In honor of the Packers-49ers game this weekend, I was going to write this blog entry as if Harry Sydney was saying it. Unfortunately, when I tried to use spell check, my computer blew up. If you live in the Green Bay area, you understand why.
As a Packer fan, you should love our chances Sunday. In looking over the 49ers, there are three points of concern, but there are areas of weakness the Packers should be able to attack. This is a key game going into a short week. In a perfect world, the Packers get out of Sunday’s game with a win, limited bumps and bruises, and a Browns win in Detroit. Having 4,000 fans at Ford Field on national television Thursday should finally convince the NFL to do away with the Lions on Thanksgiving.
Some stats, courtesy of packers.com…
1) The Packers have won 6 straight and 11 of 12 against SF
2) The 49ers have lost 4 of 5, and if Jay Cutler wasn’t colorblind, it would be 5 in a row.
3) Green Bay leads the NFL with a +13 turnover ratio. In 2005, the year before McCarthy took over, the Packers were -24.
4) The 49ers rank 3rd in the NFL in rushing defense, the Packers rank 4th.
Keys to the Game- (besides the obvious- offensive line)
1) Concerns 1 and 2- The 49ers have two weapons offensively; Vernon Davis and Frank Gore. Contain both and there’s no way the 49ers score an offensive touchdown. The 49ers have 18 offensive touchdowns. Davis and Gore have 14 of those. Davis has turned into a stud in his 3rd year with 45 catches and 7 TDs. I would assume the Packers will lock Woodson up on Davis. Gore is a home-run threat, something the Packers do not have. He is averaging 5.2 yds per carry with 6 TDs. He also is a threat in the passing game with 26 catches. In the last six games, the Packers are only allowing 75.3 yds rushing per game, so it’s a battle the Packers can win.
2) Concern 3- As stated earlier, the 49ers rush defense is 3rd in the league. If we want to be a playoff team, the Packers have to find ways to pick up yards on the ground against solid defenses. Last week was a great example of what the Packers are capable of. Downhill, between the tackles, 4 yds a pop. Nothing flashy, nothing explosive, but effective.
3) Get to Alex Smith. The 49ers have allowed 28 sacks this season. If we can take care of Gore, we should see a repeat of the Cowboys game; lots of pressure.
4) Rodgers needs to control his emotions. The 49ers, Rodgers’ favorite team, caused him a great deal of pain on draft day and he can’t turn this into a pissing contest between him and Alex Smith. In those types of situations, the wind usually changes and you end up pissing all over yourself.
Prediction- Green Bay 23, San Francisco 10
FINALLY! The Packers beat their first team over .500 since November 16th of last year when they beat the 5-4 Chicago Bears. That is a long time coming, but after reading of the events that took place Monday morning, I had a strong feeling the Packers were going to win. The offense had it out in their Monday meeting. Driver spoke, Tauscher spoke and Rodgers spoke. Enough was enough. They finally realized the severity of the situation they had put themselves in. Backs were against the wall. A loss pretty much knocked them out of playoff contention in Week 10. There was an obvious sense of urgency. So much of professional sports is showing up. For most of these teams, the talent level is remarkably close, so it comes down to energy, and harnessing that energy into making plays. You can tell when a team shows up to play and when they are there for the paycheck. I figured Sunday was going to be one of those show up games for the Packers, and it was.
Talking with buddies last week, I was really the only one who felt the Packers were going to win. My reasons were twofold. One, the stuff I mentioned above, and two, our defense. The Packers D was ranked #4 in the NFL and has the ability to shut teams down, which in turn keeps our inconsistent offense in the game. They had shut down two crappy teams, but this was a test and they passed with flying colors. Some keys to the game…
1) If the Packers make the playoffs, Charles Woodson will win Defensive Player of the Year. It’s ridiculous how good he is. Besides Jared Allen, who has almost all of his sacks against the Packers, name another player who is getting the publicity Woodson is getting. Look at this line from Sunday: 9 tackles- 8 solo, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT. One of the most dominant performances by a DB I have ever seen.
2) Dallas has a solid defense, but we committed to the run. 28 carries and Ryan Grant averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Everything was between the tackles. Hopefully, they have thrown the stretch play out of the playbook.
3) It was nice to see the McCarthy understand the team he has. His offensive line sucks. He finally put in a game plan to make up for it. There were no deep patterns Sunday. There isn’t enough time for the receivers to get into their deep routes, so everything was short. Worked fine. 25 completions for 189 yards. Not pretty, but effective.
4) Play of the game- The touchdown pass to Havner. Driver had dropped a TD on first down and after a short run it was 3rd and goal from the 2. Touchdown makes it 17-0, field goal makes it 13-0, keeps Dallas within two scores, and gives them a little momentum because of the goalline stand.
5) Our linebacking crew could be together for a long time. Pretty exciting, isn’t it?
6) NFL officials suck. 22 penalties enforced, 7 first downs by penalty. It’s getting insane. On a side note, did you see the game last night, when a Browns DL was flagged for a personal foul on Flacco for tackling him below the knees? Where exactly can you hit a QB now and not get a penalty?
7) I’m feeling a shutout Sunday against the 49ers. We can put a wildcard contender out to pasture.