Friday, October 31, 2014

Packers' Tretter Reportedly Close to Return

Packers' Offensive Lineman J.C. Tretter is expected to return to the team in time for next weekend's Bears game,'s Rob Demosky reports. 

According to Demosky, Tretter won't get his starting center job, which he held before getting injured in the preseason, back from rookie Cory Linsley, but that other positions remain a possibility. Tretter could play at right guard next Sunday if T.J. Lang is unable to, with other spots such as tackle also there to be considered.

Tretter, 23, returned to Green Bay's practices two weeks ago after missing more than a month with a knee injury.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

McCarthy Coming to Realization About Packers' Defense

That is, all they've done this season is rely on takeaways instead of just being able to force fourth downs.

"We need to be more than a football team that just has to rely on winning the turnover ratio," McCarthy told's Rob Demovsky earlier this week.

It's good that he finally realizes that, as the Packers, as good as they've seemingly been this year, still lead the league in rushing yards allowed. Not to mention their pass defense isn't too great either, another fact that should motivate them to improve. Again, should, but let's face it, probably won't.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Looking Ahead in the Schedule: Will the Packers Lose Again in the Regular Season?

The question's right there: will the Packers lose again this regular season? In my opinion, no, they won't.

Just look at their schedule. Granted, nothing's guaranteed with this team, but considering their only actual hard games left come at Lambeau against the Eagles and Patriots (maybe the Lions, too) the rest of 2014 definitely appears favorable for three time-defending NFC North Champs. Add onto those matchups visits to three weak teams in the Bills, Buccaneers, and Vikings and walk-in-the-parks at home against the Bears and Falcons also scheduled, and I think we can all agree these next two months will be fun to watch, and very likely undefeated.

Sorry this opinion post was short, but I just had to point something positive out here. You guys are welcome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Apparently the Packers and Saints Made History Sunday Night

Yep, the title says it. It seems Sunday night's Packers/Saints game featured an extremely rare occurrence, as neither team punted during the contest for just the third time in NFL history.

Sports Illustrated pointed this out earlier this week, and if this whole thing is making you experience deja vu, it's probably because the Packers also somehow did this Week 4 in Chicago. In other words, something that had only happened once ever prior to this year has now struck the same team twice, in spite of the fact that both of those competitions were blowouts.

Now what are the odds of that?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rodgers Making Excuses For Peppers After He Dropped Touchdown Pass

In a surprising turn of events, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is making excuses for teammate Julius Peppers' dropping of a touchdown pass in yesterday's first quarter.

"It was a little harder than maybe he was expecting," Rodgers told of the play, in which the ball appeared to hit Peppers right in the numbers. "Yeah, he ran a good route and got his chest on it. Pep's a talented guy. We've ran that play at practice a number of times, and he's come down with it. That one was probably a little faster than he was used to." 

So there you have it guys. Apparently the speed of a throw cancels out its accuracy.

Reaction: Saints Snap Packers Winning Streak

My takeaways from the Packers' 44-23 loss to the Saints yesterday, their first since Week 3:

1. Mike McCarthy Needs to Stop Being Dumb:
There's just no way to sugarcoat it. Putting in Julius Peppers to drop a pass Jordy Nelson would've made in his sleep and onside kicking in the first quarter were clearly not good decisions. 

2. The Bad Defense is Back:
Just in case you actually thought the elusive "solid defense" had arrived.

3. This is Still Just One Game:
No reason to panic. They'll bounce back for sure.

Leave your thoughts below if you disagree with any of my points.

Packers Head Into The Bye Week With A 23-44 Loss To The Saints

Ironically, this 2014 loss at in the Superdome was an awful lot like their loss in the Superdome back in 2008. In both games, the score was close at halftime and neither team's defense was stopping anyone, before the Saints ran away with it in the second half. Maybe we should just expect that the defense will be taking the week off when playing QB Drew Brees in his dome. Also, the Packers have played their worst on the road this season.
It wasn't the best performance from the offense, though they weren't likely to keep pace with the Saints if the defense wasn't planning on stopping them from scoring on every drive. WR Davante Adams needs to spend some more time with Aaron Rodgers and learn what Rodgers is expecting him on his routes. The Saints proved, once again, that if you double WR Jordy Nelson with a safety over the top on every route, he won't have a big game against your team, but that's OK if Adams and WR Randall Cobb can take advantage of it. Cobb did have a great first half, but he didn't do much in the second half, when they needed him to step up. These are things to work on it, but it's not why they lost the game.

