14

October

Packers vs. Texans – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 42 HOU 24

Tom Crabtree, Jordy Nelson, Packers vs Texans

Crabtree and Nelson celebrate a Packers TD

Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans:

My unfitered game day recap and blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

Inactive for Packers today:

  • S Sean Richardson
  • CB Davon House
  • LB Terrell Manning
  • G Greg Van Roten
  • TE D.J. Williams
  • WR Greg Jennings
  • DT B.J. Raji

Inactive for Texans today:

  • QB Roc Carmichael
  • CB Brandon Harris
  • S Quintin Demps
  • OT Andrew Gardner
  • OG Cody White
  • OG Brandon Brooks
  • LB Barrett Rudd

Game Notes:

Texans will be missing the heart of their defense, Brian Cushing, who is out with a torn ACL suffered last week against the Jets.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Daughter’s 21st birthday: A big day and it makes me feel old.

Team’s psyche: They’re confidant and ready to go. We knew this was going to be a tough one when the schedule came out. We respect the Texans.  Sunday night is always an exciting time to play.  Our guys are ready to go.

Noise: Yes, this is going to be a great environment. It’s my first time in this stadium, the only one I haven’t been in. We practice a lot for these conditions

Practice: We’re always working on improv ing our practices. We aren’t making any excuses. Our practices this week, I was very pleased with the walk throughs and the meetings.

Raji out: Ryan Pickett has been playing some nose, so it’s not a problem. Our DL will be challenged today.

Finley: We’re not going to approach this game like he’s 100%. We need to be smart about it, so he’ll be on a rep count. Finley wants to play and is ready to try to play through this injury. Says a lot about him.

Texans: Very talented team, they play very well to their strengths. Important for us to knock them off their rhythm and off their spots. That’s our plan.

JJ Watt: Very talented young man. To be playing the position he’s playing and so well. As talented as any DE we’ve seen on tape.

Keys to the game: 1)turnover ratio.  2)Take advantage of big play opportunities.

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Packers vs. Texans – First Impressions – First Half:

Texans win the toss and choose to receive the ball.

14

October

Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans: Key Matchups

J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt has been the NFL’s best defensive player so far in 2012

The Green Bay Packers have a big road matchup on Sunday Night Football against the Houston Texans.  It’s a tough matchup following an tough loss at Indianapolis last weekend.  The Texans are clearly one of the best teams in the NFL and are undefeated at 5-0.

The Packers will need to put together their best overall performance in order to get a win.  Doing so would be big step in the right direction for the Pack.  Let’s look at the key matchups that will likely factor into the outcome.

Texans DE JJ Watt vs. PackersBryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton

Normally a QB matchup would lead off this segment but JJ Watt is the most important guy on the field for the Texans right now.  He leads the NFL in sacks with 8.5 and talk of his being Defensive Player of the Year has already begun.

The Texans run a base 3-4 and Watt lines up on the left side of the line.  Because of his skill set, Watt can stunt outside or in and will likely matchup against both Bulaga and Sitton along with C Jeff Saturday.  Houston will likely mix it up in order to keep the Packer OL off balance and create favorable matchups.  Any success by Watt spells trouble for the Packer offense.

Bulaga’s play has dropped off, at least statistically this season.  Our very own Adam Czech breaks it down further.  As mentioned, the Packers are going to have to turn in one of their most technically sound games to come out with a win.  This rings especially true for the O line and Bulaga.  Confidence is a big part of a player’s success on the field.  In addition to the fundamentals, Bulaga needs to come in determined to win his matchups.

Sitton continues to be one of the Pack’s best O linemen, but the line as a whole has not been consistent.  He will surely have his hands full with DT Shaun Cody as well as Watt.  Again, confidence is key to Sitton’s performance.  It’s the one factor he can control and improve between now and game time.  Houston’s pass rush has been effective this year and keeping Watt at bay will help neutralize a majority of it.  It will also dramatically increase Green Bay’s chances of winning this one.

12

October

Packers vs. Texans Week 6 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 6: Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 2-3 Green Bay Packers 37-34(OT)
Mike McCarthy does his best work when his team’s back is against the wall.  Late 2010 with all the injuries piling up seems similar to the situation the Packers currently find themselves in. If the Packers have any pride left, this is the game they make a stand.  I refuse to believe McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers will not go down without a fight.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 2-3 Houston Texans 23-21
This is a desperate attempt to jinx the Texans. I haven’t picked against the Packers since the 2010 season, and while an upset here of the favored Texans would not surprise me at all, I figure the Packers need some help. So, I’m going with the Texans in hope my pick goes horribly wrong. Confused? Me too…
Adam Czech 3-2 Houston Texans 28-20
I want to believe the Packers will win. I really do. But I don’t. Randall Cobb will be the key to this game. If he gets a return TD and goes off on a somewhat shaky Texans secondary, you never know……
Marques Eversoll 2-3 Green Bay Packers 24-23
It’s only week six, but the Packers are desperate for a win. And a win against the undefeated Texans would certainly help mask a disappointing collapse last week against the Colts. The Pack will be without Cedric Benson, but I think Alex Green will make the most of his opportunity as the lead back. Houston should shred the Packers defense, but I think Capers’ crew will be able to keep them out of the endzone and hold them to field goals. Aaron Rodgers plays his best game of the season, and the Packers get a much-needed victory on the road.
Thomas Hobbes 2-3 Green Bay Packers 34-31
Rationally, I probably should pick the Texans but I’m going to pick the Packers anyways.  The only thing I can think of going in favor of the Packers is that they know they have to win or getting into the post season will be very unlikely.  Hopefully the Texans are happy sitting at 5-0 and don’t bring their A-game against a very confused looking Packers team.  The Packers aren’t going to win a defensive game but if the Packers can make it a shootout they have a chance to win.
12

October

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 6: Packers vs Texans Preview

RB Arian Foster

Will Texans RB Arian Foster run all over the Packers on national television?

