Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Vikings Will Win The NFC North This Season | Packers Falling Apart

Aaron Rodgers
The Green Bay Packers started the season 6-0, and were playing about as good of football as a team could play. The defense was ranked number one in the league, the special teams was playing great again, and with an All-Pro at quarterback, things were looking good in Titletown. Three straight losses have changed all of that in a hurry.

One thing I've heard in my debates with friends and others over the last week or so is the idea that we need to remember that these are the Packers, and in the modern era, the Packers always figure it out. It may look rough at times, but somehow, someway, they always figure out a way to get the job done. Yes, that may be true, but here is the counter-argument. We have never, since the reemergence of  Packers franchise in the early 1990's, seen these modern era Packers self-destruct like this. Before I go any further, let's take a look, piece by piece, at the ingredients for this self-destruction, starting with the man under center, Aaron Rodgers.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the best in the business. Yes, he has played the position at a level we've never seen until now.  However Rodgers has a serious case of “Brett Favre Superstar” right now. So what does that mean? At the moment, this man, has his head, stuck so far up his butt, it's not even funny. He says the Packers are fine and they don't have any real problems. Really? Sorry to break it to you, but the Packers have problems right now, they've never had in the modern era. There is more to this as well. About a year ago, his relationship with Olivia Munn became public, and when it did, the mystery of Aaron Rodgers started to disappear. Up until about a year ago, when he wasn't in front of a camera in a Packers uniform or conducting interviews in reference to the Packers, Aaron Rodgers was a complete mystery off the field to the rest of us. I have to watch my words here, but Rodgers private life was a black box. He could have had a couple of small children. He could have had a 12-year-old half Japanese son somewhere. He could have been a skydiver, street racer, rally car racer, motocross racer, dirt bike trick artist, skateboarder, roller-blader, skier, snowboarder, bear wrestler, whatever. He could have been any of these things, and we wouldn't have known any better. This really played to his advantage on the field and now, with his relationship with Munn public, with us now knowing things about him personally that we didn't know before, that mystique has disappeared.

In addition, we have two other offensive problems, neither of which can be fixed in the middle of the season. Eddie Lacy is having a nightmare 2015 season, and yes, it is due to his weight issues. The Packers “official” statement on the matter is that Lacy's weight is not an issue, but as any trainer will tell you, it is. Lacy is extremely overweight, even for his standards. This is not something that can be fixed in season, so the Packers and Lacy are stuck with this for the rest of the season. Then there is the problem with what is going on with the receivers. Aaron Rodgers is frustrated right now. He is being dared by opposing defenses to go vertical. He can't. Jordy Nelson is standing on the sidelines with a torn ACL, Greg Jennings is gone, and James Jones doesn't have nearly the giddy-up he had four years ago. The only hope at this point is getting Jeff Janis on the field, but the team seems adamant against him playing for some reason. So unless Randall Cobb grows three inches, or one of these other receivers magically gets faster, this problem can't be fixed during the season either. Ted Thompson not drafting and developing a vertical wide receiver at some point in the last few years is really coming back to haunt the Packers right now.

Then there is the team attitude. In case you missed it, a fight broke out on the Packers sideline among their own players two weeks ago against Carolina. When players start fighting on the sideline with their own teammates during a game, that does not say team chemistry, that says we have a team that should be in panic mode. In fact, we've never seen the Packers players start fighting with each other before in the modern era. We've seen Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy yell at each other once or twice, but never players pushing and shoving.

What makes this self-destruction is not these factors alone, but the response to these factors. Over the last 25 years or so, every time the Packers have faced adversity, they have come responded energetically, animated, and made the proper adjustments. Not this time though. What do we see now? We see a team that is lifeless, has no emotion, no energy, and no answer for what is happening to them. We also see a team in denial, thinking that everything is alright when it clearly isn't. That would be like Edward John Smith, the Captain of the Titanic, thinking everything was alright after being told the ship was in two pieces. The bottom line is that the Packers are imploding like we have never seen from them before. Not only are the Vikings going to win this division because of it, they are going to win it easily.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Packers Flop at Mile High Stadium | Pathers Are Next Up

Packers versus Broncos
The Sunday night game between the Broncos and Packers was billed as a great match up between two of the NFL's five remaining un-beatens and was supposed to be the game of the week.

It turned out to be anything but that.

The Packers turned in their worst performance of the season against the best defense in the league. Add into that the fact that Peyton Manning played his best game in over a year, and you have the makings for a 29-10 embarrassment on national television for this proud organization. Aaron Rodgers? Well he decided that Sunday night he was going to have the worst game of his career against the best defense in the league. Rodgers finished the night 14 of 22 for just 77 yards, averaging just 3.5 yards per completion. The Packers need to find some offensive identity, and they need to find it fast.

On the defensive side of the ball, the defense played its worst game of 2015 by far, giving up 29 points, to a below average Broncos offense. The worst part of it is the Packers allowed for Peyton Manning to throw for 340 yards. Now, some you might say that if you hold Peyton Manning to 340 yards passing you should get a crown. Well, that was Peyton Manning, 10 years ago. In 2015, it is an embarrassment to allow that man to throw for more than 250.