In many ways, this is nothing new for the Packers D. They've had trouble stopping the run (big game from RB Mark Ingram) and they've been inconsistent all season. I thought they would overcome the absence of SS Morgan Burnett and CB Sam Shields, and maybe the D wouldn't have been any better if those two had played, but the Packers could have used Burnett's run support and Drew Brees picked on Shields's replacement (CB Davon House) early and often.

LB Clay Matthews continues his frustrating season. There was some thought that the read option was part of the problem, but that's not a weapon in Drew Brees's arsenal. Brees seemed to be taking advantage of Matthews's tendencies on every play. He did finish the game with one sack in pursuit on one of the few times Brees was flushed from the pocket. Matthews seems like a player who hasn't watched any film, and he's fooled by any misdirection, whether it be the read option, a screen pass, or his blocker releasing into the flat to become a wide open receiver. The talent is still there but he needs to play smarter.

The biggest disappointment might be Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers. They were completely outcoached by Sean Peyton and his staff. The Saints' defense has been the worst in the NFL, but McCarthy couldn't take advantage of them. Capers took nothing away from the Saints (as the Saints did by taking WR Jordy Nelson out of the game) and everything was working for them on offense. They know football, but everyone can have a bad week.

No more Packer football until November 9th, and it's probably as good a time as any for a mid-season break. November is looking promising, with four of their next five games at Lambeau (sandwiched in-between all those home games is short trip to the frozen tundra of Minneapolis to take on the struggling Vikings). They just need to keep winning and the playoffs should take care of themselves.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Packers/Saints Final Prediction

My final prediction for Sunday's Packers/Saints game, which will be nationally televised on NBC:

Score: Packers 31, Saints 24
Or something like that. Basically I just see this one being close and high-scoring, though not exactly stressful.

Because the Saints' Rob Ryan-led defense going against Aaron Rodgers is obviously a mismatch. It won't cost them their dignity since I still expect Drew Brees to score a few points (and maybe even take a lead or two), but nonetheless, it will cause them to lose in the end. 

Leave your thoughts below on how accurate you think my thoughts are. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Packers Injury Updates

Some Packers injury updates, courtesy of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne:
  • Morgan Burnett (calf) questionable
  • Sam Shields (knee) doubtful
  • Datone Jones (ankle) OUT
  • James Starks (ankle) probable
According to Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy, the fact that this weekend's game is a night one should improve Burnett's chances to play, as the latter is apparently on a "time-clock type thing" right now.

As for Jones, McCarthy said that it was clear he's not ready to play after watching him practice yesterday, a happening that certainly won't help the Pack this Sunday against a strong offense like New Orleans.

Preview: Saints Host The Packers Sunday Night

Playing the Saints in their dome is a tough game for any team, and the Packers are going to have to perform well to win. The good news is that the Packers have been playing almost mistake-free football during their four game winning streak.
Being down two starting defensive backs, CB Sam Shields and probably SS Morgan Burnett to a calf injury, is never a good thing when preparing to face QB Drew Brees. But the Saints might not get much from TE Jimmy Graham, who is playing through a shoulder injury, so their passing attack isn't at 100%.

Rookie S Ha Ha Clinton Dix might receive his first career start in place of Burnett, but he was going to play a lot anyway in the nickel package. I'd also expect to see a lot of SS Sean Richardson, who plays a similar role to what they've asked Burnett to play this season; closer to the line of scrimmage. Shields's absence will give additional snaps to CB Casey Hayward, who I want to see more of anyway. At least for this week, the loss of Shields and/or Burnett shouldn't be a problem.

Here are the current rankings from Football Outsiders:
Team Pass Offense Run Offense Pass Defense Run Defense
Packers 4 7 6 22
Saints 15 2 30 16

I'm not too comforted by the 15th overall ranking for the Saints's pass offense. While they're missing a healthy version of Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees is still the same old Drew Brees, at least according to his current ESPN QBR compared to previous seasons. Since the Packers's have struggled stopping the run, the Saints's running game is looking like a big problem. If they can't stop the run, Dom Capers would have to make some adjustments that could open up the passing game.

However, the Saints's running attack is not at 100% either. The Saints could be without RBs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, and starting C Jonathan Goodwin, none of which would help them run the ball. In any case, the Packers are facing an injured Saints's offense that could be slowed down on Sunday.

