Packers XLV

Taking a Peek at Pack's Second "Quarter" Schedule

Posted October 3rd, 2012 @ 03:10pm

With one quarter of the season in the books, the next "quarter" will comprise the next five games heading into the bye. Two things make the next quarter unusual: there are no divisional games among them and four of the five games feature noon starts--remember those? The Pack will play its first 12:00 game this Sunday in Indianapolis.

The next five will feature games against some really young QBs and some impressive defenses, not to mention a prime time road test against the AFC's best team, and maybe the most complete team in the NFL.

A 4-1 record would put the Pack at 6-3 heading into the bye and in strong position. Anything less and they will have to scratch and claw to work their way back up to the top of the North. The Bears, at 3-1, will be favored in their next four games. Even the scrappy Vikings are poised to add some Ws in the coming weeks against some mediocre teams.

But winning four of the next five will be no cakewalk. Let's start with Sunday, arguably the second easiest game in the second quarter. The Colts are young, they've turned over 60% of their roster from last year. They're also banged up, despite coming off their bye week. As it stands today, they may be without CBs Vontae Davis and Justin King, linebackers Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Pat Angerer. The defense has made the switch to the 3-4, so it's a work in progress even when they're healthy.

The Colts are getting over the shock of learning that head coach Chuck Pagano is being treated for a curable form of leukemia. They will be focused and ready for the Pack. But it's hard to envision a scenario where they keep Green Bay under 30 points (Aaron Rodgers loves playing in pristine Dome conditions). The Colts have their QB of the future in Andrew Luck, who is the complete package. But outside of veteran WR Reggie Wayne, there aren't a lot of weapons to help him and the offensive line is terrible. The Pack won't be losing to a rookie QB for the second time in three weeks.

The next game is the toughest one on the schedule. The unbeaten Texans are everyone's pick as the #1 team in the league right now, and for good reason. Despite letting pass rusher Mario Williams walk and trading linebacker Demeco Ryans for a Culver's butter burger, the defense is better than ever. Led by former Badger JJ Watt, they are very imposing and have dominated. But...here are the QBs they've faced this season: Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, Peyton Manning, Jake Locker and this week, Mark Sanchez. Enough said. They're stepping up in class in week 6 against Rodgers.

The Pack's D will have its hands full as well. With Arian Foster and Ben Tate, they have the best 1-2 running punch around and Matt Schaub has been great--if he had stayed healthy last year I think he would have led them to the Super Bowl. The Tramon Williams-Andre Johnson matchup will be a great one and a huge test for #38. The Pack could spring the upset here, but I'll go with the Texans to drop them to 3-3.

Next up is the dangerous Rams, whose defense is much improved under new coach Jeff Fisher. They knocked off the Seahawks Sunday and will probably do the same to the unbeaten Cardinals on Thursday night. They're good at home and won't be an easy out. We'll keep an eye on running back Stephen Jackson, who is battling injuries, but always seems to play well against the Packers. This could be a tight one, but the Pack should survive the final game of the three game road trip to improve to 4-3.

They close out the second quarter with home games against the Jaguars and Cardinals. These looked like the easiest games on the schedule when it came out, but the Cards have been the surprise of the first quarter, going 4-0. The Jaguars game will be no problem, but Arizona's defense is for real. Sure, they struggled against the weak Dolphins at home last week, but they were without their leader, Darnell Dockett who was out with a hamstring injury. They're completely different when he's out there. That said, I expect the Pack to win these home games, which would put them at 6-3 at the bye.

Here's what we need to see over the next five weeks: Cedric Benson continuing to get more comfortable in the offense, Greg Jennings to get healthy, the offensive tackles to improve (maybe the emergence of Derek Sherrod?), continued fine play by special teams (without having to resort to fake punts and field goals), development of key rookies Perry, Worthy and McMillian, consistency from Sam Shields, a healthy Ryan Pickett and a cool head from BJ Raji. Oh, one more thing: consistent officiating would be nice, too.

If most of these things happen, the Pack should be poised for the second half of the season, where five of the seven games are division games. Gonna be a fun stretch run. Now's the time to get in a position to reclaim the North. One (road) game at a time.

