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.

22

March

Who the Packers Will Pick: NFL Draft Experts Have Their Say

It’s a phenomenon that happens every year.

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you immediately turn into a draft expert for your team once the season comes to an end. The Green Bay Packers and their fanbase are no different.

It’s a part of what makes the draft process great—everyone has their own opinion on who to pick and why. And surely, a few mock drafts you’ll read from fans will get a number of picks right.

Yet contrary to popular belief, actual “experts” on the draft are typically more informed and in-tune with who each team might pick than the common fan.

They’re paid to know (or sound like they know) and their connections to the football world give them an obvious step up.

Here are the most recent mock picks to the Green Bay Packers from several of the most well-known experts and draft websites.

ESPN (Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Jr.), CBS Sports (Chad Reuter): Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

With nearly constant comparisons to Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, Reed has shot up many draft boards.

Both ESPN whiz-kids (or whatever other adjective you use for them) have the Packers taking Reed to be the playmaker opposite Matthews for the Packers defense.

If his story continues to follow in the footsteps of Matthews, it’d be hard to argue with the pick.

Reed is one of the more explosive short-area players in the draft (1.59 10-yard split), and he’s going to give you the non-stop motor that has endeared Matthews to so many of the Packers fans.

National Football Post (Wes Bunting): Ben Ijalana, G, Villanova

With the likely departure of starting left guard Daryn Colledge whenever free agency starts, Ijalana could immediately fill the hole.

He’s super-athletic for his big frame (6’4″, 320 lbs), and there’s also a chance Ijalana could play tackle once he adjusts and gets comfortable with the NFL game.

The Packers like T.J. Lang as the replacement at either guard or tackle long-term, but there’s never anything wrong with adding talent and versatility to an offensive line, and Ijalana does that.

Sporting News (Russ Lande): Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple

Cullen Jenkins is more than likely on his way out of Green Bay, and the Packers could potentially add more depth to the defensive end position.