The key to the game is the Packers's passing offense. The offense is on a role, and being compared to QB Aaron Rodgers's 2011 MVP season. Even if the Saints can move the ball and score on the Packers, it's even less certain that the Saints can stop them at all. Their 30th ranked pass defense is trending down in recent weeks, while the Packers's 4th ranked pass offense has been moving upwards.

Packers 38, Saints 20.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saints' Brees Still Doesn't Think Packers Game is a Must-Win

It appears Saints' QB Drew Brees doesn't agree with many of his team's fans, surprisingly telling The Green Bay Press-Gazette yesterday that he doesn't consider New Orleans' upcoming home game against the Packers a must-win.

"There's no must-win games until they're must-win games," Brees said. "It's important. It's really important, but nobody needs that kind of pressure."

As was just mentioned, it's safe to say many Saints supporters would disagree with that statement, as the usually-dominant contender currently sits at just 2-4. No, that bad record doesn't guarantee them a bad season, but still, since it obviously isn't likable it's strange to hear Brees say that, as confident as he usually is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rodgers Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, in the wake of his dominant performance in Sunday's win over the Panthers, has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Pro Football Talk reports.

Rodgers, whose Pack currently sit at a division-best 5-2 (though the Lions also posses that record and own the tiebreaker due to their Week 3 victory at Ford Field), completed 19/22 passes for 255 yards and Three Touchdowns in the W, Green Bay's fourth consecutive.

So, considering those numbers are obviously above average it's not that surprising that Rodgers collected this accolade, the tenth time he's done so already in his career.

The Packers New Starting Inside LB: Sam Barrington

The Packers surprisingly gave inside LB Sam Barrington his first NFL start last Sunday against the Panthers. I still think LB Jamari Lattimore is better in pass coverage, though that's not saying much. If LB Brad Jones could recover his 2012 form, he'd be their best coverage LB, but that season seems a long ways away. He's been given extensive playing time in two games (at Seattle, at Miami) and he was terrible in both because of penalties and missed tackles.

ILB Snaps Sack Pass Defense INT Tackles
Hawk 484 0.5 2 0 52
Lattimore 261 0 1 1 34
Jones 113 0 1 0 6
Barrington 50 0 0 0 6

LB A.J. Hawk is slightly behind Jones for the worst grade at inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus, this season, though Jones recorded a similarly awful grade in only one-quarter of the number of snaps. Their rankings for Lattimore and Barrington are about the same; both are average players. They aren't making big plays but they aren't getting burned either. I'm not sure how many missed tackles Jones has this season, as a team the Packers are about league average in allowing yards after the catch, but he does lead the team with four penalties this season.

The coaches basically split time for Lattimore and Barrington against Carolina, and that doesn't seem like a bad idea until one of them emerges (or one stumbles). The coaches have a love of A.J. Hawk that makes any reduction in his playing time seem impossible. Jones has clearly made the case that he doesn't belong in the discussion.

One side note; the Packers aren't blitzing any of the inside linebackers much. After recording five sacks last season, Hawk only has a half-sack through seven games. That isn't a problem; it means they're getting enough pressure from their front four that they can drop their inside backers into coverage. I don't have the exact stats on blitz percentages, but it seems like they're blitzing less this season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oddsmakers Unsure What to Make of Packers/Saints

It seems this Sunday's Packers/Saints game has confused internet oddsmakers.

As things stand, according to, Bet Online, 5 Dimes, and all have the contest's line listed as even, while other sources like Bovada and Fantasy 911 have New Orleans down as one point favorites.

Remember, going into the nationally televised matchup the Packers are 5-2 and the Saints 2-4, records that may be deceiving given Green Bay's struggles on the road and the home team's unlimited potential. Nonetheless, since the Pack are obviously on a hot streak right now it seems more likely that they'll be the ones who ultimately find a way to win, as bias as that statement sounds.

The Packers Are Very Likely To Make The Playoffs and Torch The Saints's Awful Defense

Obviously (sarcasm alert) the big news of the day is that the Packers got to see Pearl Jam and meet Eddie Vedder, but I was also looking at the advanced stats released today.

Football Outsiders have now put the odds that the Packers will make the playoffs at 89% which is second best in the NFC behind the Cowboys at 90.1%. I'd feel really good about where they stand, but things can change in one play. Unfortunately this might be a jinx, but I'll point out that the Packers were 5-2 last season, just as they are this season, after seven games and then QB Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in their eighth game.

