  This sucks because honestly there is no better Sunday than one spent at Lambeau Field and the surrounding area.  Honestly it feels that way because it’s accurate.  The Packers have played one home game on a Sunday so far.  The team has 10 games left and six of those are at home.  Green Bay has already played 4 of their 8 road games this season and has been able to split those contests.  This leaves a very inviting schedule in which the packers have a 6/4 home-road split in their last 10 games with 2 of those road games (Min, TB) being played against teams in the league’s bottom 5.

There’s no excitement for a displaced member of Packer Nation like an upcoming pilgrimage to Lambeau Field.  It takes about 7 1/2 hours to get from my driveway to the promised land of Green Bay, WI.  It’s the shortest 7 1/2 hours there is.  The first time that we made the trip the anticipation was high, never having seen the field before.  Having experienced Packers Gamedays over and over has done nothing to temper the excitement.  It’s still the most wonderful place on earth.