17

November

Packers 13 vs. Giants 27: Game Day First Impressions Unfiltered

Game Notes: What sort of team will the Packers be under Scott Tolzein?  Fans got flashes of potential against the Eagles but also a lot of mental mistakes.  With a week to prepare as a starter, backup quarterbacks typically do about 9% better as the starter, will this be enough to overcome a lost Giants squad that’s finally righted the ship?

Inactives (via Packers.com):

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
13 WR Chris Harper
29 CB Casey Hayward
37 CB Sam Shields
53 LB Nick Perry
55 LB Andy Mulumba
67 T/G Don Barclay

16 QB Scott Tolzien will start for Rodgers; 31 CB Davon House will start for Shields; 96 LB Mike Neal will start for Perry; 74 T Marshall Newhouse will start for Barclay.

New York Giants
9 QB Ryan Nassib
23 CB Corey Webster
44 RB Peyton Hillis
59 LB Allen Bradford
61 C Dallas Reynolds
78 DT Markus Kuhn
81 TE Adrien Robinson

38 CB Trumaine McBride will start for Webster.

1st Quarter

  • Packers kick off, defense gets the first shot.
  • Packers defense looks pretty much the same, a couple good stops followed by a huge gain.
  • The Packers look lost or depressed, two 12-man on the field penalties basically shows they’re not into it right now.
  • Rueben Randle runs a nice mini pick route where the cornerback have to swap responsibilities and scores the touchdown.  You’d like to see tighter coverage by Micah Hyde but overall better offensive play and poor defensive play.
  • Good stop by MD Jennings leads to a 40 yard field goal for the Giants, I think this is the way that the Capers’ defense is supposed to work, give up some yards, but make the stop and force them to take 3 instead of 6.
  • Score: Giants 7, Packers 0

2nd Quarter

  • Out of nowhere, 70 yards of passing on two plays, 25 yards to Jordy Nelson aand 45 yards to James Jones; hopefully this opens up the box for Lacy and Starks.
  • I bet McCarthy is itching to give up on the run, but he knows he has to feed Lacy the ball.
  • Tramon Williams shows why he got that big contract in 2010, what an acrobatic interception.
  • Oh Marshall Newhouse, I thought you were supposed to be good against speed rushers…
15

November

Packers Periscope: Week 11 vs. New York Giants

The Past: The two teams that always seem to cause the Packers trouble in the past couple years are the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants.  Packers fans obviously remember Brett Favre’s last pass as a Packer going to a Corey Webster in the NFC Championship game in 2008; Packers fans will also remember the Giants manhandling the Packers in the 2011 playoffs when quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surprising only average while the defense finally collapsed and lost the game for the team.

However the last meeting between these two teams was perhaps the most lopsided; the Giants won 38-10 in 2012 season again embarrassing the Packers.  Outside of one spectacular 61 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, Rodgers was largely ineffective, going 13 for 24 for 158 yards and an interception.  The running game didn’t do the offense many favors either, totaling 82 yards with a 3.7 ypc split between Alex Green, James Starks and John Kuhn.  The defense stuck to their “bend but don’t break” philosophy, but missing both Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews, allowed 3 Eli Manning touchdowns while the Giants running game ground the Packers down with 31 carries for 147 yards from Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.

With the loss, the Packers fell to 2nd place in the NFC North while the Giants snapped a two game losing streak and got back into the NFC East playoff race.  However a loss to the resurgent Redskins (headed by rookie sensation Robert Griffin III) the next week followed by a loss against Baltimore in week 16 eliminated them the NFC East crown and a loss by the Lions to the Bears at the end of the regular season eliminated them from the playoffs all together.

During the offseason, multiple changes were made including the release of starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw and the notable drafting of right tackle Justin Pugh, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and quarterback Ryan Nassib.  Overall, the 2013 draft class has been disappointing of late, Pugh ranks 56th out of 76 eligible tackles, Hankins has played 74 snaps the entire season while Nassib still hasn’t supplanted Curtis Painter (yes, that Curtis Painter) as the backup quarterback.

28

September

Cory’s Corner: Clutch stats are synonymous with luck

Aaron Rodgers is 5-17 in games decided by four points or fewer.

Aaron Rodgers is 5-17 in games decided by four points or fewer.

After the Bengals came back to beat the Packers, the fourth quarter statistics came pouring through like a poorly constructed dam.

Coach Mike McCarthy is now 9-20 in games decided by four points or fewer and Aaron Rodgers is 5-17.

