It would do wonders for our season if we were to go into this game and steal it. My what a glorious day it would be to knock the Packers from the unbeaten. I have to say obviously this is not the ideal way we wanted to face them. Beating the Packers at full strength would be a really great victory but beating them as down as we are would be pretty much miraculous. I still believe if anybody is going to give them their first defeat it could very well be us. The NFL shows its parity every year and this is a perfect time to show that Any Given Sunday is very real.
I have said it plenty of times already that I believe out of the Packers remaining schedule that we have the best chance of winning. Most people argue with me and say it is Detroit but I feel like we match up better offensively against their defense. We are a running team, and as our running game goes so do we. I hope to see the offensive line of the Jets game here. We really need to hold onto the ball as much as possible and we have to get touchdowns when we do score.
If we can keep the Packers at 21 points of less we have a shot. The problem is NOBODY has held them under 21 points so far this year. Its a tall order and one that most of us can not see happening. However most teams have one game that they end up losing. There is a reason that only the 72 Dolphins went undefeated and won the Super Bowl, and since then only the Patriots have managed to stay unblemished during the regular season. They obviously did not remain that way and eventually lost in the Super Bowl to the Giants.
I just don't see the Packers going undefeated because of that past history. It could happen but it just seems so unlikely, and if they are going to lose one then why can't it be to us. It just takes one day of not quite making the plays to lose. It simply doesn't happen often for a team to make it all the way through the gauntlet of a 16 game schedule without losing one. I am a very big Packer fan as well, with Green Bay being my hometown, but I will be all in come Sunday for the Silver and Black to come out victor.
There are three Packer defenders that we really need to keep an eye on in this game to be successful: We need to keep an extra blocker in on most pass plays to defend the right side with Clay Matthews the third coming from that direction. He goes full speed at all times and is best when he is able to utilize his spin move. We need to have that extra blocker back to help chip him and keep him to the inside. If Clay is able to get the outside edge he wreaks havoc. He will make some plays but we need to keep him from getting turnovers and if possible sacks. When he gets turnovers or sacks the Packer defense explodes with excitement. If we can keep him quiet the Packer defense will have that much less energy, and that is important. They play best when they are flying around, so we need to slow them down and keep the ball safe.
The second Packer of the three I mentioned on defense is B.J. Raji. He is absolutely amazing. He clogs up the middle as good as anybody playing but he also has the speed to make it past you to the QB or RB if you give him any room. The team doesn't feed off of B.J. the way they do off of Clay but they certainly like to see the big fella dance. For this very large reason we need to be able to run off tackle. We need to run around him but still have a chance at their depleted inside linebackers.
Chris Francois has played very well in his playing time since A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop both got hurt, but we need to test him Sunday. Their other inside linebacker is a rookie from Appalachan ST named D.J. Smith. He will be on the left and also needs to get a full day of work in. Erik Walden is the outside linebacker opposite of Clay and has had a stellar season but is on the side we need to run at. Even their defensive end on that side is their weakest starter on the line in Jarius Wynn. He is no slouch but he is the one we need to run over if we want to have success in the run game. We can also run some delayed handoffs towards Clay to take advantage of his motor but the majority of runs I hope are to the left side.
Last but certainly not least is the Great Charles Woodson. Yes, THAT guy. The former Raider great whose time as a Raider looks silly compared to the stats he has earned as a Packer. He is another player that the entire defense feeds off of when he makes plays. I have always loved Charles Woodson and am thrilled that he has had so much success. That being said we need to use his over aggressive style against him. He has this move that he has almost perfected of jumping over the receiver and tearing the ball away during a catch. I think he is starting to use this move even more often and its going to eventually leave him susceptible to the double move.
If we can victimize him and attack him with success (yes, far easier said than done) we can make the defense start playing back a little. They will expect us to avoid him, so I think maybe we should do the opposite. Even great players can give up good plays. It is actually something the Packers themselves did to Troy Palamalu in the Super Bowl. When you have a secondary player that is that good you do not game plan for him to be attacked. So lets do it, go all out on this one. This is already chalked up as a loss amongst just about anybody that watches football so this is the perfect game to go against the grain.
As for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. We need to keep a spy on Rodgers at all times for his running. QB contain has been one of the worst aspects of our run defense and we can't leave Rodgers with the middle of the field calling for him to run. He does not take hits when he runs. He has learned to slide and protect himself after his concussions that he got last year. If we can stay in front of him he will not try to out run us if he knows he will take a hit and that makes watching for him to run that much more important. If he sees everybody with their heads turned he will run.
His passing on the other hand, the only thing we can do is hope to get our hands up and on the ball at the line of scrimmage and try to get turnovers. He is so good against the blitz that it is going to be really hard to get him with it. We need to rush with our front four and guard the passing lanes. Rodgers throws through tight windows to whoever is open. That means every single head needs to be on alert and know where they are on the field. It is going to be scary. Hopefully our offense performs well enough to keep sustained drives moving and the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands.
It looks like they will be without James Starks in the running game but they still do have weapons. They are not the scary part of the Packers offense but they are important. Ryan Grant has been running hard all year and gets better as it gets cold. Trust me it will be cold. He will be running hard and our defense needs to be ready to make tackles. They need to be ready to get hit as they make the tackle as well. Grant finishes his runs with authority and will be looking to lay hits on defenders as much as taking them.
They also have a rookie out of Ohio St that they have been using more lately named Brandon Saine. He has shown a great ability to catch the ball from the backfield and Aaron Rodgers has said he might have the best hands on the entire team. Saine and John Kuhn are both very dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield and are going to have to be paid more attention to down by the goal line. If we are lucky we will force them to run more than they have all year, but realistically we should expect a whole lot of passing.
If they get down there, which they probably will, our best chance at winning is to keep them kicking field goals. Rodgers and the Packers have the best red zone offense efficiency in the league and are winning games because field goals are a far second in what they want to score. They get down there and get it in the endzone. Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley are scoring machines and Greg Jennings is capable of scoring anytime he gets the ball as well. Oh and James Jones is pretty dang good too. Did I mention Donald Driver? I got to stop thinking about their weapons on offense though, its giving me a head ache. This is a huge test come Sunday obviously and one that will be very hard to over come. Any Given Sunday needs to be in full effect!