Overall, Football Outsiders has the Packers ranked as the third best team, mainly on the strength of their offense (third overall), but the defense and special teams are both currently above average. They're way behind the Broncos in the rankings, but Denver's lapping every other NFL team at the moment, so they're is in good company.

They're also ranked 3rd overall on offense by Pro Football Focus, but those stats are better used to evaluate individual players instead of entire teams. For example, the overall PFF rankings currently have the Broncos's offense at number seven overall, one spot ahead of the Bears, which doesn't seem right. Individually, PFF has QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson as the highest ranked players at their respective positions.
Looking ahead to New Orleans, their offense isn't quite as great as they were in 2013 because of TE Jimmy Graham's injury, but their defense has fallen apart. The Saints are currently ranked as the worst defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders (the bottom four defensive spots are all occupied by teams from the NFC South and the Packers play both the Buccaneers and Falcons in December). After what the Packers just did to the Panthers last Sunday, I think a match-up between Aaron Rodgers and any team featuring a terrible defense is going to be a lopsided affair.

Monday, October 20, 2014

McCarthy Not Underestimating Saints Despite Their 2-4 Record

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy is not underestimating the Saints, whom the Packers play next week, despite their current 2-4 record.

"I don't ever put an opposing team's record up," McCarthy recently told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "We stay true to video. They've lost four games, three of them have been by a few points. We stay in tune with what we see on the video."

This weekend, as you may already know, the Saints blew a late lead in a 24-23 loss to the Lions, a fact that seemingly proves McCarthy's point. Nonetheless, since the Packers are still on a hot streak it's likely that they'll win next week's matchup anyway, though nothing is obviously guaranteed after last week's near-defeat in Miami.

Packers Blowout Panthers, 38-17, To Improve To 5-2

I was expecting the defense to have trouble stopping QB Cam Newton on the read option, similar to the problems they had with QB Ryan Tannehill in their previous game in Miami. I couldn't have been more wrong.
It was a great game from QB Aaron Rodgers, who carved up the Panthers' D, but he had help. His pass blockers gave him time to throw and his receivers were finding holes in the zone coverage. Plus RB Eddie Lacy had room to run and both he and RB James Starks averaged over five yards per carry. Everything was working on offense in the first quarter.

And the defense forced three punts in the first quarter, making the score 21-0 by the end of the first quarter, and leading to the biggest non-Buccaneers involved blowout of 2014. This was their second consecutive blowout of an opponent at home (Vikings on October 2nd).

What does it all mean?

On offense; most of the credit should be given to Aaron Rodgers. He's being extremely productive and not making any mistakes (no INTs in his last six games). It's not even luck. Sometimes a defense drops an INT or two when a QB goes on a long INT free streak, but that's not been the case. The Panthers did intercept one pass in the first quarter, but it came after a defensive offsides when he knew he had a free play. While his QBR is only 4th overall this season, it's the seventh best since 2006 (it's a great year for QBs). He's not quite at his 2011 levels, but he keeps getting better each game.

Unfortunately the running game and the offensive line remain inconsistent. When the line is blocking well and giving Lacy running lanes, as they did against the Vikings and now the Panthers, the Packers are almost unbeatable.

On defense; the inconsistency remains. After dominating the first half in Miami, they couldn't stop Ryan Tannehill in the second half. They bounce back this week by holding Panthers to only 3 points while Newton was in the game, and he only led three drives into Packers' territory. QB Derek Anderson led the Panthers on two touchdown drives while some of the starters were still in on defense during the 4th quarter, but the Packers had taken their foot off the gas by that point.

Only one more game remains until the bye week; next Monday night in New Orleans. Aaron Rodgers loves playing indoors and the Saints are 2-4. While the Saints are unbeaten in two home games this season, their wins came against two of the worst teams in the NFL (Vikings and Buccaneers) and they had to come back from 11 points down against the Bucs just to force them into OT (when they won). On the other hand, Drew Brees isn't throwing as many TD passes but he's been almost as good as ever. I'm expecting they'll win, but they can't look past the Saints either.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Reaction: Packers Cruise Past Panthers 38-17

The Packers beat the Panthers in a one-sided affair this afternoon, and really, they did so in an ideal way. Here's my takeaways from it:

1. Aaron Rodgers is Unstoppable Right Now:
Seriously, he is. This game was over in the first quarter.

2. The Defense is Improving:
They still have some work to do, but with the early three-and-outs and Clay Matthews' sudden involvement today they definitely showed some promise.

