Packers XLV

Are You Ready For Pack's Encore?

Posted October 20th, 2016 @ 03:10pm

Think of the Packers as that rock band that is coming off a flat performance. The lead singer was off-key and the band just couldn't find their rhythm (I'm aware that Vikings fans would prefer to look at them as that over-the-hill band still playing big venues, but one that's past its prime). Then that band takes the stage for its encore. Do they summon up their talents and bring the house down? Or do they get booed off the stage?

That's what we'll find out tonight, when the banged up Packers and Bears take the field at Lambeau to provide another reason why Thursday night football is ridiculous for everyone except the NFL and its owners. In all, 24 players have been on the injury report this week. We know the Pack will be without its top three corners, top two running backs and two wide receivers. The Bears will be without their top two corners, along with Eddie Goldman, Eddie Royal, Pernell McPhee, Jeremy Langford and former Packer Josh Sitton, whose big return was derailed by an ankle injury suffered on Sunday. Another seven Bears are listed as questionable tonight as well.

Unfortunately for the Pack, the Bears will also be without Jay Cutler, who notoriously saves his worst performances for Green Bay. Brian Hoyer has been better anyway, with four straight 300 yard games and no interceptions. He can't move around and doesn't have the strongest arm, but he gets rid of the ball quickly and makes few mistakes (don't tell Texans fans that, though).

While the Bears are moving the ball, they're not scoring much, ranking 31st in points, despite being seventh in yards. Where they're really suffering is in the red zone. The Pack will need to play close attention to Alshon Jeffery (who's still searching for his first TD) and tight end Zach Miller. Rookie Jordan Howard (from IU) has been solid in relief of Langford, averaging five yards per carry. But obviously he's no Ezekiel Elliott and the Pack's run defense should bounce back nicely.

Of course, all eyes will be on the Packers' offense to see how Aaron Rodgers responds to his recent spate of mediocrity. Mike McCarthy would like to lean on the running game, but with Lacy and Starks out, it's hard to know what to expect. Will Don Jackson get the call? Newly acquired Knile Davis? Montgomery or Cobb? Most likely, it will be a combination of all of the above. It's not a great time to lose Lacy--let's just hope some of the early reports are wrong and that he'll be back soon.

The passing game will likely be without Davante Adams (concussion) and Jared Abbrederis. Who will play outside opposite Jordy Nelson? Will Jeff Janis get a shot or will Cobb or Montgomery handle it? Whoever plays the slot should have a big night, opposite corner Cre'Von LeBlanc, a rookie free agent who is getting torched. Not to mention, he sounds like the bad guy in a Bullwinkle cartoon. The Bears' secondary is as banged up as the Pack's, and their healthy guys aren't that good. That said, they've only given up one passing play of 35 yards or more. The Pack should be able to add to that tonight as Rodgers looks to show a prime time audience that he's still got it.

This is meeting number 193 in the longest played series in the NFL, one owned by the Pack since Brett Favre arrived. If the Packers sweep this year, the series will be tied for the first time since 1933. But we all remember the debacle of last year's Thanksgiving night game. The Bears know they can win at Lambeau and know they're facing a team that's questioning itself a bit. With four of the next five on the road, the Packers absolutely must bounce back emphatically tonight. Then with ten days to get ready for the Falcons, maybe they can get a little healthier to prepare for the tough stretch ahead.

It's the 11th straight year that these teams have met in prime time, but it will be the least watched ever in Chicago, with the Cubs battling the Dodgers in a big Game 5 at the same time. It likely won't be easy for all the reasons listed above. I see an ugly game, where both offenses have a tough time getting untracked. But the Packers' defense will be the best unit on the field and I see them bouncing back well, despite playing without its top three corners.

Packers 20  Bears 14

Reminder: there will be no "Packer Preview" this Sunday, since there's no game to preview. I'm headed to Milwaukee to visit the family. The show will be back on 10/30 for the Atlanta game. I'll watch that one at the Park Tavern in St. Louis Park--our first Packer viewing party of the season. Hope to see you there.

