29

December

Packers vs. Vikings Week 17 Game Predictions from AllGBP.COM (with Podcast)

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 17: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 11-4 Green Bay Packers 31-28
In an appropriate ending to a bizarre season, Mason Crosby wins it in overtime on a 45 yard field goal. The Packers don’t want Adrian Peterson in the playoffs so this will be a hard fought game bbetter better team prevails in the end.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 10-5 Green Bay Packers 24-16
Even with Randall Cobb probably missing, the Packers have enough offense to beat the Vikings. With Clay Matthews back on the field, I don’t see Adrian Peterson having another 200 yard performance against the Packers. He’ll get his yards, but the Packers will hold the Vikings to field goals.
Adam Czech 12-3 Green Bay Packers 27-16
It’s simple: If the Packers prevent the Vikings front four from bombarding Aaron Rodgers, the Packers should win fairly easily. If they don’t, who knows what might happen. I know the Metrodome is a quirky place and strange things happen there, but my money is on the Packers hanging tough up front and using their (mostly) healthy receivers to run wild on the Dome turf.
Marques Eversoll 12-3 Green Bay Packers 28-17
All eyes will be on Adrian Peterson this Sunday as he tries to break the single-season record for rushing yards. But fortuantely for the Packers, B.J. Raji is playing at a Pro Bowl-level, and C.J. Wilson is returning to the lineup. I think the Packers will hold Peterson to “only” about 100 yards. With Randall Cobb likely out, I think Greg Jennings becomes the feature guy once again, and when the passing game builds a lead, the Vikings will be forced to rely on Christian Ponder. For Minnesota, it’s “win and get in.” But for the Packers, it’s “win and get a first-round bye.” Both teams have a lot to play for, and I think the better team will prevail. Packers win convincingly.
Thomas Hobbes 11-4 Green Bay Packers 27-17
31

December

Packers vs. Lions Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Packers QB Matt Flynn has a perfect stage in Week 17 for his looming free agent status.

The Green Bay Packers (14-1) and Detroit Lions (10-5) face off in Week 17 of the NFL season Sunday.

The basics 

When: 12:00 CST, Sunday, January 1, 2012.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

TV: FOX; Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick with the call, Laura Okmin on the sidelines.

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; NFL Sunday Drive.

Series: Packers lead, 92-65-7 (Packers won last regular season game, 27-17, on Nov. 24, 2011 at Ford Field.)

Five things to watch

1. Money to be made

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he wants all three quarterbacks to play on Sunday, but the middle man in the group has a golden opportunity to bump up his price tag this summer. Matt Flynn, the Packers backup quarterback and a free agent after the season, will likely see the majority of the snaps against the Lions. Another solid performance on the big stage may propel a quarterback-needy team to give Flynn the opportunity to start for their franchise—and the money that goes with it—next season.

2. Who needs receivers?

The Packers offense may be one of the most receiver-dependent outfits in the NFL, but they’ll be down two at that position on Sunday. Both Greg Jennings (knee) and Randall Cobb (groin) were ruled out this week by McCarthy. Their absence should mean an increase in snaps for the Packers’ four tight ends, and more specifically, rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor.  Expect the two first-year players to log career highs in snaps and receptions on Sunday.

3. Clifton’s return

Packers left tackle Chad Clifton has played in some big games during his career, but Sunday’s tilt with the Lions might rank near the top. While the game alone has little overall meaning, how Clifton performs may influence whether or not he can play again in the NFL. The Packers get one chance to see him live before the playoffs begin, and if they don’t like what they see from him, McCarthy may have to go with with Marshall Newhouse as his starting left tackle in the postseason. It wouldn’t be overly surprising if Clifton wasn’t the same guy he was before the torn hamstring, as he’s 35 years old and in his 12th season in the NFL. A dud of a performance or set back with the injury could signal the end of Clifton’s NFL career.

30

December

Packers vs. Lions Week 17 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 17: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 13-2 Green Bay Packers 24-20
Rodgers and the first string offense rest most of the game but people see what a fine tuned machine the Packers offense is without the key players. The defense makes a statement heading into the playoffs as Detroit has to rally to keep it close.
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“Jersey” Al Bracco 14-1 Green Bay Packers 27-19
Packers are the winners of the “meh” bowl, with a few first half TDs from Aaron Rodgers & Co. and then a coast home behind the fugly beard of Matt Flynn.
Adam Czech 13-2 Green Bay Packers 27-24
Aaron Rodgers or no Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are a deep team that is able to compete even with backups on the field. The fans who paid to attend Sunday’s game might not be happy if Rodgers only plays a quarter or not at all, but they will be happy when the Packers finish the regular season 15-1.
Thomas Hobbes 14-1 Green Bay Packers 21-17
As much as players and coaches say that they take this game seriously, subconsciously it won’t take much for a team to stop caring. If either team gets ahead by 2 touchdowns watch for the backups. Green Bay wins for no other reason than they are at home.
Zach Kruse 12-3 Detroit Lions 27-20
The Lions need a win to avoid another trip to the Superdome, which means they’ll go with their starters for 60 minutes. The Packers have nothing to play for and will be playing it safe with several starters. Detroit gets its first win in the state of Wisconsin since 1991.
Chad Toporski 13-2 Detroit Lions 35-27
This is going to be a fairly high-scoring game. The Lions will likely play their starters for most, if not all, of the game; whereas, the Packers will pick and choose based on health and snaps. With Woodson and Matthews likely out, the defense is just not going to hold up.
——————

Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

30

December

McCarthy: As Expected, Packers Will Play it Safe vs. Lions on Sunday

McCarthy wants to see all three quarterbacks play on Sunday.

Despite giving a few signs earlier in the week that his team might go full throttle after 15-1, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Friday that the Packers will play it safe with a good chunk of his starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, against the Detroit Lions.

Several key players dealing with lingering dings will be held out on Sunday.

Receiver/returner Randall Cobb (groin), running back James Starks (ankle) and receiver Greg Jennings (knee) were all ruled out for Sunday, and tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) is doubtful.

Both Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews are questionable. The duo are both healthy, but each could be a scratch on Sunday to save them from any additional wear-and-tear. McCarthy said that both will be evaluated tomorrow morning regarding their playing status for Sunday.

On the issue of how much quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play, however, McCarthy was mostly mute. He said the decision to start Rodgers was still under review as of today. However, McCarthy did proclaim a want to play all three quarterbacks on Sunday, which gives credence to the idea that Rodgers won’t see much of the field. Matt Flynn should see extensive action, and Graham Harrell could get some late snaps.

It appears as if the Packers will get a chance to take an extended look at left tackle Chad Clifton, as he is listed as probable after practicing the entire week without a set back. Clifton hasn’t played or practiced since Week 5 after tearing his hamstring against the Atlanta Falcons. McCarthy has said all week how important it was to see Clifton in live action, and they should get that opportunity on Sunday.

Tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) and Ryan Pickett (concussion) were also listed as probable.

As long as no flare-ups occur between now and Sunday, Finley will almost surely play. With both Cobb and Jennings out, expect to see a big dose of the Packers four tight ends on Sunday to cover the lack of depth that they have at the receiver position. Rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor should both see their highest snap totals of the season.

Also, the Packers have practiced with both Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams at returner this week. Pat Lee might also see some work returning kicks.