Tag Archives: Detroit Lions

2014 Green Bay Packer and NFC North Preview

Packers NFC North

The 2013 season was a down year for the NFC North. Only the Packers had a winning record last season, winning the division with just 8 wins.  The NFC North had provided wild card teams the previous 4 years, The Packers in 2009 and 2010, the Lions in 2011, and the Vikings in 2012.

While the Packers have dominated the division the past few years, winning the North 2011-13, and making the playoffs every year since 2009, they may have strong competition from the Bears and the Lions,  both of whom have made some potentially impactful additions this offseason.

With the start of training camp just around the corner, here is how I see the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers

2013 Record: 8-7-1

Important Free Agent Additions and Key Draft Picks: Julius Peppers, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers

X Factor:  Health – The Packers are always among the most injured teams in the NFL, and if they hope to compete with the likes of the 49ers and Seahawks, that is going to need to change this year. The Packers are doing and saying all the right things this offseason, taking yoga classes, using a GPS monitoring system to try to help reduce injuries, but will these new strategies actually have an effect on the amount of injuries that the Packers sustain this year?

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Assessing the NFC North Offseason

nfc-north1

Right now we should be getting really excited about the NFL Draft, but Roger Goodell got greedy and moved it back to May so that the NFL could control every month of the year, so we are left with a slow news time for the Packers.

This is a good time to look at what the other three teams in the NFC North have done in the offseason up to this point. If you’re curious to see if their moves have improved their odds of making it to the Super Bowl, take a look here at the updated NFL Lines.

And now, without further ado:

 

Chicago Bears:

Additions:                          Losses:

Lamarr Houston            Julius Peppers

Jared Allen                     Devin Hester

Ryan Mundy                 Henry Melton

M.D. Jennings             Cory Wootton

Willie Young                Michael Bush

Josh McCown

The Bears have had a very busy offseason with all the additions and subtractions listed above and re-signing Jay Cutler, Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman and Matt Slauson. They always seem to “win” the offseason with big moves, but have still not been able to catch the Packers.

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A Little Perspective on the Green Bay Packers

keep calm trust ted

If you guys don’t mind, I’m going to climb up here and look down upon you from my high horse.  From this high horse, I’m going to plead with you, beg you, emplore you to stop complaining about Ted Thompson until after the draft.  Does he make mistakes? Of course he does.  Not addressing the safety or ILB position before last season was a clear error.  I’m certainly not always right either.  I’m right far less often than Thompson is.  I had high hopes for ILB prospect Terrell Manning and S prospect Jerron McMillian.  He’s certainly not perfect.

With that said, the facts are the facts.  What the facts say is that the Green Bay Packers are among the most successful teams in the league during Ted Thompson’s career, despite consistently dealing with more injuries than other franchises.  The Packers are the only team in the NFC to have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last 5 seasons.  The mighty New England Patriots can match that record in the AFC, not exceed it.

The Patriots play in a very weak division with QB play that has ranged from Thaddeus Lewis to Mark Sanchez, and from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Geno Smith.  Only the decidedly average Ryan Tannehill gives anyone hope in that division, and that isn’t saying much.  The Packers on the other hand, over the last 5 years have had to deal with the league’s premier running back, Adrian Peterson, it’s premier wide receiver, Calvin Johnson and up until last season Brian Urlacher and the Bears defense.  The NFC North is a superior division to the AFC East and the Packers have ruled it.

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If Rodgers is cleared to play, he should play

Aaron Rodgers is recovering from a broken collarbone he suffered Nov. 4 vs. Chicago.

Aaron Rodgers is recovering from a broken collarbone he suffered Nov. 4 vs. Chicago.

The Packers still have a beating playoff heartbeat only because the NFC North has turned into the Three Stooges falling all over themselves.

Even after getting smoked by Detroit on Thanksgiving, I cannot give the Lions my full endorsement only because they lost to a bad Tampa Bay team a couple weeks ago.