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Comments (12):

Do any Packer fans read your blog?

on October 20th, 2016 at 02:08pm

What up THC??? Y'all drop one to the boys and still this year you have your pack unbeaten in predictions? Come on dawg at least be honest and maybe I'll take you seriously when you finally put the pack on a loss.

on October 20th, 2016 at 02:54pm

"I'm aware that Vikings fans would prefer to look at them as that over-the-hill band still playing big venues, but one that's past its prime" You should be aware that this isn't an opinion of Vikings fans, it's a correct fact.

on October 20th, 2016 at 02:54pm

Hi Dave, love the blog! Don't mind these haters, I'm here reading the comments for the same reason as everyone else...to get Vikings updates!

on October 20th, 2016 at 08:12pm

So if the Packers beat the 1-5 Bears team Playing with it's 3rd string QB will you and your your fans think all is OK with your squad? I saw plenty of things not to like in tonight's game. You just have to realize your squad is now very Pedestrian with a Headcase for a starting QB. Good luck now as your squad goes on the road.

on October 20th, 2016 at 10:41pm

So if the pack squeaks by one of the worst teams in the NFL at home, you have a "The Pack is Back on Track!" article written, right?

on October 20th, 2016 at 12:27pm

I see you are hedging your bet quite nicely by pre-cancelling your radio show for Sunday. In the years prior to your team taking a dump, you still would have the radio show the following Sunday and would call it "Packer Review". Funny how now that your team is bad, you no longer are willing to go the extra mile for them. It's almost as if you are "booing" them to be honest. Hilarious how big of bandwagon fans the cheeseheads are......

on October 20th, 2016 at 12:28pm

Look at yourselves...you can't even be completely confident of a victory over a bottom-3 team. How the mighty have fallen...

on October 20th, 2016 at 12:55pm

Foot surgery for Lacy? It's almost like running your whale of a running back on a bad ankle is a bad idea or something. I respect the guy for running like Captain Ahab is chasing him, but at a certain point shouldn't a player stand up for himself? What a stupid organization. How long do you guys think it'll take for him to hit 300 pounds? There are 6 Taco Bells in Greenbay, they all better start stocking up on extra Chulupas... Let's be honest. Last Sunday during the 4th quarter how many of you were secretly hoping Favre would leave the booth, run down on the field, throw on a jersey and replace Rodgers. Damn, that dude is washed up! And we all know Packer fans are FAR more likely to forgive Favre sending pics of his junk than I are likely to forgive Rodgers for "batting for the other team", if you know what I mean Foot surgery for Lacy? It's almost like running your whale of a running back on a bad ankle is a bad idea or something. I respect the guy for running like Captain Ahab is chasing him, but at a certain point shouldn't a player stand up for himself? What a stupid organization. How long do you guys think it'll take for him to hit 300 pounds? There are 6 Taco Bells in Greenbay, they all better start stocking up on extra Chulupas... Let's be honest. Last Sunday during the 4th quarter how many of you were secretly hoping Favre would leave the booth, run down on the field, throw on a jersey and replace Rodgers. Damn, that dude is washed up! And we all know Packer fans are FAR more likely to forgive Favre sending dick picks than I are likely to forgive Rodgers for "batting for the other team", if you know what I mean

on October 20th, 2016 at 12:55pm

I hope for you packers fans case that you guys win, because i don't know if Mr. Sensitive AKA Rodgers can take hearing any more Boos from the supposedly best fans in the NFL.

on October 20th, 2016 at 12:56pm

Well, that was fun. Cane, why do you sound like so much less of a troll when you call into Packer Preview? Are you just sad you can't call in this week? Yeah, the Packers beat a bad team. Yeah, they looked pretty bad in the first half too. They are a flawed team right now and all us Packer fan are a little sad about that. It's still a young team with some talent. Rodger isn't old yet. Personally when I look at it, I think coaching staff. I think qb coach and wide receiver coach. It going to be tough year and we'll have to see what it brings. We still have a chance in every game. That's my attitude.

on October 21st, 2016 at 08:49am

Quote: "Let's be honest. Last Sunday during the 4th quarter how many of you were secretly hoping Favre would leave the booth, run down on the field, throw on a jersey and replace Rodgers. " Unquote ........................... I can picture that happening LOL !

on October 21st, 2016 at 09:56am

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