Packers Serve Notice: They're Ready for the PlayoffsPosted:Dec 23rd, 2012 11:25 pm
This is exactly what the Packers needed. A laugher. A stroll through the park. The Pack hasn't scored 55 points on anyone since Lynn Dickey was chuckin' it to Lofton and JJ. Green Bay's utter domination of the Titans locked up no worse than the third seed and gave the Pack a bit more swagger as they get set for next week's game in Minnesota.
As I write this, the 49ers game has yet to be played. I'll update what next week's game means to the Pack after the Sunday night game is decided. But if Seattle wins, next week's game becomes big for the Pack: a win would give them the #2 seed and a first round bye. The Vikings are the #6 seed if they can knock off Green Bay. That could set up a wildcard rematch at Lambeau the following weekend. Fun stuff.
But first, Sunday's virtuoso performance by the defense: seven sacks, two picks and only 180 yards of offense for the Titans. The Pack lost my predicted shutout in the game's final two minutes but the defense was in control from the start. Jake Locker was completely lost all day, converting only two third downs and completing only 13 of 30 passes for 140 yards. I loved his Flounder-like first half passer rating: 0.0.
Offensively, the Pack was humming. Four rushing touchdowns: they came into the game with five for the season. Ryan Grant looked fresh, with 80 yards on 20 carries. Nice to see Greg Jennings catch seven balls as Aaron Rodgers spread the wealth between, #85, Jones, Finlet and Cobb. The latter is the one big concern coming out of this one. Cobb left the game with an ankle injury. He jogged off the field, but headed to the locker room soon after. It's obviously a big deal on many levels if he's not 100% in two weeks.
Rodgers was his usual brilliant self, completely 71% of his passes for 342 with three TD passes and a touchdown run. The offense is catching fire at just the right time and the team should get healthier, with Nelson and Woodson assumed back for the post-season.
Things went so well for the Pack on this day that even Mason Crosby went two for two on field goals. Granted, one hit the right upright before squeezing through, but hey, it's still two for two.
It was a complete performance, the best of the season, at the perfect time. Unless next week's game gets flexed, the Pack will take the field at Mall of America Field next Sunday with a shot at the #2 seed. The 49ers host Arizona at 3:00 next weekend--a presumed win. So if San Francisco knocks off Seattle on Sunday night, the Pack will most likely be looking at the #3 seed and a likely first round date with either the Vikings or Bears, depending on the outcome in Minneapolis. Wow.