8

January

Packers Outplayed, Not Outcoached in Loss to 49ers

Packers 49ers Wild Card KaepernickAs we become farther and farther removed from the Super Bowl XLV championship season, the microscope on Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and Dom Capers becomes increasingly magnified. And for a good reason. The Green Bay Packers have arguably the best quarterback in the league on their team, yet for the past three postseasons, they have come up far short of the Super Bowl. They haven’t even reached the NFC Conference Championship in that time span.

I even wrote a controversial post back in November about how Dom Capers is under-utilizing the talent on the defense, suggesting that he be let go in the offseason in favor of someone new. And many of us were carefully scrutinizing the defense during the Wild Card game against the San Francisco 49ers, since they had been the weak link in many of the postseason failures. Could Capers redeem himself and finally put a stop to Colin Kaepernick?

The strange thing about this game, though, was that blaming the coaches for the loss just didn’t seem right. In fact, it wouldn’t be right, because this game came down to missed opportunities by the Packers. There were a number of times where they could have taken control of the game, yet failed to.

We’ll start with the final drive by the 49ers, because it’s where the biggest and most costly miscues were made.

On 2nd-and-10 at the San Francisco 31-yard line, Micah Hyde makes the most heart-wrenching drop of the game, because that interception would have easily been taken to the house. The Packers would have been up 27-20, and the final four minutes would have unraveled much differently. But even on the ensuing 3rd-and-10, Kaepernick is able to escape the pocket and hit Michael Crabtree for 17 yards.

Then, with just over a minute left, the 49ers once again convert a 3rd-and-8 when Kaepernick escapes a Cover 0 blitz and runs for the first down. Jarrett Bush fails to contain, Ryan Pickett gets pushed to the inside, and Andy Mulumba just can’t run fast enough to save the play.

Those were the missed opportunities that stick in our head the most; however, there were others throughout the game that made a difference.

3

January

Packers vs. 49ers Wild Card Round Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Wild Card Round: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 9-7 Green Bay Packers 24-21
It’s going to be brutally cold. Advantage: Packers. It’ll probably be a little uglier than expected but 2013 can become an even more special season if the Packers can exact revenge upon San Francisco in the brutal cold. The legend that is Aaron Rodgers grows stronger after the win.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 8-8 Green Bay Packers 28-27
Packers must be deadly efficient in the red zone scoring TDs not field goals. Defense has to force a few Niner field goals in the red zone.
Adam Czech 10-6 San Francisco 49ers 33-24
How are the likes of Andy Mulumba and M.D. Jennings supposed to stop Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and a bruising 49ers offense? Like they have all season, the Packers will fight until the end, but I don’t see this one ending well for the (frozen) home team.
Marques Eversoll 9-7 Green Bay Packers 30-27
This is the fifth time that a team (Packers) will host a playoff game against a team (49ers) with at least four more regular-season wins. The home team (with the worse record) came out on the winning side the previous four times. Who am I to pick against history? The Packers win and live to see another week.
Thomas Hobbes 8-8 Green Bay Packers 27-21
For all that the Packers rely on Aaron Rodgers, this game really is about Eddie Lacy; the Packers have tried 3 times to beat the 49ers through the air without a real semblance of a running game and the 49ers defense is good enough to cover their secondary weakness when an offense is one dimensional.  If Lacy can keep the defense honest, the Packers will have a shot winning.
Cory Jennerjohn 12-4 San Francisco 49ers 31-23
The 49ers have the distinct advantage on the offensive and defensive line. And since this game will be played in biblical polar conditions, the big boys up front will win or lose the game. The biggest nightmare for Dom Capers should be Vernon Davis. He is healthy and virtually unguardable, especially with the linebackers the Packers have. The Packers must play mistake-free football to stay close.
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.