I realize those numbers look pathetic. Nobody wants to be under .500 in this league at anything.

But a good barometer for the “clutch” statistic is Eli Manning. When the Giants inched into the 2007 playoffs with a 10-6 record he engineered fourth quarter or later comebacks from the divisional playoff all the way to the Super Bowl.

I say that luck is a pretty good synonym for clutch. Did Manning have anything to do with forcing Brett Favre’s interception? Of course that set up the eventual 47-yard game-winning field goal and put the Giants in the big game. Once there, Manning needed a 3rd and 5 completion to David Tyree — who is no longer in the league — to keep the hope alive.

But as you remember, it wasn’t just a completion, Tyree caught the ball against his helmet with defenders draped all over him. New York ended the Patriots’ march to perfection and it was all because Manning led a clutch drive that saw him heave up a 32-yard desperation pass that somehow found enough helmet to be hauled in.

Taking it one step further, Rodgers is 5-24 when he’s got the ball in the fourth quarter trailing by 1-8 points.

How many of those were missed field goals, a dropped pass, a blown coverage or a bonehead penalty? Any one or a combination of those things can quickly turn a definite win into a loss.

“You can throw a bunch of numbers into a can and sort them different ways and come up with strengths and weaknesses and you can believe what you want to believe,” McCarthy said on Monday. “I think you really have to stay in tune with individuals especially in a team sport where you have 11 people on the field at once.”

To prove how silly the clutch stat is, Jay Cutler has a better clutch winning percentage than Peyton Manning. Now I don’t think anyone is crazy enough to think that Cutler is a better overall quarterback than Manning, who is cutting through defenses with so much meticulous-like precision that he reminds me of a surgeon.

25

November

Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants Key Matchups

New York Giants defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora

The Packers are hoping they don’t see their #12 in this predicament on Sunday night

Packers Offensive Line vs. Giants Defensive Line

This is probably THE key to this game for the Packers.  Their offensive line has struggled when all of their regular starters were healthy and in position.  Now add to that a shuffled line to account for the loss of right tackle Bryan Bulaga against one of the best front four in the game.

While the Giants defensive front hasn’t had the mind-blowing season like they had a year ago, they are still very formidable.  After the success they had in getting to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in last season’s divisional playoff game, they will be looking to duplicate that output.   Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck have accounted for 14.5 of the team’s 25 sacks this season.  Throw in four more by veteran end Osi Umenyiora and the Giants have a very deep and talented pass rush.

Dubbed the “NASCAR” package, New York’s front line will be looking to simply overpower and out-maneuver the Packers.  They want to collapse the pocket back into Rodgers and try to force a bad throw or get the sack.  They were able to wreak havoc on the Packers offense in that playoff game and it led to some turnovers.  Rodgers typically fares well against the blitz but the Giants may not have to bring extra bodies if their front four can get a push on their own.

The Packers are clearly aware of what is headed their way and have to be diligent in game-planning for it.  Any extra protection will go a long way to keep Green Bay’s chances of driving and moving the ball alive.  Of course, so would a productive running game, but there is no reason to think the Packers will suddenly get it going on the ground.  A better alternative would be the short pass (quick slant to Jordy Nelson or James Jones) and putting the backs in place to be a safety valve if all else fails.  The screen just hasn’t been there all season long so the check down could become a good friend of Rodgers’ before the day is up.

24

November

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 12: Packers vs Giants Preview

Eli Manning

Will Eli Manning shred the Packers again or can Green Bay avenge their playoff loss from last season?

It’s a game Green Bay Packers fans likely have had circled on their calendar since the schedule was released in spring.

At the end of last season, the New York Giants brought the Packers’ magical 15-1 season to dead stop as they beat Green Bay 37-20 at Lambeau Field on their way to the Super Bowl XLVI title.  It was one of the most stunning defeats in franchise history and the players and fans have been waiting patiently for a chance at revenge.

This Sunday, they get their chance.  The Packers get to face the Giants in New York Sunday night. The Packers are coming off an ugly 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions and lead the NFC North with a 7-3 record.  The Giants are coming off their bye and lead the NFC East with a record of 6-4.

The Packers face a Giants team that has been struggling as of late.  Quarterback Eli Manning has thrown zero touchdown passes and four interceptions in the last three games in which the Giants have a 1-2 record.   The team rested Manning who thought he may have been suffering from a “tired arm” and he says the time off has helped his arm recharge.

