Packers XLV

With Lambeau Air Show, Pack Ensures Road to Indy Runs Through Lambeau

Posted December 26th, 2011 @ 05:12am

What a great night at Lambeau, with festive Cheeseheads dressed for Christmas and celebration in the air. The Pack turned out the lights on the Bears and in the process earned the NFC's top seed.

The defense is still leaky and is giving up far too many yards, but the identity of the 2011 Packers remains the passing game and Aaron Rodgers and his merry band of receivers showed they're ready for the post-season with a five TD explosion against the Bears.

There is no more talk about the Packers offense without Greg Jennings. After marching down the field and scoring on its first drive, the Pack sputtered until the final two minutes of the first half, when Rodgers engineered a pinpoint drive that gave the Pack a 14-3 halftime lead. After spotting Chicago a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter, Rodgers took over--hooking up with Jordy Nelson on a 55 yard bomb and scoring two more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away.

Kudos to the patchwork offensive line--playing without both opening day starting tackles. Marshall Newhouse and TJ Lang kept the heat off Rodgers, making Julius Peppers invisible and giving Rodgers all the time he needed to carve up the Bears defense.

Once again, the absence of Ryan Pickett was felt deeply. Third string running back Kahlil Bell found gaping holes all night, gaining 121 yards on 23 carries even though the Pack knew he was getting the ball play after play. The run defense needs to get shored up pronto, but let's be honest, the reality for this team is they will go as far as Rodgers and the offense takes them. It's unlikely that they'll be able to completely stop any team they meet in the post-season. They will need to outscore them.

Now we've got three weeks before the Packers play a significant game. McCarthy will rest most of his stars next Sunday--some may start, but there's no benefit to playing them extensively, unless you care deeply about the Pack's home winning streak. The Lions also have very little to play for next week, having already clinched a playoff spot. It should make for a kind of a surreal game, played before thousands of hungover New Year's revelers.

One year ago, we were holding our breaths hoping the Packers could sneak their way into the post-season. Now they're the #1 seed in the NFC and will likely look a whole lot different when they host a divisional round playoff game. They should get back Clifton, Bulaga and Jennings on offense and Pickett on defense. And whoever they play, they'll have them exactly where they want them: at Lambeau Field.

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Comments (30):

I'm not sure the Cowboys are America's team, but it's going to be a rellay good game. The Cowboy's are doing rellay well this year and I think it will be a great test for both teams.To be fair, both the Cowboys and the Packers have been rebuilding. The last time the Packers went to the Super Bowl, they had to beat Dallas.It should be a great game!

on August 3rd, 2012 at 04:15am

Good to see the Pack look like their usual selves again, after last weeks debacle. The receivers decided to man up and win their one on one matchups this this week. Not to mention hold on to the ball. They took advantage of backup corner Zack Bowman all night. The defense: Well, still terrible (400 plus yards given up to a diseased Bears offense), but they at least got their usual turnovers this time. I know that Vic So'oto was probably only in the game to give other guys some rest but he really looks like a guy who could really help out the pass rush. I'm hoping Capers and McCarthy give him more snaps in the postseason. I was also thrilled to see Rodgers wrap up the MVP tonight. Dave, you're right that this team is only going as far as Rodgers can take them. And yes, I sense some more nail biting, dramatic shootouts in the Pack's immediate future. They're extremely vulnerable against better than average offenses but can't be beaten as long as Rodgers stays upright and has time to throw.

on December 25th, 2011 at 11:47pm

Nice to see Rodgers have another great game. All of us have to realize he will have to win shootouts in the playoffs. Another game with no pressure on an Arena League QB. With our prolific offense....hard to believe we have given up more yards on defense than our offense has generated. Goes to show value of turnovers.....take aways on defense and not giving up any on offense. Concern that we will not see any more Arena League QB's in playoffs....Brees, Ryan, Stafford, Smith,Manning or Romo on the NFC side could put up Arena like numbers. But...we can score and getting back our starters will help. Best thing is to be at Lambeau.....and this is a season of big offensive numbers around the league....so hopefully we can continue and win big games. We can retool the defense.....especially the pass rush next year....for this year the mantra is SCORE....GO PACK GO !!

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