So what to make of all of this? Well, I'm not surprised by this performance, at all. I figured this team was due for one these games. These Packers are a strange bunch mentally. How can a team look so good, almost unbeatable at times, then turn around, and every once in a while, play one of these types of games where they look so bad? There is no middle ground with this bunch either. You have to go all the way back to week 17, 2012, in Minnesota, where the Packers lost on a last second field goal 37-34, to find the last time the Green Bay Packers simply lost a game, straight up, nothing more, nothing less. Ever since that day, the every game the Packers have lost outside of the meltdown in the NFC championship game last season, which is a whole other matter, can be attributed to one of two things- either the lack of Aaron Rodgers in the lineup (2013), or the simple fact that, like Sunday night, they just flat played like crap and looked like they didn't care whether they won, lost, or lost by 50. These Packers are STRANGE, and they just do this from time to time, which is why I am not surprised. At the same time though, this is why this team will never go undefeated, ever. They have the ability to, and show us that they can, but they just do this a couple of times a year, play like that.

Still, they make it work, and you have to give them credit for that. It may be strange, it may be unusual, but they sure do make it work.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of The 2015 Green Bay Packers Season

Packers 2015 Bye Week
Well, we have reached the Packers bye week, and they are 6-0. This is a nice change from their usual shenanigans of starting slow and telling everyone to relax. Usually at this point in time I am calling up my friend Jon Swartz on the phone and telling the world is coming to an end because the Packers started 1-2, or 2-3, or whatever. I thought it would be a nice idea to look at what I like and don't like right now about these Packers. 

What I don't like in Packerland

First and foremost, I don't like all of these injuries. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, James Jones, T.J. Lang, Brian Bulaga, Eddie Lacy, Andrew Quarless, Josh Boyd, Sam Barrington, Morgan Burnett, Nick Perry, and B.J. Raji have all dealt with injuries so far this season in some form. Nelson, Barrington, and Boyd are all done for the year. We won't see Quarless until after Thanksgiving. Bulaga returned earlier than expected. Montgomery may or may not be able to play at the moment in the Broncos game in two weeks. The rest of them, well I do expect most of them to be able to play in two weeks against Denver.

I don't like the lack of a vertical passing game. This is where this team misses Jordy Nelson. Still, they have a guy named Jeff Janis on the roster. Janis could be a dangerous deep threat, IF THEY WOULD JUST PUT HIM IN THE DANG LINEUP AND PLAY HIM! Janis has the potential to stretch the field as good as anyone out there, he just needs to play. I don't like them going away from the running game either. The Packers the last two seasons have had a great running game with Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy has been hurt though, so you can't really blame him. Starks on the other hand hasn't. Maybe Starks needs another runner with him in the lineup. Either way, they need to fix this soon. 

What I like in Packerland

I like the Packers ability now to play defense. For the first time in a long time, I have faith in this defense to be able to get off the field the whole game with great consistency. This has been anchored by a healthy B.J. Raji returning to form. 2015 B.J. Raji has been 2010 B.J. Raji. In other words, B.J. Raji is playing like the guy they drafted. This past offseason he slimmed down, got more athletic, is back at his natural position, playing his natural technique. He has dominated the line of scrimmage so far this season and has set the point of attack. Yes he didn't play against the Chargers because of a groin injury, but he is expected to play against the Broncos. I like the play of Clay Matthews so far this season. Matthews has dominated both inside and out. In fact, Matthews might very well be the NFL's defensive player of the year at the moment.  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Week Five NFL Predictions | New England Will Win in Overtime

It's week five of the NFL season. Some teams have surged, while others have shown that they just don't have what it takes to win.  Who will come out ahead by next Monday night?  Here are my predictions.

(W) Indianapolis @ Houston- Andrew Luck is going to play in this game after missing the first game of his NFL career last week due to injury. Colts win 34-13.

Chicago @ Kansas City(W)- Alex Smith is playing well right now. Chiefs win 30-16.
Seattle @ Cincinnati(W)- This Bengals bunch is the best team in the league right now. Cincinnati wins 34-17.
Washington @ Atlanta(W)- The Falcons are off to great start, especially on offense. This is a blowout with the Falcons winning 45-13.
(W)Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay- In the “who cares” game of the week, we have Blake Bortles vs. Jameis Winston. Jaguars win 20-10.
Cleveland @ Baltimore(W)- The Ravens continue to climb out of their 0-3 start with another win, 35-10.
Buffalo @ Tennessee(W)- The Bills have finally figured out they suck. Titans win 30-17.
(W)Arizona @ Detroit- The Lions woeful start to 2015 continues with another loss, this time to the Cardinals at home 34-23.
(W)New England @ Dallas- The Patriots return from their bye week and the Cowboys are a mess. This one has the makings of a blowout. Or is it? The Patriots win in overtime 30-23.
Denver @ Oakland(W)- Boy, this Broncos team has been the luckiest bunch in the league through the first four weeks of the season. Their luck has got to run out at some point and I think it is going to happen this Sunday in Oakland. Raiders win 38-24.
San Francisco @ New York Giants(W)- The Giants team are the new favorites in the NFC East. Colin Kaepernick is going backwards in his development. Victor Cruz could return any week now. Giants win 31-6 and Kaepernick is benched by Thanksgiving.
Pittsburgh @ San Diego(W)- If Big Ben was playing, this would be the other way around, but it isn't. Chargers get to 3-2 and one game back of the Broncos despite their injuries. Chargers win 34-27.