Packers Stock Report: Divisional Playoff Round Edition
Hopefully the Packers didn’t spend their playoff bye week the same way I spent mine: Overeating, overdrinking and overtanning on the beach in Mexico. My cholesterol, blood-alcohol level and waist-line are at all-time highs right now.
If I had to play against the Giants on Sunday, they would have to hoist me into a wheelbarrow, push me onto the field, and dump me at the 50-yard line. My massive girth would probably manage to come up with at least one tackle. At the very least, the ballcarrier would be slowed by having to run around my Corona-filled belly.
But enough about me. I didn’t see any Packers players on the beach or in the bars so they were (probably) getting ready to play the Giants and win a Super Bowl.
This week’s stock report is different than the others. Since the Packers didn’t play, I’m listing five players that need to play at either a rising or steady level on Sunday. If each player does this, the Packers should win and play for the NFC championship at Lambeau Field.
Ever since the Packers defense gave up a bunch of long passes to the Giants in Week 13, it seems like Dom Capers has instructed his CBs to give opposing WRs a huge cushion at the line of scrimmage. I think a lack of trust in Peprah plays a role in Capers’ conservative approach. Peprah was bad against the Giants and hasn’t been consistent in doing what any safety needs to do: provide coverage over the top to defend the deep pass. If Peprah has a good game on Sunday, it means the Giants aren’t connecting on long bombs. If Peprah has an outstanding game on Sunday, it also means the Giants TEs are contained and their run game is limited. I’d settle for two of the three.
Welcome back, Chad. Now go out there and block Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Clifton was as sturdy as ever in the playoffs last season and, if healthy, I have no doubt he’ll hold his own against whomever the Giants line up across from him. If Clifton is good, and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell gets frustrated and starts blitzing, Rodgers will pick it apart and the Packers will roll.
I’ve lost most of what little faith I ever had in A.J. Hawk, so it’s up to Bishop to be the guy that doesn’t get dragged for extra yards every time he has to tackle Brandon Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw. I’ve also lost most of what little faith I ever had in any OLB not named Clay Matthews to provide a pass rush, so if Bishop can help out in that area on stunts up the middle, that’d be great.
Remember when Williams’s stock rose every week? It’s plateaued, but I don’t think it’s because he’s suddenly become a bad CB. He’s just been more inconsistent that he was all of last season. The Packers don’t need Williams to suddenly morph into Darrelle Revis, but they do need him to play like the No. 1 cover-corner on the roster. Yes, it’s nice to have the depth that the Packers have, but you win titles with stars. Williams was a star during last season’s run and he needs to consistently play at a star level for the remainder of this season.
Plain and simple: If Finley catches the ball when it hits him in the hands, the Packers will score plenty of points and likely win the game.