3. The Saints Should Be Beatable:
A performance half as good as this one will probably be good enough to bring them down next week. Hopefully, at least.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this subject? If so, please share them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Panthers/Packers Final Prediction

My final prediction for tomorrow's Panthers/Packers game:

Score: Packers 28, Panthers 24
After their indivual performances last week in Miami and Cincinnati, it's clear that both of these teams need a little work. Nonetheless, since the Packers are at home here and still seemingly better I think they'll find a way to win, regardless of how badly their defense performs.

Because Aaron Rodgers, in my opinion, will get the big touchdowns when he needs them. He won't get a ton of help from the other side of the ball, but considering Cam Newton's always struggled in big situations I expect Dom Capers' guys to have at least one clutch series. Again, AT LEAST one, maybe more. You just never know with them.

Leave your thoughts below on how accurate you think my thoughts are.

Packers Injury Updates: Shields Out, Williams Questionable For Tomorrow

Some Packers injury updates for tomorrow's meeting with the Panthers, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne. There's kind of a lot of them:
  • CB Tramon Williams (ankle) questionable
  • CB Sam Shields (knee) out
  • DE Datone Jones (ankle) out
  • WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) questionable
  • LB Sam Barrington (hamstring) probable
  • DT Josh Boyd (knee) probable
  • LB Jamari Lattimore (neck) questionable
Williams and Shields, probably the two most notable names on that list, both went down in the second half of Sunday's Dolphins game. Boykin, meanwhile, hasn't played since Week 2's loss to the Lions, solidly being replaced by Davante Adams since. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Matthews Blaming Evolution of Offenses For His Recent Struggles

Packers LB Clay Matthews is blaming "evolution of offenses" for his recent struggles.

"I think statistically, obviously, you'd love to have more stats, but I know the sacks will come and the numbers will always be there," Matthews told today. "But at the same time, I think you have to look at the evolution of offenses that we continue to play, especially with the zone-read and them knowing the guys who we possess on this side of the ball about stopping that first line of defense, being us rushers. You saw that last week with having us kind of read and react in playing that offense." 

In last Sunday's win over the Dolphins, Matthews failed to record a tackle despite being on the field for 84% of Green Bay's defensive snaps, an unfortunate happening that will only continue this week if the Panthers run the read option.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Packers Listed as 7 Point Favorites For Sunday's Panthers Game

The Packers have been listed as seven point favorites for Sunday's game against the Panthers.

The Pack, who beat the Dolphins on a last-second touchdown last week, have won each of their last three contests, improving their record to an NFC North-best 4-2.

The Panthers, meanwhile, sit at just 3-2-1 right now after dropping two of their last four, a number that would be three right now had the Bengals not missed a 36 yard field goal in Sunday's overtime.

This upcoming competition between the two will conveniently kickoff at noon, airing on Fox in most areas. It will be played at Lambeau.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rodgers Claims Nobody Knew Fake Spike Was Coming

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers claimed on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show today that nobody besides him knew Sunday's late fake spike was coming.

According to Rodgers, he simply yelled "clock," the team's code word for spike, before lining up and then instead throwing to Davante Adams. 

The play gained for the Packers 12 yards and brought them down to the six, where they'd score the game-winning TD seconds later.

Rodgers said that he didn't expect Adams to get as far downfield as he did, but figured the team getting two chances from the ten would be better than them getting two chances from the sixteen. 

Quarless Hoping For More Opportunities After Winning Game Sunday

Packers Tight End Andrew Quarless is hoping for more offensive opportunities to contribute after making the game-winning catch Sunday.

"I hope so. I hope so," Quarless recently told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "The future will tell, but it starts in practice. The more and more I split out and am moving around the field, it's only going to help and hopefully we can build upon it."

