6

January

Packers 24, Vikings 10: Wild Card Game Balls and Lame Calls

Clay Matthews

Clay Matthews and the defense stepped up big and the Packers are on their way to San Francisco.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” or so the saying goes, and the Green Bay Packers got their revenge against the Minnesota Vikings by winning their NFC Wild Card game 24-10 a week after the Vikings beat the Packers 37-34 which cost Green Bay a first round bye.

The Packers spotted the Vikings an early field goal as the Vikings marched down the field. Some fans began to experience a sense of déjà vu as the Packers went three and out on the following drive.  Thankfully that malaise didn’t last long as the Packers got into the end zone on the next drive and went up 7-3.

Green Bay never looked back as they got to Vikings quarterback Joe Webb and raced out to a 24-3 lead that held throughout most of the second half and gave up a touchdown pretty much in garbage time as the score settled to 24-10 as time expired.

Here are the good and the bad for the Packers in the victory that eliminated the Vikings.

Game Balls

LB Erik Walden

It was not even a week ago that the Packers allowed Adrian Peterson to run all over them, but the Packers put forth a much better effort Saturday and Walden was a big part of it.

Walden was credited with one sack and two tackles for a loss but he was constantly in Webb’s face and had one of his best games in a long time. Walden can be inconsistent but if he can warm up for this playoff run, then the Packers will have yet another weapon to go alongside Clay Matthews at the linebacker position.

He’ll have a tougher time against the 49ers but the game against the Vikings should be a big confidence booster for Walden.

RB DuJuan Harris

Harris’ emergence late this season has all but guaranteed him a roster spot going into training camp this summer, but Harris is now making a case to be the Packers starting running back and there’s really no reason he couldn’t be.

5

January

Packers vs. Vikings – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 24 MIN 10

Erik Walden

Erik Walden

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings:

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

Inactive for Packers today:  WR Jarrett Boykin; CB Davon House; RB James Starks;LB Frank Zombo; WR Donald Driver; DT Jordan Miller; DE Jerel Worthy

Inactive for Vikings today:  QB Christian Ponder, WR Stephen Burton, OT Troy Kropog, DE George Johnson, DE D’Aundre Reed, LB Tyrone McKenzie, CB Brandon Burton

 

Game Notes:

It’s come to this: inactive for a home playoff game. Gotta feel bad for Donald Driver…

Vikings throw a  monkey wrench into the Packers defensive game plan – Christian Ponder inactive.

Packers are 2-4 in their last six home playoff games. In all six of those game, the opposing team scored on their first possession.

16 of the last 21 Packers – Vikings games have been decided by seven points or less.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Ponder: Joe Webb – very athletic QB. Had some time to look at him during the week, even today as it became more apparent he will play.

back-to -back same opponent: In a lot ways, we feel we’ve had 2 weeks to prepare for this game. QB change is an adjustment for our defense.

Stopping AP: Good solid run defense. It’s about us. We’re at home, it’s about the mission we have before us.

Scheme: Run defense is not a one man deal. If you watch our DL line play, they played very well, but it takes a lot more than that. Everybody has to tackle, and they will tonight

Ross: Both Cobb and Ross will get some work in the return game tonight

Offensive Strategy:  We don’t want to be one dimensional. We’re not going to come in here and throw the ball 50 times. That’s not in the best interest of our football team.

Dujuan Harris: He’s going to start tonight as far as getting the first carty and then we’ll see how it goes. it’s all about riding the hot hand.

Special teams coverage: We had one or two individuals who just didn’t do their job properly. I’m confident our play on special teams will be better tonight

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5

January

Packers vs. Vikings Wild Card Round Game Predictions from AllGBP.COM (with Podcast)

GAME PREDICTIONS
Wild Card Round: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 11-5 Green Bay Packers 21-13
Adrian Peterson runs for over 100 but under 200. Ponder makes the mistakes he didn’t last week and the Vikings struggle outdoors. Tramon Williams redeems himself and the Packers go on to San Francisco.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 10-6 Green Bay Packers 27-17
The Vikings had almost everything go right for them last week and played about as well as they can (and still almost lost). If these two teams played five times, the Packers would win four. So the Vikes got their one last week. The Packers show who the big dog is with a solid win at Lambeau.
Adam Czech 12-4 Green Bay Packers 31-20
I’m going to the game. I paid lots of money for my tickets. I live in Minnesota. If the Packers lose, all of my friends, family and colleagues that just realized Minnesota had a professional football team will drive me insane. If I go insane,  I likely will do something that results in me going to prison. I’ll probably get thrown into a Minnesota prison, where my fellow inmates will likely continue making fun of me. This can’t happen. The Packers will win.
Marques Eversoll 12-4 Green Bay Packers 31-17
I think the Packers win by doing what I thought they’d do last week. Adrian Peterson will get his yards, but the Packers will contain him just enough to get the win. Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield will be in a cast, and if he’s not at 100 percent, the Pack’s passing attack should have no problem scoring points. I’ll be at Lambeau, so this needs to be a Packers win. To be honest, I don’t know if I can handle another one-and-done in the playoffs.
Thomas Hobbes 11-5 Green Bay Packers 27-17
I think who ever has to the answer to this question win the game: Can the Packers stop Christian Ponder?  Let’s just admit that just as the Vikings have no chance at stopping Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have no chance at stopping Adrian Peterson.  However, the Packers have proven stopping Adrian Peterson and winning the game are not mutually exclusive (week 13, Peterson’s numbers: 210 yards, 1TD).  If the Packers can get the lead early and force the Vikings to lean on Ponder I think they can win easily.  Adrian Peterson has proven he can carry a team, Ponder hasn’t yet.
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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2

January

Packers News: Worthy out for season, Woodson set to return

Packers DL Jerel Worthy

Packers DL Jerel Worthy

Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy suffered a significant knee injury against the Minnesota Vikings and will not play in the postseason.

