6

December

Week 14 Packers Stock Report: Rodgers and Matthews Rising, Peprah and Newhouse Falling

Great win on Sunday for the Packers. A signature win.

I’m not sure if I’d call this week’s stock report “great” or “signature,” but nonetheless, here it is:

Aaron Rodgers
After the first half, I thought this might be the week that Rodgers drops out of the rising category. Boy, than was a dumb thought. Rodgers  came to life in the second half, overcoming several dropped passes and shaky protection to keep the Packers out front and eventually put together a game-winning drive with 58 seconds left. He finished with a QB rating of 106, his lowest of the season, but I think we’ll let that slide this one time.

Clay Matthews
Can you name another player on defense that did much of anything on Sunday? Walden had a few pressures. Shields tipped away a couple of passes. Raji was active early. Otherwise, Matthews was the lone bright spot on D.

Jordy Nelson
It didn’t matter if Nelson was covered or only had a few inches to work with along the sideline, he was determined to make the catch when Rodgers threw it to him. A nice rebound game for No. 87 after a ho-hum performance against the Lions.

Steady

Greg Jennings
Not even the NFL’s silly rules about catches in the end zone could keep Jennings from scoring. After a brief slowdown in weeks nine and 10, Jennings is back on track.

Donald Driver
Two of Driver’s four catches on Sunday went for touchdowns. Not bad for an old-timer. Most importantly, Driver didn’t come down with a case of the dropsies like most of the other Packers WRs and TEs.

Falling

Charlie Peprah
Many readers pointed out in the comments section of my game summary that the loss of Nick Collins is negatively impacting Peprah. This is 100 true. Unfortunately, Collins is also not able to protect Peprah from landing in this week’s falling category.

Marshall Newhouse
I really went back and forth on including Newhouse here. The Giants front four might be the best in football. Newhouse is essentially a rookie. Rodgers dropped back to pass 50 times on Sunday. Talk bout a near-impossible task. There was bound to be some pressures allowed by the young man. However, when the goal is the Super Bowl, inexperience, quality of opponent and difficult assignments are no excuse. Newhouse needs to clean it up.

27

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers Rout Giants 45-17

I’m sure glad Packers general manager Ted Thompson listened to some fans last week and fired coach Mike McCarthy after that loss to the Patriots.

Ahem.

Moving on, the Green Bay Packers walloped the New York Giants 45-17 Sunday to keep their playoff hopes very much alive. A win next week at home over the NFC North champion Chicago Bears and the Packers are in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

There were a lot of highs and even a few lows in this game for Green Bay so let’s get to it.

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

Did that new helmet Rodgers was wearing come from the Bill Belichick line? Did he have the defensive signals of the Giants literally in his head?

All kidding aside, what a comeback for Rodgers. Any potential for rust was quickly done away on an 80 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson and Rodgers rolled from there. Finishing the day with a career regular season high 404 yards and a career high tying 4 TD passes, Rodgers showed there were no lingering cobwebs from his two concussions this season.

Even more impressive was his ability to evade the Giants’ all-star pass rush. Even with rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga getting beat by Pro Bowler Justin Tuck on just about every pass play, Rodgers was able to make enough plays with his feet and his arm to make this game a blowout.

Coach Mike McCarthy

Over 500 yards of total offense. Four passing touchdowns. Two rushing touchdowns. A balanced (GASP) game plan.

If anyone this week is looking for a reason to fire McCarthy, you need a head exam.

Continuing with the balanced attack discovered last week against the Patriots, McCarthy dialed up a near flawless game plan and in a pleasant surprise twisted the dagger a bit after it had already been stabbed into the heart of the Giants.

It’s a killer instinct the Packers haven’t shown much of and I for one hope to see it continue.

FB John Kuuuuuuuuhn

It took long enough but the Green Bay Packers finally have discovered their own Mike Alstott.

Running through defenders instead of around them, Kuhn had two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. He showed enough that it seems like McCarthy finally feels comfortable enough to give him the ball outside goal line situations and Kuhn has been very productive in the screen game as well.