11

January

2013 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Divisional Round: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2013 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
Kris Burke Seahawks Saints
“Jersey” Al Bracco Seahawks Seahawks
Adam Czech Seachickens Saints
Marques Eversoll Seahawks Saints
Thomas Hobbes Seahawks Seahawks
Cory Jennerjohn Seahawks Saints
Jason Perone Seahawks Saints
Chad Toporski Seahawks Saints
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-7)
Kris Burke Patriots Colts
“Jersey” Al Bracco Colts Colts
Adam Czech Colts Colts
Marques Eversoll Colts Colts
Thomas Hobbes Colts Colts
Cory Jennerjohn Patriots Patriots
Jason Perone Patriots Colts
Chad Toporski Colts Colts
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (+1)
Kris Burke 49ers 49ers
“Jersey” Al Bracco 49ers 49ers
Adam Czech 49ers 49ers
Marques Eversoll 49ers 49ers
Thomas Hobbes Panthers Panthers
Cory Jennerjohn 49ers 49ers
Jason Perone Panthers Panthers
Chad Toporski Panthers Panthers
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-9)
Kris Burke Broncos Chargers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Broncos Chargers
Adam Czech Broncos Chargers
Marques Eversoll Broncos Chargers
Thomas Hobbes Broncos Broncos
Cory Jennerjohn Broncos Chargers
Jason Perone Broncos Broncos
Chad Toporski Broncos Chargers
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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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18

January

Packers Drive Rewind: Good-Bye Running Game?

Mason Crosby Packers-49ers

Mason Crosby ties the game at 24-24 when the Green Bay Packers settle for a field goal on a third quarter drive.

Hopefully we’ve let enough time pass to take a look at this game again. The embarrassing effort by the defense shouldn’t overshadow some of the positive things that happened on offense. Though even they let mistakes get in their way at the most inopportune times…

The Situation

It’s the second half of the Divisional Round game, and both teams have started the third quarter with a three-and-out drive each. The Packers are trailing the 49ers by a field goal (21-24) and are looking to gain back the momentum they lost in the first half. They start their drive at their own 11-yard line after Randall Cobb fails to advance the punt.

The Result

Mike McCarthy calls his first drive of the game sans DuJuan Harris. Looking to get something going, he puts his five best receivers on the field for Aaron Rodgers to work with: Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley. They drive down the field in a no-huddle offense, gaining 76 yards and eating up only 3 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock. Their efforts stall in 49ers territory, however, and the Packers are forced to attempt a field goal. Crosby ties the game at 24-24.

Play 1: Rodgers to Jennings for 2 yards

Despite being on their own 11-yard line, the Packers show their hand immediately on this first play. McCarthy has Rodgers alone in the backfield with his five receivers taking off at the snap. They run some short-route concepts here with Cobb an option for a bubble screen. San Francisco is content to keep things in front of them, running (mostly) a zone scheme. Safety Dashon Goldson has his sights set on Cobb, though, forcing Rodgers to hit Jennings on the out route to his right.

If nothing else, this play gets the engine primed for the upcoming drive.

Play 2: Rodgers to Jennings for 30 yards

Give Rodgers a nice clean pocket with time to spare and he’ll make these plays just about every time. Cobb starts out in the backfield, but motions to the left slot. On the right side, Jennings runs a deep fly route to stretch the defense. With the corner playing inside leverage and the safety running deep, Rodgers is able to connect with Jennings on the back shoulder throw. The safety is in position to make the immediate tackle, but it’s not enough to stop a 30-yard gain that really gets the offense’s motor going.