Worthy left the locker room Sunday wearing a full leg brace and relying on crutches. The extent of his injury has not yet been released.

The Packers selected Worthy with the No. 51 overall pick in last April’s draft and played in 14 games as a rookie. Worthy tied for sixth on the team with 2.5 sacks in the regular season.

Without Worthy in the mix, the Packers will rely on their normal starting three-man line consisting of B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson. Mike Neal and rookie Mike Daniels will be the team’s top reserves moving forward. Neal has proved to be effective as a pass rusher, racking up 4.5 sacks this season, while Daniels has been a pleasant surprise as well.

Jordan Miller, a recent call-up from the practice squad rounds out the Packers’ six defensive linemen on the current roster.

Although Worthy will not play again this season, veteran defensive back Charles Woodson appears set to return against the Vikings this week in the playoffs. Woodson was medically cleared to return Jan. 1 after suffering a broken collarbone Oct. 21 against the St. Louis Rams.

Prior to getting injured, Woodson played strong safety in the Packers’ base 3-4 defense and bumped inside to slot cornerback in the team’s nickel formation. But since Woodson has been out, rookie Casey Hayward has risen to the occasion and could be this year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Now, with Woodson set to return, it’s unlikely the Packers would take Hayward off the field. This could mean Woodson’s role would primarily be the second safety alongside Morgan Burnett, replacing rookie Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings.

Although Woodson isn’t the same, dynamic playmaker he once was, getting him back on the field will certainly be a nice boost for the defense.

Randall Cobb also returned to practice on Tuesday and says he will be “100 percent” for Saturday night’s playoff game against Minnesota. Barring any setbacks, the Packers will have Cobb, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley on the field together for the first time since week one.

1

January

Vikings 37, Packers 34: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Adrian Peterson

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson swallowed up the Packers defense on Sunday. If he does it again on Saturday night, the Packers season will probably be over.

The Mayans may have been wrong on the world as a whole, but the Green Bay Packers finally lost an NFC North game.

After winning twelve straight games against the NFC North, the Packers lost 37-34 to the Minnesota Vikings in an instant classic to wrap up the 2012 regular season.  Thanks to the victory by the San Francisco 49ers over the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers now have to take the long road to the Super Bowl.

The defense couldn’t stop the Vikings and Christian Ponder had a better than expected game. Oh and that Vikings running back had a good game as well. At least he didn’t get the record, though (Eric Dickerson, you are welcome).

The Packers open the playoffs this Saturday once again facing the Minnesota Vikings, this time at Lambeau Field.

Game Balls

NT BJ Raji

While the defense as a whole couldn’t shut down the Vikings, but Raji perhaps had his best game of 2012.

Raji had only four tackles but he disrupted the offensive line all game and gave the defense opportunities to shut Adrian Peterson down.  Unfortunately for the Packers, no one really was able to do it.

He’s play rejuvenated football since returning to his natural nose tackle position after spending last season at defensive end and has helped an anemic Packers pass rush return to life. Raji will need to play just as well next week if the Packers want to advance in the playoffs.

QB Aaron Rodgers

Twenty eight-for-40 for 365 yards and four touchdown passes. Just another day at the office for the NFL MVP.

Rodgers’ arm and accuracy kept the Packers in the game during a shootout in which the defense couldn’t stop anything the Vikings threw at them. It was another slow start for Rodgers and company, but the passing game roared to life in the second half.  Rodgers apparently has reestablished chemistry with Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, and if Randall Cobb is back this week, the Packers offense will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.

If the offensive line could get its act together, Rodgers is all set for another stellar postseason performance. The only question remaining is whether the offensive line will keep him upright.

31

December

2012 Green Bay Packers: Which History Will Repeat?

Lambeau Field

The Packers need to regain the unforgiving home-field edge that Lambeau Field once presented in the postseason

Unfortunately, the Packers didn’t get the job done in Minnesota last week and the Vikings prevailed, eeking their way into the postseason.  Still, the Packers are division winners and will host a playoff game this coming Saturday evening.  As fate would have it, those same Vikings will be Green Bay’s opponent.

At first glance, any opponent coming to Lambeau in January should seemingly have their reservations.  It’s cold and there is a rich history of the Packers winning in those types of games.  But recent history suggests that the Vikings may not have as much to worry about as teams historically have in the past.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer that history is bound to repeat itself.  I’m sure you can all think of other examples, but the biggest one that I always point to is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy almost exactly 100 years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Under head coach Mike McCarthy, Green Bay has won just one time in three games at Lambeau Field in the postseason.  Those two losses did come to the New York Giants and both times, the Giants went on to win a Super Bowl.  But both times, the Packers were also favored to win, as they should have been.  McCarthy’s most successful postseason was one in which his team had to play and win three road games before getting to and winning Super Bowl XLV, another virtual road game.

Lately, the theory of a historical repeat doesn’t bode well for the Packers.  Now before anyone gets bent out of shape, this history does go two ways.

One Way: Packers in 2002

It was exactly a decade ago during the 2002 season that the Packers, under head coach Mike Sherman, were heading into the last week of the season with a chance to improve their playoff seeding.  They had clinched the NFC North in early December and were 12-3.  A win would have put them in place to secure the number one or number two seed.  I can’t recall which off the top of my head.