Packers vs Ravens Preview
I predicted in my Cowboys postgame a few weeks ago that if the Packers make the playoffs, Charles Woodson will win Defensive Player of the Year. Everybody on board now? He has now won two Player of the Week awards, he was Player of the Month in September and November, and he is the anchor to the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. In the last 12 years, the POY has come from a defense ranked in the top 3 eight times. Start the engraving process. With all of that, the Packers defense still feels disrespected, especially with the traditional defensive power Ravens coming into town. Hopefully, come Tuesday morning, the nation will know all about the Packers D.
With Turkey day and weekend, I didn’t put out a postgame blog of the Lions game. A couple of quick comments:
1) Huge injury to Pettigrew in the 1st quarter. As I had mentioned, this was a problem area for the Packers and his injury took away the Lions threat in the middle of the field, allowing Woodson to focus solely on Johnson.
2) Hard to believe you have to put Aaron Rodgers 4th or 5th right now in MVP voting behind Brees, Manning, Favre and possibly Rivers. He’s been phenomenal. The offense we have seen the last few weeks will kill the Ravens. Six different receivers were targeted at least four times Thursday. That’s almost impossible to defend.
3) Jordy Nelson is not the answer in the return game. A fumbled KO return, a 2.7 average on punt returns. Whose next in line?
Keys to Monday’s Game
1) Contain Ray Rice. Rice is the workhorse and will look to get 18-25 carries, plus 4-8 catches out of the backfield. He had 10 catches at Minnesota. He’s a load and a great test for the top ranked Packers defense.
2) Woodson locks down Derrick Mason. Mason has had 6 games this year with over 10 targets, including 16 against the Colts two weeks ago. Another Defensive Player of the Week award?
3) In the Cowboys preview, I said we needed to find a way to run the ball against a good defense. Ditto here. The Ravens are 6th in the NFL in rushing defense. Grant and the OL need to bounce back from a poor rushing performance in Detroit.
4) Take care of the football. Flacco is turning into a solid quarterback, but this is still the Ravens. They feed off of their defense scoring or giving the offense a short field.
Other interesting facts…
1) The Ravens are outscoring their opponents 154-93 in the 2nd half.
2) This is the first of three straight games the Ravens play against the NFC North.
3) On Thursday, Woodson became the first player in NFL history to record 2 INT, a pick six, a sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery in a game.
4) The Packers have only allowed two 100-yd rushers this season (Benson, Jackson)
Prediction- Green Bay 23- Baltimore 13
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