12

January

Game Predictions: Packers vs. 49ers Divisional Round from AllGBP.COM (with Podcast)

GAME PREDICTIONS
Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 12-5 San Francisco 49ers 28-35
I waffled more than Brett Favre over retirement on this one. Make me the one trying for some reverse psychology this week, but the game could go either way. I think Rodgers plays outstanding but the defense learns quickly Kaepernick is no Joe Webb. 49ers won the game on a TD as time expires.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 11-6 Green Bay Packers 20-17
While all the talk about the 49ers defense is the front seven, it’s the secondary that beat the Packers the first time around. YAC were non-existent for the Packers wide receivers that day. With the Packers defense much improved since week one, I consider this a dead-even game. Can’t pick against the Packers now. Go Pack!
Adam Czech 13-4 Green Bay Packers 28-24
I’ve switched my pick at least 37 times this week. I’ve finally decided that I can’t pick against Aaron Rodgers when the other QB is Colin Kapernick. The first-year starter is dangerous, but he’s no Rodgers. Look for Rodgers to have one of those MVP-type of games, making plays through the air and running for first downs. If he doesn’t have one of those types of games, well, let’s not talk about that…
Marques Eversoll 13-4 Green Bay Packers 31-27
This has all the makings of an instant classic. I really think the winner of this game will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and ultimately I think Aaron Rodgers outshines Colin Kaepernick in the first playoff start of his young career. The Packers are running the ball better and playing better defense than they were against the 49ers in the season opener. It will be a close game, but I’ll side with McCarthy and Rodgers over Harbaugh and Kaepernick. Packers to the NFC Championship.
Thomas Hobbes 12-5 Green Bay Packers 24-21
12

January

2012 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Divisional Round: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2012 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos (-9)
Kris Burke Broncos Broncos
“Jersey” Al Bracco Broncos Ravens
Adam Czech Broncos Broncos
Marques Eversoll Broncos Broncos
Thomas Hobbes Broncos Broncos
Jason Perone Broncos Ravens
Chad Toporski Ravens Ravens
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-3)
Kris Burke 49ers 49ers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Packers Packers
Adam Czech Packers Packers
Marques Eversoll Packers Packers
Thomas Hobbes Packers Packers
Jason Perone 49ers 49ers
Chad Toporski 49ers Packers
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5)
Kris Burke Falcons Falcons
“Jersey” Al Bracco Falcons Falcons
Adam Czech Seachickens Seachickens
Marques Eversoll Seahawks Seahawks
Thomas Hobbes Falcons Falcons
Jason Perone Falcons Falcons
Chad Toporski Seahawks Seahawks
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-9.5)
Kris Burke Patriots Texans
“Jersey” Al Bracco Patriots Texans
Adam Czech Patriots Texans
Marques Eversoll Patriots Patriots
Thomas Hobbes Patriots Patriots
Jason Perone Patriots Patriots
Chad Toporski Patriots Texans

Current Standings:

Kris Burke, 5-3
“Jersey” Al Bracco, 8-0
Adam Czech, 6-2
Marques Eversoll, 5-3
Thomas Hobbes, 3-5
Jason Perone, 3-5
Chad Toporski, 6-2

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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11

January

Packers vs. 49ers: Colin Kaepernick and the Big Play

Colin KaepernickWhen the Green Bay Packers travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers in the NFL Divisional Round on Saturday, a lot will be made of how different these two teams are compared to when they met in Week 1. In fact, a lot of people are already making those contrasts in their game analyses. One of the big changes to the 49ers offense is, of course, the emergence of Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.

A lot of talk concerning Kaepernick will revolve around the option offense that he runs. His mobility and the threat of running backs like Frank Gore and LaMichael James make the scheme a difficult one to stop. But one thing that can’t be overlooked is the ability of Kaepernick to throw the ball deep.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Colin Kaepernick is the most accurate starting quarterback when it comes to the deep ball (throws of 20 yards or more). His 60.6% accuracy percentage ranks significantly higher than most, and even the second-ranked quarterback in this category – none other than Aaron Rodgers – boasts only 53.2% accuracy.

He’s also attempted more deep passes than most, with 15.1% of his dropbacks ending up in long downfield throws. (Only Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman, and Jake Locker have attempted more.)

