Really surprised how much negativity the Packers have gathered entering this game against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are only 4-4.5 underdogs against the Packers, since the common view is a home team gets 3 points this means that the “money” thinks the 10-3 Packers are only a 1-1.5 point better team than the 7-6 Bills. To me, this just seems crazy. I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would put my money on the Packers.
Why this negativity? I think it comes down to 3 things:
- Kyle Orton – Based on his win when QB of the Chiefs over the Packers in 2011, spoiling the Packers perfect regular season, he seems to be viewed as a Packers killer.
- Bills Defensive Line – The Bills defense leads the league in sacks and gets a ton of pressure rushing only 4 linemen. Being able to pressure Rodgers with 4 and dedicate 7 to coverage is supposed to shutdown the MVP favorite.
- Packers road record – There seems to be a lot of agreement that the Packers are a different team at home than on the road. Their 3-3 road record seems to justify this position.
Will the Packers struggle in Buffalo? They probably will to some extent, I doubt it will be an easy game. But the Packers are clearly the better team and more often than not the better team will win after 60 minutes.
For this prediction I see a competitive game, but just too much Rodger, Nelson, Cobb and Lacy, Starks and company for the Bills to handle. I also expect a much better effort from the Packers defense than they showed against the Falcons. Prediction: Packers 31-20
Season Record: 12-1
I expect the Packers are well aware of what happened this weekend. The Seahawks look like they are regaining their Super Bowl form and the Lions are right on the Packers heals in the NFC North. The Packers must realize that their odds of getting past the Seahawks and into the Super Bowl are greatly improved if any playoff meeting occurs in Lambeau Field. With this much on the line I don’t expect the Packers will take the 5-7 Falcons lightly. Prediction: Packers 37-24
Season Record: 11-1
Is this game a Super Bowl preview? Who knows? Both of these teams were marked for dead at points during the season and a lot can still happen in the last 5 games of the season.
While the Packers are still marginal favorites (2.5 – 3.0 points) they have not been getting a lot of credit by national pundits. Watching the CBS pregame, all 4 “experts” predicted a Patriots win. One even predicted they would blow out the Packers, because the Patriots had been “blowing people out” lately. I guess he had not bothered to watch any of the Packers home games this year.
I don’t expect a blow out in this game, but if there was one, I would expect the home team would be the one delivering it. I expect a close game that will go down to the wire. It really is a toss-up type game. With how well the Packers have played at home this season I just can’t pick against them. Prediction: Packers 34-31
Season Record: 10-1
This week the Packers face the perfect example of a trap game. Sandwiched between home games vs. the Eagles and Patriots, the Packers find themselves on the road vs. one of the weaker teams in the league. For the Packers there is nothing to win, for the Vikings, this is their Super Bowl. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings come out fast and the Packers struggle early. However through the course of the game the talent should overcome the early emotion and the Packers should win going away. Prediction: Packers: 31-17
Season Record: 9-1
Last week I technically got my prediction correct when I took the Packers over the Bears. However, I was way off in that I was actually concerned that it would be a close, whoever has the ball last type of game, win.
This week I am much more confident in a Packers win, and I’m not totally sure why The Eagles are a much better team than the Bears. Marc Sanchez looks to be a much better QB than Cutler, and there is no comparison between the Eagles and Bears defense.
So why am I confident? I think it has to do with a feeling that Capers finally has this defense on the right track. That huge hole up the middle of the defense looks like it has finally been addressed. Improved safety play with the addition of Clinton-Dix and Hyde has completely revitalized Burnett. Likewise pairing Clay Mathews with Hawk has dramatically improved the inside linebacker spot. I think Capers might finally have the pieces in place to run his complicated schemes.
I still think the Eagles will put up points against the Packers. After all they have a really good offense. I just don’t think they will be able to match Aaron Rodgers and company in Lambeau. Prediction: Packers: 37-27
Season Record: 8-1
Having the worst rush defense in the league through the first half of the season does not happen by accident. I said entering the season that the Packers had problems up the middle of their defense and they still do. The defensive line is soft against the run, and no I don’t think BJ Raji would have been any better than Letroy Guion. The inside linebackers are in a word, terrible and it’s an embarrassment that the Packers went into the season thinking Brad Jones was a starting linebacker.
The only way this game will not be a shootout will be if Cutler, is once again Cutler and turns the ball over 2 or more times. If the Bears were smart, their offensive game plan should feature Matt Forte. The Packers have proven they can’t stop the run, and there is no good reason to believe they will be able to even slow down the Bears rushing attack if they choose to commit to it.
I see the Packers winning this one, but only if they win the turnover battle. The Packers who may be playing without both starting offensive guards could struggle. Prediction: Packers 35-32
Season Record: 7-1
I’m very torn on this prediction. I have been going back and forth all week. Reasons I think the Saints may win include:
- The Saints are typically very strong at home, especially during prime-time games.
- It’s easy to overlook the Saints and their 2-4 record and forget that they have the #2 ranked passing offense in the NFL.
- If Jimmy Graham is healthy the Saints have the perfect weapon to attack the Packers defensive soft spot at ILB. In fact this game may come down to the health of Jimmy Graham.
- Packers’ defense has looked improved, especially vs. the pass but they have not yet faced a passer as good as Drew Brees.
The reason I think the Packers will win:
- Aaron Rodgers is hot and typically plays great in the controlled environment of a dome.
- Packers’ pass rush has been very good (Packers are ranked #5 vs. the pass), and the one thing Brees does not have is the mobility that allowed Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton to escape several sack attempts.
- Packers’ offense should have a lot of success vs. the Saints’ 28th ranked pass defense.
I may be picking this one with my heart, instead of my head, but I see the Packers bringing their ‘A’ game and coming out of this one with a win. Packers: 37-34.
Season Record: 7-0