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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4

January

2012 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Wild Card Round: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2012 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Round
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-4.5)
Kris Burke Texans Texans
“Jersey” Al Bracco Texans Texans
Adam Czech Texans Bengals
Marques Eversoll Texans Bengals
Thomas Hobbes Texans Bengals
Jason Perone Texans Texans
Chad Toporski Texans Texans
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
Kris Burke Packers Packers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Packers Packers
Adam Czech Packers Packers
Marques Eversoll Packers Packers
Thomas Hobbes Packers Packers
Jason Perone Vikings Vikings
Chad Toporski Packers Vikings
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Kris Burke Colts Colts
“Jersey” Al Bracco Ravens Ravens
Adam Czech Ravens Colts
Marques Eversoll Colts Colts
Thomas Hobbes Colts Colts
Jason Perone Ravens Colts
Chad Toporski Ravens Colts
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (+3)
Kris Burke Redskins Seahawks
“Jersey” Al Bracco Seadogs  Seadogs
Adam Czech Seachickens Seachickens
Marques Eversoll Seahawks Seahawks
Thomas Hobbes Redskins Redskins
Jason Perone Redskins Redskins
Chad Toporski Seahawks Seahawks
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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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19

December

Around the NFC North in Week 16

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North in week 16

With just two games left in the 2012 regular season, there is a full slate in the NFC North this week.  Each game carries its own significance as far as the playoff race is concerned as at least one team in each matchup is fighting for better playoff seeding and some are fighting to just get in, period.

Let’s take a look at the implications in each matchup.

Atlanta Falcons (12-2) at Detroit Lions (4-10)

The only reason this game is listed first is because it is the lone Saturday game and takes place before all others.  Beyond that, it all comes down to a very complete Falcons team coming into Detroit to face arguably the most disappointing team in the NFL this season.

Last weekend, Detroit was manhandled by the Arizona Cardinals 38-10.  Arizona had previously lost their last nine straight games.  The Lions have succeeded in one thing this season:  finding many ways to lose a game.  While they won’t be appearing in the postseason this year, they will have plenty of time during the offseason to figure out why.

The biggest question in Detroit right now is who will still be with the team in 2013?  Head coach Jim Schwartz will surely be the topic of those conversations during the winter.

While Atlanta has wrapped up the NFC South and currently has the best record in the NFC, they have yet to secure the first or second seed in the postseason.  They have their eyes set on being the top seed and therefore also securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The Falcons can do so by winning their last two games, regardless of what any of the other contenders do.

However, a loss by Atlanta would begin to open a door for both the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, who currently hold the second and third seeds, respectively.

While the Lions have pride to play for and certainly fit the bill of a team that could be pesky during these last two weeks, I don’t expect that pride to get them anywhere near Atlanta’s level this week.  Detroit’s best chance of success this week will probably be the 50% odds they have in winning the opening coin toss.

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.

7

November

Around the NFC North in Week 10

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North in week 10

Week 10 brings about two great matchups in the NFC North.  With the Green Bay Packers on a bye, the Chicago Bears host the Houston Texans while the Detroit Lions travel to Minnesota to finish out their season series against the Vikings.  Let’s look at some of the storylines surrounding the games.

Houston Texans (7-1) at Chicago Bears (7-1)

This is the marquis matchup for the NFL’s week 10 slate and is the Sunday Night game.  Each team comes in having lost just one game and playing well.  Chicago has won six straight and Houston has bounced back from their first loss of the season and won their last two in a row.  Each team’s last loss came at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.

Defense is the name of this game.  Houston ranks 3rd overall in yardage allowed (286/game) while Chicago ranks 6th (318/game).

The Bears are leading the league in takeaway’s with 28 and takeaway ratio at +16.  They’re turning those takeaway’s into points and have seven interception returns for scores this season by five different players.  Their defense has become nearly as potent, in terms of scoring, as their offense.

