Rodgers Cleared To Play, Playoffs Start SundayPosted:Dec 22nd, 2010 3:15 pm
One of the two teams playing at Lambeau Field on Sunday will reach the playoffs. The other will not. If New York wins, they're in. If the Pack wins, they live to play another week with a chance to claim the #6 seed with a win over the Bears.
As Packer fans, that's all we can ask for. But this will be a monumental task on Sunday. Yes, it becomes much more palatable knowing that #12 has passed his concussion tests and is set to return to the starting lineup. But the Giants come in to this one on the heels of a historic collapse that should have them focused and just dying to hit somebody.
The Giants have rebounded from a terrible 2009 season on the back of the defense, which has knocked six QBs out of games this season. If you thought the Lions' front four was impressive, they've got nothing on the Giants who boast a pair of elite pass rushing linemen in Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. Rookie first rounder Jason Pierre-Paul has come on of late too. It adds up to a front four that's good enough that there's little reason to blitz, giving them an advantage on the back end. They rank #2 in the NFL in yards allowed and passing yards allowed.
Meanwhile, though their quarterback's jersey says "Manning" on the back, it's the running game that makes this offense go. The two-headed attack of Bradshaw and Jacobs averages over five yards a carry, extending drives and allowing their defense to rest. Manning has been inconsistent. He played well on Sunday against the Eagles, but his play led to home losses to the Cowboys and Titans.
They're 4-2 on the road this year, but their four wins are against Houston, Dallas (before they became Dallas), Seattle and Minnesota. Not real impressive. That said, they are coming off a loss of epic proportions and figure to give the Pack their best on Sunday.
As for the Pack, they seem to play up or down to their level of competition, which bodes well the rest of the way. The defense will need another sound performance--particularly against the run and the offensive line needs to play like they did on Sunday night. The Giants love to hit QBs and if Rodgers bangs that head one more time, he'll likely be done for the season.
This one will likely come down to which team doesn't give up the big special teams play--something both teams were guilty of last week, which team protects the football and which team can keep its QB upright.
It's the game of the week in the NFL and it's the game of the season for the Pack.
Until next Sunday, hopefully.
Favre to Peppers: "Go Beat the Packers"
Much is being written and said about Brett Favre donning blue and orange pom pons after the game and telling a group of Bears, including Julius Peppers, to "...go beat the Packers in a couple of weeks." OK, maybe he didn't put on pom pons.
The only folks who should be upset or surprised by this comment are Favre fans masquerading as Packer fans. They know who they are. They haven't forgiven Ted Thompson for letting the chosen one go, and while they say they're Packer fans, they secretly root for Favre whenever he plays.
The rest of us see this as yet another example of Favre showing the only reason he came back to play in 2009--to stick it to Thompson, McCarthy, the Packers and their fans. If the Vikings team was playing in the NFC South, or any other division besides the North, he would've hung 'em up after his year with the Jets. But the idea that he could compete directly against the team that would no longer bow down to him was too much to pass up.
This is not surprising. This is who Brett Favre is. Most of us have gotten over it and are thrilled about the direction this team is heading in. Maybe the pseudo-Packer Favre fans will finally figure it out now and move on themselves.