Quarless' big grab this weekend came with just three seconds left on the clock, and kept the Packers above .500 with a 4-2 record. Their next game will come at home against the 3-2-1 Panthers. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

NFL Week 6 Picks

My picks for NFL Week 6, with the exception of Thursday's Colts/Texans game:

1. Packers at Dolphins
Prediction: Packers win in a close one

2. Patriots at Bills
Prediction: Patriots win in a close one

3. Panthers at Bengals
Prediction: Bengals win in a close one

4. Steelers at Browns
Prediction: Steelers win in a close one

5. Lions at Vikings
Prediction: Lions win in a close one

6. Broncos at Jets
Prediction: Broncos win easily

7. Ravens at Buccaneers
Prediction: Ravens win in a close one

8. Jaguars at Titans
Prediction: Titans win in a close one

9. Chargers at Raiders
Prediction: Chargers win easily

10. Bears at Falcons
Prediction: Falcons win in a close one

11. Redskins at Cardinals 
Prediction: Cardinals win easily

12. Cowboys at Seahawks
Prediction: Seahawks win easily

13. Giants at Eagles
Prediction: Eagles win in a close one

14. 49ers at Rams
Prediction: 49ers win easily 

Leave your thoughts below if you disagree with any of them. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Packers/Dolphins Final Prediction

My final prediction for tomorrow's Packers/Dolphins game:

Score: Packers 31, Dolphins 21
Since this contest's going to be played in relatively hot weather, I'm not confident that it'll be a blowout. Nonetheless, since Miami hasn't beaten anyone notable (unless you consider the week-one-and-on-the-road Patriots as so) this season I'm not willing to say Green Bay will lose, as their offense has simply been too good lately. 

Because the Packers are the better team here. Maybe that's not a good reason, but to me it is enough of one to say the Pack will be 4-2 at this point tomorrow.

Leave your thoughts below on whether or not you think I'm right here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Peppers Fined For Wearing Unauthorized Shoes

Packers Defensive End Julius Peppers has been fined for apparently wearing unauthorized shoes at certain games this season,'s Rob Demovsky reports. 

According to Demovsky, Peppers has worn Nike Air Jordans this year, yet apparently doesn't know which pair got him in trouble.

"I think I saw a letter [from the league office] in my locker, but I didn't even really [look at] it," Peppers said. 

The exact amount Peppers will pay has not yet been revealed. Nonetheless, since this violation seems to be relatively minor I'd imagine he won't have to cough up that much cash, as this whole situation just doesn't appear to be that serious.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Adams Likely Out This Week With Groin Injury

Packers Wide Receiver Jarret Boykin will likely miss this week's game against the Dolphins with a groin injury,'s Rob Demovsky reports. 

Boykin, the team's #3, hasn't played since Week 2's contest against the Jets, being replaced by Davante Adams since then.

He hasn't practiced the last two days.

If he is out, Demovsky writes, it's possible he'll be the only one, as team Defensive End Datone Jones is currently feeling better. According to Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Jones is "in a day-to-day category" right now, a fact that can only improve the defense during these next three matchups.

Packers Listed as 3 Point Favorites for Sunday's Dolphins Game

The Packers have been listed as 3 point favorites for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

Going into the contest, the Dolphins are 2-2, including a 1-1 home record. In week 1, they beat the Patriots, and in week 3 they got blown out by the Chiefs.

The Packers, meanwhile, have easily won their last two over the Bears and Vikings, bringing their record to 3-2. Prior to those, though, they did struggle in road losses to the Seahawks and Lions, a fact that should make this one more interesting.

This competition will kickoff at noon, being shown on FOX in certain areas.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Packers Shuffle The Bottom of the Roster

The Packers have signed two players from the practice squad (WR Kevin Dorsey and DT Luther Robinson) over the last several days, and lost one promising CB to the Texans (Jumal Rolle).
Unfortunately these moves led to the release of 4th year TE Ryan Taylor. He was a steady player who helped on special teams, but with TE Brandon Bostick returning from injury, the roster was a little overloaded with TEs (plus Justin Perillo on the practice squad) and Taylor had the least upside.

Robinson's already been a contributor in place of Josh Boyd (knee injury) with a tipped pass that was intercepted by LB Julius Peppers. Dorsey has the skills to be a good receiver, but he had trouble catching passes during the preseason. He might not even be active on Sunday, unless they decide to move him ahead of rookie WR Jeff Janis while WR Jarrett Boykin (knee and groin injuries) remains out.

The recent signing to the practice squad (an offensive lineman, defensive end, and cornerback) look like moves intended to fill out the scout team in practice. But you never know, Robinson's come out of almost nowhere to contribute, and it will happen again.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ravens Claim Packers TE Ryan Taylor off Waivers

The Ravens have claimed Packers Tight End Ryan Taylor off waivers, NFL Trade Rumors reports.