 

 

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Comments (13):

Davey, I think you are selling your team short at the moment, I have the Ravens at 5 and slide your 3-5 up a slot. Is it that you don't wan you team in the 4 slot? That being said I think the pack, as much as I don't like saying it will go 5-0 in the next 5. Houston is good but outside of Denver maybe they have played bad teams. This will be their 1st NFC team and right now I still see the packers as a better team. I agree Arizona's Defense is legit but I don't Kevin Kolb doing well in GB. Win vs the Pats not withstanding they will come back to earth. I get it can't win them all but I do see them getting on a roll before the bye.

on October 3rd, 2012 at 10:42am

Cane....You are about as informed and prepared in your comments as Obama was in the debate. Suggest you try the Viking Fan Line after a game and debate your starting safeties....is it the Mistral or something called Sanford.....wait isnt one injured....stay in your dreamland !! .....sheesh

on October 4th, 2012 at 01:25pm

What position was Sherrod playing when he broke his leg last year?---Right Tackle. And didn't the Headcheese himself waste a couple paragraphs on this site before the season started about how far Newhouse had come and how much Rodgers liked him? Now he's going to be replaced by an unknown in Sherrod or a bust in Bulaga (if he slides over). Fact is THC and all his cronies here couldn't pour beer out of a boot with instructions written on the heel.....

on October 4th, 2012 at 01:33pm

Cane doesn't make sense on Vikings boards either guys. It's not just here.

on October 4th, 2012 at 01:52pm

It will be interesting to see if Starks is active and if he and Green get some snaps this game. The hope would be to get Benson going, then those guys take some time. I know we really like Benson and he's a work horse, those other guys could use some work. Of course, if we're not up by a couple then forget I said that. If the Packers don't score 30 points this game, I'll be surprise. So, let get the Defensive communication thing figured out and create some short fields. 32 - 13 Pack

on October 4th, 2012 at 02:33pm

Sinykin you nutjob, if Sherrod gets healthy all he's gonna prove is TT drafted three horrible OTs instead of two. You could fall in a pit full of titties and come out sucking your thumb, moran.

on October 4th, 2012 at 03:22pm

So now the hope is to see the emergence of Derek Sherrod? i.e. Confirming Bulaga as the bust he is? Tough go in Pack-land at the moment........sheesh.......

on October 4th, 2012 at 07:38am

Yo Cane, I know you don't follow the Pack, but Sherrod is a left tackle and Bulaga is a right tackle. Try to keep up. Sheesh.

on October 4th, 2012 at 08:05am

Cane, you should be more concerned about your new center Kahlil.

on October 4th, 2012 at 08:33am

All this over one line about a tackle we would like to see perform? Wow. Let's see... if I'm going to go after TT , I might want to have sniffed a Super Bowl in the last couple years. Oh, us packer fans always going back to that old Super Bowl card.... Damn straight.

on October 4th, 2012 at 08:51pm

I know everyone is expecting us to put up mega points against Indy and maybe we will. But.....this will be another test for Newhouse and Buluga in a loud environment.....this time indoors. Indy went to a 3-4 this year and has Dwight Feeney and Robert Mathis on the outside. They have a combined 190 career sacks....so a nice test for Buluga and Newhouse. They cannot perform like they did in that first half against Seattle or we can be in for some surprises. These guys on both sides are the key to the flow of this game. GO PACK GO !!

on October 4th, 2012 at 09:55pm

I get what your saying OSSG, but I think MM may have learned something from that game too. Stick with the run. Indy will be lucky if they can keep Benson from 100 yards. I don't think they can. This years theme has to be to keep the defense honest and take what you get. I think we can get a lot.

on October 5th, 2012 at 08:24am

This is a stretch of the schedule that can help the Packers season in several ways, provided they cash in on the opportunities. Except for Houston, the Packers overmatch the other 5 opponents clearly; though some may not be the pushover games first thought when the schedule came out last spring. Besides winning these games another key is not getting key players injured along the way. The Packers can afford to rest Greg Jennings longer, so that groin problem isn't dogging him through the November & December stretch. The Packers are flying "under the radar" at the moment because of the San Francisco and Seattle games but I think that's an advantage. It's similar to where they were in 2010 rather than playing with the target always on their back as in 2011. Peter King predicted a Packers-Denver Super Bowl in Sports Illustrated's NFL preview issue last summer. Something he wrote there may prove prophetic: He said other teams would be more dominant during the season but these two would show up strong at the finish. We'll have to wait to see but so far part of his forecast seems to be coming true.

on October 6th, 2012 at 08:17am

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