Their backs are against the wall and they go up against an undefeated Houston Texans team at Reliant Stadium.

It’s not exactly the script Mike McCarthy drew up for the 2012 Green Bay Packers

Joking aside, after a stunning 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts many people have begun to write off the Packers for this season.  Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers has had accuracy issues and the Packers defense actually looks even worse than the horrible unit of a year ago.  With the Packers at 2-3 and staring 2-4 in the face with the mighty Texans with the league’s best defense up next, there is very little reason for optimism in Titletown, right?

Hold your horses, folks.  Look back two seasons ago in the game before the Packers started their magical run to Super Bowl XLV. The team was 8-5 and would eventually fall to 8-6, but in that game against the New England Patriots with a still unproven Matt Flynn at quarterback the Packers fought hard and had the Patriots on the ropes until losing on the final play.

The Packers face a similar situation Sunday night at Reliant Stadium.  The Texans are 5-0 and have the best defense in the league to go along with an incredibly potent offense.  It almost like the Packers are looking into a mirror of what they should be but are not.

Don’t count the Packers out, however.  McCarthy did a masterful job in that stretch run in 2010 and is at his best when his team’s back is against the wall. Not many people, including Packer fans, are giving McCarthy’s team much of a chance in this one.

The Packers might have the Texans just where they want them.

Scouting the Texans

On offense, it starts with quarterback Matt Schaub but by no means does it end with him.

Schaub is a smart quarterback.  He’s as smart as Rodgers in the sense that he takes care of the ball and doesn’t force interceptions.  This season, he has eight touchdowns against just two interceptions and has thrown for 1,162 yards.  He has been sacked 18 times however and while that’s not as bad as the Packers who have given up 21 sacks, it shows the offensive line in pass protection is a weak spot for Houston in particular on the right side.

10

October

Around the NFC North in Week 6

Around the NFC North

Around the NFC North

Here’s a look at the Week 6 matchups around the NFC North.  The Chicago Bears are on a bye and do not play.

Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)

The Lions emerge from their bye to face the Eagles in Philadelphia.  Detroit needs a win to halt a three-game losing streak.  Their last loss was at home to the Minnesota Vikings.  They haven’t won since week one.  Having been to the playoffs last season and coming into this season with high expectations, they would be digging a big hole with a loss.  It would leave them at least 3 games behind division leaders Bears and Vikings.

The Eagles dropped a close game at Pittsburgh last week.   The Eagles are looking for more consistency.  After a close week 1 win over the underdog Browns, Philadelphia came home and beat the Baltimore Ravens.  They followed that up with a loss at Arizona and then a win at home against the New York Giants.

Eagles QB Michael Vick is also looking to establish some consistency.  He has six TD’s and six INT’s on the season.  Vick has been sacked 14 times and has endured a few dings.  He is not taking off and running at will as he once did and the Eagles offensive line hasn’t been great.  They have to find a way to protect Vick against a potent Detroit defensive line.  Despite the Lions’ struggles, they still feature very good pass rushers in Ndomakong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The Lions will rely on QB Matt Stafford to lead their offense.  Stafford has three TD passes to four INT’s on the season.   His top receiving target, Calvin Johnson has just one TD catch all season.  Johnson needs to make more of an impact in this game to give Detroit a chance to win.

These teams are evenly matched on defense and statistically, the Lions hold an edge on offense.  But I have to give the overall edge to the Eagles as they’re at home.  That can all shift in either direction if either team can force a takeaway or two.

 Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Washington Redskins (2-3)

The Vikings continued to roll with a win on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.  The Titans didn’t score until the 4th quarter and the Vikes rolled over an opponent they ultimately should have.  They continue to raise eyebrows in the NFC North race and are tied for 1st place.

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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10

January

Five Reflections from Wild Card Weekend

The strength of the Giants' defensive line is just one observation from the 2011 NFL Wild Card weekend.

With four teams out of the playoff race and the New York Giants scheduled to take on the Green Bay Packers next week, I thought it might be prudent to take a look back at the weekend and reflect on the results. The games mostly went as expected, minus the Pittsburgh Steelers getting “Tebowed” in Denver.

Let’s get right down to it, then. Here are some observations from the four Wild Card games and how they might relate to the Packers going forward:

1. Regular season records don’t mean anything. This weekend, we saw two division champions take down Wild Card teams who held a better record in the regular season. The New York Giants (9-7) practically shut out the Atlanta Falcons (10-6), and the Denver Broncos (8-8) stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) with an overtime bullseye strike.

Yes, the Packers made an impressive run this season going 15-1, but don’t let that alone give you any sense of false hope. It won’t afford Green Bay any advantage on the field, because the only thing that matters is how well they are playing right now.

2. Opportunities must be seized when they are presented. Anyone who watched the New Orleans Saints take on the Detroit Lions knows how much that game could have changed if the Lions would have simply taken advantage of their opportunities. I counted three passes by Drew Brees that could have easily been interceptions if the defender would have simply held onto the ball. Turnovers can be huge game-changers is the playoffs, mostly because the games are usually so close to begin with. Not only can they swing the scoreboard, but they can redirect the momentum and quiet a noisy crowd.

The Green Bay Packers have made turnovers their mantra this season. Not only is protecting the ball of utmost importance, but taking it away has become the keystone of their defense. The Packers lead the league this season in interceptions (31) and were second only to the San Francisco 49ers in turnover differential (+24). They will need to continue taking advantage of these opportunities, because they will get fewer and farther between against playoff-caliber opponents.