Taylor, 26, was cut by the team yesterday when they made room for a wide receiver. He was drafted by Green Bay back in the seventh round of 2011, a youngster out of The University of North Carolina.

Since then, Taylor's been notable for his contributions to the Pack's Special Teams, while also occasionally playing on offense. In 50 games since the start of his career, he's caught eight passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, which came against the Raiders in his rookie season.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Hawk in Favor of NFL Testing For HGH

Packers LB A.J. Hawk is in favor of the NFL's new policy of testing for HGH.

Hawk said so in an article published yesterday by ESPN Wisconsin.

"If you're not going to test for it, guys are going to do it," Hawk told Rob Demovsky. "I don't know what that number or percentage would be of guys in the league, I have no idea. But it's good. Anytime you can keep everything fair, it's good for us." 

No doubt about that, as it's a pretty safe bet that cheating is frowned upon by the league's fans and coaches. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Lions Unsure How Long Calvin Johnson Will Be Out After Injuring Ankle

The Lions are unsure how long Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson will be out after he injured his ankle in their loss today to the Bills, reports.

Johnson, who had just one catch in the 17-14 defeat, left this afternoon's contest early in the third quarter, never returning. 

So, since that's obviously not good and Johnson also had problems staying healthy two weeks ago against the Packers Detroit is understandably nervous right now, as Johnson is arguably their best offensive player.

This weekend's last-second falling to Buffalo, which came after they led 14-3 at halftime, dropped the Lions' record on the year to 3-2, still the best one in the NFC North.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

NFL Week 5 Predictions

My picks for this week's NFL games, with the exception of Thursday's Packers/Vikings meeting:

1. Bears at Panthers
Prediction: Panthers win easily

2. Texans at Cowboys
Prediction: Cowboys win easily

3. Bills at Lions
Prediction: Lions win easily

4. Ravens at Colts
Prediction: Colts win in a close one

5. Steelers at Jaguars
Prediction: Steelers win easily

6. Buccaneers at Saints
Prediction: Saints win easily

7. Falcons at Giants
Prediction: Giants win easily

8. Rams at Eagles
Prediction: Eagles win easily

9. Browns at Titans
Prediction: Titans win in a close one

10. Cardinals at Broncos
Prediction: Broncos win in a close one

11. Jets at Chargers
Prediction: Chargers win easily

12. Chiefs at 49ers
Prediction: 49ers win in a close one

13. Bengals at Patriots
Prediction: Bengals win in a close one 

14. Seahawks at Redskins
Prediction: Seahawks win easily

Leave your comments below on how accurate you think my picks are.

Friday, October 03, 2014

McCarthy Apparently Enjoys Thursday Games

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy apparently enjoys Thursday games.

McCarthy, whose Pack blew out the Vikings last night, said so yesterday. He said that he likes how playing earlier in the week gives the team a mini bye week, something he thinks they need right now after a tough five week stretch.

"I've always enjoyed the Thanksgiving game," McCarthy told The Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I always felt it served as kind of a mini-bye week for your football team. So just really after what we've been through, five weeks – in particular the last three weeks to have these three division games – this is a perfect time for a mini-bye. So this came at the right time."

Indeed that seems true, as next week's contest in Miami will likely be much closer than this week's against the Vikings.

Reaction: Packers Blowout Vikings in Week 5

My takeaways from the Packers' 42-10 win over the Vikings last night:

1. Eddie Lacy is Back:
Granted, he wasn't facing a great defense, but still, Lacy's two-touchdown, 105-yard performance was definitely his best of the year.

2. Julius Peppers is Pretty Good:
Peppers' 49-yard Pick Six in the second quarter, his first interception as a Packer, made him the first player in league history with 100 sacks and 10 interceptions, so yes, I guess you could say his day went well too. 

3. Minor History was Interestingly Made: 
Though it didn't feel like much of a record-setter, the 32-point victory for the Pack was actually the second biggest blowout in Thursday Night history, trailing only the Falcons' 42-point one over the Buccaneers two weeks ago.