But now the Packers are at a crossroads. Do they try and salvage the season by inserting the best quarterback in the NFL, who may are may not be 100 percent? Or do they just say enough is enough, shut him down and start anew for 2014?

Obviously season ticket holders never want to hear the Packers wave the white flag but sometimes you have to risk the short term in order to maintain the future.

I don’t think Aaron Rodgers should be forced to sit the rest of the season just because of a freak injury. If the team doctor clears him to play and he wants to play, he should play. The longer he sits out the more he’s going to have time to think about what his collarbone would feel like if a defensive lineman fell on it in the bitter cold.

But let’s not forget that Rodgers’ injury isn’t the only reason this team has been struggling. The Packers cannot stop the run with poor interior defensive line play and secondary has been getting torched all year.

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PackersTalk.com Game Predictions: Packers at Lions

packer lions

Cory Jennerjohn (@coryjennerjohn)

The Lions are giving just 88 yards rushing a game, which means the biggest matchup of the day will be Matt Flynn vs. the nasty Lions’ front four that has 16 sacks as a group. The Lions already smell chum in the water with the way right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Marshall Newhouse are playing. Reggie Bush will have a big game because no linebacker will be able to stay with him.

Lions 31 Packers 23

 

Jacob Westendorf (@jacobwestendorf)

One of the biggest myths that goes around every is the idea that the Lions always play well on Thanksgiving. They are winless in their last 10 Turkey Day contests. Fortunately for them they are playing a Packers team on their fourth starting QB in five weeks. The packers are getting some reinforcements back but just played a five quarter game, with a short week on the road looming. Without Aaron Rodgers that is simply too much to overcome as the lions will win a close one.

Lions 27 Packers 17

 

John Rehor (@jrehor)

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More players should be like Honest Josh

Josh Sitton proved on Tuesday that he can say something other than PR drivel.

Josh Sitton proved on Tuesday that he can say something other than PR drivel.

The moment Mike McCarthy heard about the Josh Sitton comments he probably cringed.

Sitton made his regular appearance on WSSP 1250 AM in Milwaukee on Tuesday and let his emotions flow about the Detroit Lions.

“They go after quarterbacks,” he said the Lions whom the Packers play on Thanksgiving. “Their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time. That’s what they do. That’s who they are. They’re a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags. That’s how they play, and that’s how they’re coached. It starts with their frickin’ coach. It starts with the head coach, Schwartz. He’s a d—, too. I wouldn’t want to play for him. It starts with him, and their D-coordinator and their D-line coach. They’re all just scumbags and so are the D-line.”

Pretty strong words from Sitton.

But he does something that players rarely do nowadays — he was honest. How often do you hear the same tired sound bite from players after games: “We’re just going to take it one game at a time.” Or how about this gem that the quick-witted Colin Kaepernick gave us several times after Monday night’s win over Washington: “We just made plays.” Thanks Kaepnerick, you get at least three plays every drive.

In an age when players are coached to sound like robots, it’s pretty refreshing to hear what exactly is on a player’s mind.

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Behind Enemy Lines with Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com

Behind Enemy lines podcast on Packers Talk Radio Network. Amanda Lawson &

Chris asks Amanda about her experience at Lambeau and informs her that she’s to blame for the tie, then they discuss whether Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn should be under center and how much of a “must win” game it is Thursday against the Lions. They are then joined by Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com, where they discuss the tradition of Thanksgiving football, whether confidence is wavering in Matt Stafford, and then they spend some time fawning over Calvin Johnson (with some Al Harris conversation too?).

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes:

Behind Enemy Lines takes you to the other sideline for a frank and entertaining conversation with an team writer for the team the Green Bay Packers will be facing each weekend. Your hosts, Amanda Lawson and Chris Callaway, bring you what no one else can in the Packers Blogosphere. Read Amanda’s work over at CheeseSportsLife and Chris’s musings at Midwest Sports Fans.

Behind Enemy Lines is just one great podcast in a great lineup of Packers’s podcasts from the Packers Talk Radio Network, serving up enough weekly podcasts to satisfy the most fervent of Packer fans. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe over at iTunes.

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