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
Another week, another read-option QB for the Packers to defend, and this one is a heck of a lot better than Ryan Tannehill. The Packers defense eventually has to figure out how to defend the read-option, right? I don’t know if that will happen this week and I expect Cam Newton to have a big game.
Overall I expect the Packers offense, with the hottest QB in the league, to do enough to get the win. Packers 32-27.
Season Record: 6-0
I’m starting to think that this Packers team is getting things turned around. The offense has been very efficient and Capers new defense started to show some life, in second half vs. Bears and against the Vikings.
My thinking on Capers is that he historically keeps adding complexity to his defense, season after season, until it becomes too complicated and it actually slows his defense down. McCarthy forcing Capers to rebuild his scheme may have been the ticket to improved performance. Today will be a good test for the defense. Dolphins coach Philbin is very familiar with Capers as a defensive coordinator and his team has a very good rushing game.
I think the Dolphins’ offense will give this team some trouble, however I suspect the Packers’ offense will be just too much for the Dolphins’ defense. Packers 34-27
Season Record: 5-0
I fully expect a Packers victory tonight. In spite of the Vikings dominant win over the Falcons, I don’t think that they will be able to threaten victory against the Packers at Lambeau, especially in a prime time game.
After the terrible rush defense vs. the Bears one of the main things everyone is interested to see is how the Packers defense will respond against what looks like a very good Vikings rushing attack. Watching that Bears game live I was convinced the interior line of the Packers (Guion, Boyd, Daniels, D. Jones, etc.) were completely overmatched and dominated. After watching the coaches’ tape I came away with a much different impression. A good part of the blame falls on the linebackers. The inside linebackers were too easily blocked and/or charging into the wrong gap. The outside linebackers, including a few terrible plays by Peppers, were also slow to pinch inside. While the interior line was far from perfect, a good portion of their mistakes I would classify as being over-aggressive. Things like charging past the play, or over-committing and creating cutback lanes. I agree with Mike McCarthy that a few technical adjustments could result in significant improvement.
I expect the Packers defense will respond well this week and have a solid game. Prediction: Packers 27-16
Season Record: 4-0