Packers Cruise In An Easy Win Over The Vikings, 42-10

There's an argument to be made that the Vikings had no chance with Christian Ponder at quarterback, but Ponder had no chance because of his offensive line. They were a disaster, especially the revolving door they employed on the right side (RG Vladimir Ducasse and RT Phil Loadholt).
The Packers' offensive line arguably deserves their own group game ball. The Vikings have had trouble getting to the quarterback with just their front four this season, but they had held up pretty well against the run while the Packers' O-line had done a terrible job of opening up running lanes for RB Eddie Lacy. But on Thursday night, the line opened up some giant running lanes and let Eddie Lacy finally do his Eddie Lacy things, such as badly abusing Vikings SS Robert Blanton twice in the open field. The Vikings also learned that Robert Blanton should not be considered their strong safety of the future.

The O-line also did the job against the pass rush and gave QB Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to throw on play action (66 yard TD bomb to WR Jordy Nelson). Nelson only had that single reception, but he kept the safety's focus to him on one side of the field while opening up single coverage for WR Randall Cobb and WR Davante Adams on the other side.

Finally, the defensive line was in Ponder's face all night. They weren't great against the run, but SS Morgan Burnett did force a fumble. I can't believe the speed of LB Julius Peppers; he outran RB Jerick McKinnon on his pick-six INT and McKinnon is supposed to be a burner. LB Clay Matthews had a quiet night as his groin injury still seems to be keeping him at less than 100%. CB Davon House fell down again in coverage on Thursday night; he's a nice player but how he's getting snaps ahead of CB Casey Hayward is a mystery.

It's hard to take away anything from a game when everything is working. That doesn't happen every week and it's a better sign of a great team when they win despite even when they haven't brought their A Game. The run defense will still be an issue when they play their next game in Miami, though the offensive line is looking better when they're not playing the Seahawks, Jets, or Lions.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Packers Listed as 7 1/2 Point Favorites for Tomorrow's Vikings Game

The Packers have been listed as 7 1/2 point favorites for Thursday's game against the Vikings.

The spread, the second positive one in as many weeks for Green Bay, is the second largest in the league this weekend, trailing only Sunday's contest between the Buccaneers and Saints (-10). 

And really, that fact isn't that surprising, as currently 2-2 Minnesota, which scored 41 points their last time out versus the Falcons, hasn't won at Lambeau Field since 2010. 

Tomorrow's competition, the fifth of the year for both sides, will kickoff at 7:25 p.m. CT, airing live on both CBS and NFL Network.

Preview: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)

Just like LG Josh Sitton, I hate Thursday night games because the players still haven't physically recovered from their game the previous Sunday. The game is usually sloppy and it brings out the worst in players.

If you've watched the previous two Thursday night games, you've seen the Buccaneers play as bad as possible in Atlanta and watched QB Kirk Cousins completely fall apart in the second half against the Giants. The Packers are overall the better team, so this short week might been seen as favoring them, but they'll be just as susceptible to exhaustion in the second half and a close game might slip away from them after one bad play.
For the Vikings, the short week comes at a bad time because QB Teddy Bridgewater can't practice and I expect QB Christian Ponder will start on Thursday night. Despite Ponder's obvious limitations as a QB, if Bridgewater started, he'd certainly be less than 100%. If he had to make his first NFL road start in a rivalry game, injured, with no practice time, I can't see how the Vikings would be better off with him over a healthy Ponder.

It's hard to know what to expect from the Vikings offense. Ponder hasn't started a game in new OC Norv Turner's offense, and Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers can't even remember their running backs' names. Football Outsiders says the Vikings have the No. 24 offense after four games, for what it's worth. The Ponder led Vikings put up 26 points against the Packers last November in Lambeau, but he had RB Adrian Peterson then and he faced the two-headed Flynn/Tolzien QB monster.

This is a new look Vikings defense for QB Aaron Rodgers. Mike Zimmer's a good coach, but unfortunately for him he left his No. 1 ranked Bengals defense in Cincinnati. SS Harrison Smith and LB Anthony Barr are playing very well, but the Vikings are only ranked by Football Outsiders at No. 22 overall (No. 24 against the pass). There's no obvious weakness, but there's no obvious strength either. Pro Football Focus has given them a negative grade as a team to both their pass rush and pass coverage.

However, the Viking run defense seems to be playing well and we know the Packers can't run block. This game could be similar to their strategy against the Bears, with a pass heavy attack featuring only an occasional rush by RB Eddie Lacy. Though Mike McCarthy said he'll give a larger role to RB James Starks this week.

The Vikings still have some weapons on offense and I expect they'll be able to move the ball and score against a Packer defense that is still having some problems. However, the Packers are going to have more success moving the ball against the Vikings D.

Packers 31, Vikings 17