And on his 33 deep attempts, Kaepernick has completed 19 for 595 yards, 5 touchdowns, and one interception. With 10 touchdowns on the year, that means half of them have come on the deep ball.

In short, the Green Bay Packers defense will have its hands full on Saturday. Not only must the front six or seven work to contain the rushing game, but the secondary must shut down the big play. The safeties in particular will play a key role in this game, as they will have to stay in position to keep the receivers in closing distance. They won’t be able to crowd the box and bite on the run as they were able to do against the Vikings.

The cornerbacks will also have a full plate on their hands, with the likes of Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, and Vernon Davis to contend with.

14

January

Packers vs. Giants: Home Field and The X-Factor

Aaron Rodgers will use the hard count this weekend to help keep the Giants' pass rush at bay.

All week, the discussion surrounding the Green Bay Packers’ Divisional Round game has been primarily about their matchup with the New York Giants’ defensive line. It seems to be the biggest focal point of the whole game, especially with the young talents of Jason Pierre-Paul matching up against veteran Chad Clifton.

But there is an X-factor to this “battle in the trenches” that hasn’t been mentioned much: Aaron Rodgers’ use of the hard count.

It’s no surprise that the Green Bay Packers are looking forward to having the home field advantage. For one, they don’t have to travel, but most importantly, they don’t have to deal with a hostile crowd. As someone who witnessed the last Packers-Giants matchup at MetLife Stadium, I can attest to the impact of crowd noise.

The “twelfth man” can create a lot of stress for opposing offenses. Sometimes they will revert to a silent snap count, which affords the defense an edge in getting off the line as quickly as the offense. Other times it can create communication problems which lead to pre-snap penalties and clock management issues.

Let’s not forget, though, what advantages are provided to the home offense.

Finding ways to slow down the Giants’ pass rush will be important for a Packers victory. Common tactics include establishing a solid ground attack, utilizing screen passes and draw plays, and chip blocking the outside rushers with tight ends.

The hard count, though, can be just as useful as any of these strategies, and sometimes more deadly.

Aaron Rodgers has made it public knowledge that he works on vocal techniques as part of his quarterback training. Though he won’t share his secrets, it’s clear that whatever he does is working. His ability to work the snap count has proven extremely advantageous in getting defenders to jump offsides. And after securing a “free play,” he makes sure to take his shot down the field.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any statistics that could be presented in support of this statement; however, I think we have all witnessed this in action on more than one occasion this year. On the weekly Aaron Rodgers Show with ESPN Milwaukee reporter Jason Wilde, he has even admitted his frustration to referees blowing these plays dead, eliminating the chance for a big passing opportunity.

14

January

2011 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round – Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2011 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round
Name Straight Up
Against the Spread
New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers (+3.5)
Kris Burke Saints Saints
“Jersey” Al Bracco Saints Saints
Adam Czech Saints 49ers
Thomas Hobbes Saints Saints
Zach Kruse Saints Saints
Chad Toporski 49ers 49ers
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-13.5)
Kris Burke Patriots Broncos
“Jersey” Al Bracco Patriots Patriots
Adam Czech Patriots Broncos
Thomas Hobbes Patriots Patriots
Zach Kruse Patriots Broncos
Chad Toporski Patriots Patriots
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7.5)
Kris Burke Ravens Ravens
“Jersey” Al Bracco Ravens Texans
Adam Czech Ravens Texans
Thomas Hobbes Texans Texans
Zach Kruse Ravens Texans
Chad Toporski Ravens Texans
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-8.5)
Kris Burke Packers Giants
“Jersey” Al Bracco Packers Packers
Adam Czech Packers Giants
Thomas Hobbes Packers Giants
Zach Kruse Giants Giants
Chad Toporski Packers Giants

Current Standings:

“Jersey” Al Bracco, 6-2
Thomas Hobbes, 5-3
Zach Kruse, 5-3
Chad Toporski, 5-3
Kris Burke, 2-6

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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