Chicago is tied with New England for fumbles caused with 11.  Just last week, Chicago forced five fumbles, two by CB Charles Tillman.  Tillman has been hot after the ball this season and has seven caused fumbles and has two of Chicago’s interception returns for touchdowns.  Some say he’s an early candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

Houston has 24 sacks on the season, led by defensive end J.J. Watt who also leads the league with 10.5.  Like Chicago,Houston is making a good living on the defensive side of the ball.  They have nine interceptions and are just one behind Cleveland for the AFC lead in that category.  The Texans are giving up just over 82 yards/game and will look to stonewall Chicago’s ground game that is currently averaging 128.5 yards.

The key in this game will be the defense that can hold the line of scrimmage and stop the run.  Both of these teams mirror each other in many ways and this game is a possible preview of Super Bowl XLVII, at least at this point.  The winner takes another step towards solidifying themselves as a top contender in their conference and in the league overall.

16

October

Packers Turn in Right Direction

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers celebrates one of his 6 TD’s vs. the Texans

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Packers being at a turning point in their season.  The Pack turned in the right direction on Sunday night.  They answered the bell  with a convincing 42-24 win over the previously undefeated Houston Texans.  That it was a road win only  added emphasis to the fact that the Packers are still a very good team.

Are they a great team?  That remains to be seen but the possibility is very much there within the team’s grasp.  Everything the Packers needed to do in this game, they did.  Yes, they made some mistakes and suffered a number of injuries, but this is a team sport.   They showed in 2010 that if they play as a team, good things will happen.

This win puts the Packers back at .500.  When you consider that they have already faced the 49ers, Bears, Saints and Texans, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Added to that is the fact that they could easily be 5-1 and there should be a lot of reason for optimism in Green Bay.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy has shown a great ability to grab ahold of the team and keep the locker room tight.  While other teams may buckle under the pressure of losing close games or games they should have won, the Packers get back to work and fight.

During the postgame interview, NBC’s Michele Tafoya mentioned to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers that outside the locker room it’s been said that “the sky is falling” and asked him what this win said to the critics.  Rodgers simply and calmly responded “Shhhhhhhhhhh”.

It doesn’t get any easier with another road game at St. Louis next week, the Packers’ third in a row.  But if history is any indication, the Pack will be ready and confident that they can head back to Lambeau Field above .500 for the first time this season.  In 2010 at this same juncture the Packers were 3-3, hit hard by injuries and facing a tough game against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.  I’m sure we all remember what happened from there.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

Follow Jason at:

Jason Perone
                Add to Circleson Google+

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15

October

Packers 42, Texans 24: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: SHHHHHH! He’s BAAAAAAAAAAACK!

The Green Bay Packers sent one message to their critics and their fans that had already marked their season as lost. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers perhaps said it best in a post-game interview with NBC:

“SHHHHHHH!”

The Packers upset the previously undefeated Houston Texans 42-24 in their own building to move to 3-3 on the season.   It was an emphatic win that put the rest of the NFL on notice that there is nothing wrong with Aaron Rodgers and that despite the loss of three members of the defense (Nick Perry, D.J. Smith and Sam Shelds) to injury, the defense could make plays and shut down one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks.

It was stunning victory even the most optimistic Packer fan didn’t see coming.

Who stepped up this week and who stepped down?

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

All week, Rodgers took questions about what was wrong with the Packers and more specifically what was wrong with him.   Rodgers to his credit put full blame on himself, saying that he needed to play better.

On NBC last night, Chris Collinsworth mentioned when he and Al Michaels met with Rodgers in the days before the game and they both noted how angry the reigning NFL MVP sounded.  They said he told them he was sick and tired of being asked about what was wrong with the Packers.  Michaels and Collinsworth quoted Rodgers as saying, “The sky is falling on the outside, but everything is just fine on the inside.”

Rodgers took those words and took out his frustration on the Texans in his most brilliant game this season and perhaps even one of the most brilliant of his career.  Rodgers tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes as he completed 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards.

Want proof Rodgers played with extra fire?  Even though it was called back due to a holding penalty, when Rodgers scrambled for a touchdown run he spiked the ball incredibly hard in the end zone and performed his “title belt” celebration with more fire than anyone had ever seen before.

Rodgers was playing angry.  If that fire continues throughout the rest of the season, the rest of the league is in deep trouble.

WR James Jones