Packers XLV

Next Stop: Motown.

Posted December 26th, 2016 @ 12:12pm

One more corner to take and the table will be run. With the Packers' dismantling of the Vikings at Lambeau, the Packers can set their sights on a fifth division title in the last six years. It doesn't just seem like the North title comes down to Week 17 every year, it's pretty much true.

As for the game, it couldn't have gone much better. Afterwards, Aaron Rodgers said he was in a zone from the start, with everything slowing down in his head. It was apparent on the field. With Randall Cobb sidelined, Jordy Nelson made his living in the slot and he may have shown the Pack that that's where he belongs moving forward. Maybe his speed comes back next season, but being on the wrong side of 30, it's unlikely. Rookie Geronimo Allison is proving to be an effective outside receiver to pair with Davante Adams and the Pack's passing attack is in on fire.

Nelson's monstrous first half was surprising, considering the Vikings were expected to have their fine corner Xavier Rhodes shadowing him. That wasn't the case in the first half and we learned after the game that the Vikes' corners defied head coach Mike Zimmer and covered Nelson the way they wanted. It backfired spectacularly, and Rhodes was glued to #87 in the second half. The fallout from that ill-fated decision will last long into the offseason for Minnesota.

Their collapse after a 5-0 start is complete with their elimination from the post-season. Obviously, the loss of Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason changed everything, but Sam Bradford's solid play kept them competitive. Ultimately, they couldn't withstand the lack of a suitable offensive line and running game to compete over the long haul. They'll need to find a stud offensive lineman in the first round to begin rebuilding their....oh, wait.

The other storyline out of this game was the play of Clay Matthews, who finally looked like a guy worthy of doing endorsements. He was active, high energy and made five or six flash plays, including batting a couple of balls down, drawing a penalty and making the key play of the day: the strip sack of Bradford late in the first half. Five plays later the Pack was back in the end zone and the halftime lead was as large as the hole on the Vikes' offensive line.

When Matthews plays like that the Packers are so much more dangerous. The four sacks were the most they've recorded during this five game winning streak. Nick Perry also supplied some juice in his return, recording a pair of sacks, despite a huge club covering his broken hand. A formidable pass rush is essential for this team, since the secondary will continue to give up big plays, especially now with the loss of LaDarius Gunter. We'll find out how serious the injury is later in the week. If the Pack can make Adam Thielen look like Anthony Carter, guys like Golden Tate and Marvin Jones will be drooling on Sunday night. Thielen's emergence this season has to be at the top of the list of positives coming out of this season for Vikings fans. The dude is legit.

This day belonged to Rodgers, who is now firmly in the MVP conversation. One more sterling effort and he may even be the favorite. We've come a long way since the midseason  "What's wrong with Rodgers" narrative that was in vogue pretty much everywhere. The answer, we've learned, is nothing. Nothing at all. He was once again brilliant on Sunday annihilating the Vikes' defense with his arm and his legs.

Big picture, I never thought we'd be where we are right now. Rodgers and the offense are humming and they're one win away from another division title. It's possible that the Pack will earn a playoff ticket late Sunday afternoon, if the Giants can knock off the 'Skins in Washington. New York is already in the playoffs as a wildcard, so it remains to be seen how badly they want to in, or whether they rest some key guys. If Washington wins, they need a Packers loss to extend their season and Green Bay will need to win to keep their season alive.

Six weeks ago, it looked like the Pack had a Hail Mary chance to earn an NFC playoff spot. Now they just need to return to the place where they pulled off last year's NFL play of the year, the Hail Mary that stunned the Lions. Let's hope another Motown Miracle is not needed this time. With Detroit playing a road game on Monday night, the Packers have a big advantage: two extra days of rest to get ready.

We'll be waiting all day for Sunday night. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

 

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Comments (6):

Just as a little trip down Memory Lane, I posted this back on October 7th: "Vikings fans can't bear the thought of the inevitable spectacular crash which will be coming at the most inopportune time. A lot of bold talk from a fan base who's team hasn't proven anything yet. It's coming, Viking fans. You can count on it. It's only a matter of time."

on December 26th, 2016 at 02:51pm

Congrats to Packers )

on December 26th, 2016 at 11:15am

Finishing off the Vikes' slim remaining playoff hope is nice payback for their stealing the division from the Pack last year. However, the Packer defense appears to have reverted to the form it was showing during the 4 game losing streak. They came through in the clutch but a more competent offensive opponent could have made this a nail-biter. Allowing Minny's offense to roll up 446 yds., a second tier receiver Adam Thielen to catch for over 200 and the league's weakest rushing team to average 4.5 ypc could sink the Packers at Detroit or in the playoffs.

on December 27th, 2016 at 05:11am

THC Dave, or one of your many aliases on Star tribune. why does your blog always contain so day. Go tell the Principal why don't you. or another tantrum filled blog filled with insults of not even your closest rival. You and your loyal commenters are such Hippocrates you will revel in the Bears inevitable rout of the Vikings. But if anyone not in you green Cult dares say Go Lions you will retreat again to all your star trib aliases and your cute little blog to insult the fans who are not even your biggest rival. for those not in the green cult the way you come off on KFAN is really getting tiring. only to come back to your cute little web page where other Cult members feed into your ego. with this lame page.

on December 27th, 2016 at 06:29am

This is the appropriate occasion to talk about the Vikings. We just swept them. So much for defending the North. They throw that precious little phrase away. Yeah, they lost a lot of players this year. It was probably addition with subtract though. Please resign Adrian. That'll totally help. I like Zimmer, but man, who's listening? Oh , and I'll take the frustration TT over Speilman any day. Yeah, The Packers aren't a "great" team this year, but we still better than the Viking , the Bears, and even maybe, dare I say it, the Lions. It just might be true. Larry, You see this Allison kid coming? I was like "Who is this?" This is it. Win and in! Win and in!

on December 27th, 2016 at 10:59am

Good call Voice, I have to admit, I did not see that coming. not that bad anyway. GERONIMO, u bet Lynndickeyfan. leave Jordy in the slot and put Cobb and Allison on the outside with Adams. I knew they would throw for a lot of yards against us, and they had to being behind by so much, as I said on post. but, they have to be better then that against Stafford, if not 1st one to 41 wins. As I always say, turnovers, and 3rd down is keys to winning., I said 60% we needed, they were 6-13 not bad. against Detroit, we will need 2 again to beat lions there. need to get head early and take the crowd out of it. let's hope Giants beat Wash. then we would get in either way, just like 2010 6th seed. if it's cold in Lambeau, wouldn't bother 12 or me to go warm weather place and play. I'll take my chances with the MVP in warm weather or dome then in 10 below wind chills. we will not run much on them, Just need to not turn the ball over we win 40 to 31. GO PACKERS

on December 27th, 2016 at 12:29pm

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