How will he fare against the Packers this week?

Scouting the Giants

Struggles aside, this is not a Giants team that should be taken lightly.  It’s not like the Packers need to be informed of that.

Manning has had his way with the Packers and could continue to given how banged up the Packers defense is.  If the game is close in the fourth quarter, that’s when Manning is at his best.  With Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon leading the receiving corps, Manning has his fair share of targets to choose from.

Nicks has been banged up all season but is finally getting healthy.  He is the key to the Giants offense.  With him on the field, things open up more for Cruz and defenses usually cannot cover both.

The Giants rushing attack is led by Ahmad Bradshaw.  Bradshaw has 675 yards this season and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry with four touchdowns.  He hasn’t gained more than 57 yards on the ground since Week 6.  The Packers have a fairly solid run defense so it will be tough for Bradshaw to get going again versus Green Bay.

23

November

Around the NFC North in Week 12

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North in week 12

Well, I dropped the ball my friends.  My apologies to all for not getting this post up sooner and in light of today’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.  I am feverishly writing this on Turkey Day and I won’t take a single bite until this is up for your reading pleasure.  With that, I want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving weekend!

This week brings a full slate of NFC North football starting with the Thanksgiving day matchup.  The Chicago Bears square off against the Minnesota Vikings for the first time this season and the Packers round off the weekend with the Sunday Night game at the New York football Giants.

Let’s look at the matchups a bit more closely and see what’s to come.

Houston Texans (10-1) at Detroit Lions (4-7)

Well, Houston pulled it out in another overtime thriller.  I could have tried to pass myself off as a prophet and claim that I knew the Lions would take the 9-1 Texans to the brink, but all it takes is a glance at my record in the prediction posts.  It’s clear that I don’t own a crystal ball.  Or at least an accurate one.  So on we go. . .

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)

The big question in this game for the Bears is once again the health status of starting quarterback Jay Cutler.  Cutler has been cleared to practice in a limited capacity but still has not been cleared by an independent neurologist to resume full play.

Jason Campbell would start at quarterback if Cutler can’t play.  Campbell has been barely decent in relief duty and when asked whether Cutler would be able to play this week, Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Tice was quoted as saying “God, I hope so”.  Not a whole lot more needs to be said there.  The Bears themselves know their best chance to win is with Cutler playing.

Minnesota’s tough defensive unit would theoretically pose a bigger problem to Campbell than Cutler.  Chicago’s offensive line struggles continue and there have even been some rumblings that Chicago is less-than-thrilled with the play of 2nd year tackle and 2011 first round pick Gabe Carimi.  This could become a big problem if the Vikings pass rush wins the battle up front and forces Campbell to make quick decisions and throws.

16

January

Packers vs. Giants: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 37-20 Loss to New York

The Giants pointed their ship to the NFC Championship Game with a 37-20 win over the Packers. (Photo: Darron Cummings, GBPG)

The Green Bay Packers (15-2) picked an awful time to play their worst game of the 2011 season, and the New York Giants more than capitalized on it Sunday in knocking the defending champions out of the playoffs with a 37-20 win at Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Round.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Capping a tough week

There was some this week, including Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who opined that the Packers could be more focused on Sunday in light of the terrible tragedy that struck that the Packers family early this week. But maybe those people underestimated how difficult the transition could be from a Friday funeral to a Sunday football game.

The Packers made their fair share of mental mistakes on the offensive side of the football—dropped passes, missed throws, back-breaking fumbles—that were very uncharacteristic of the Packers in 2011. Could that have partly been due to a week of grieving for the Philbin family and missing their offensive coordinator? Professional football players get paid a lot of money to separate the two, but these guys are human beings, not football robots.

2. Rusting the machine

Hindsight is 20/20, but you’d have to think Mike McCarthy will do some self-reflection on his decision to sit starters during the final week of the season. His team Sunday looked like one who hadn’t played a full game together in three weeks. The Packers offense, in particular, was never able to find the kind of rhythm that seemed so easy to achieve during the regular season.

Depending on who you ask, the Packers dropped five to eight passes on Sunday. Every single one of them was a momentum-killer. They also lost three fumbles—as many as they had all season—on their way to a season-high four turnovers. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the quarterback was far from his best on a night when the Packers needed him to be.

Would playing the starters in Week 17 have made a difference in any of those? Maybe, maybe not. But the Packers certainly looked like a rusty football team on Sunday. Execution all-around was in short supply.

3. More of the same