Will Packers Provide the Encore We Expect?Posted:Dec 2nd, 2016 3:50 pm
Before we get started, I want to give you all a heads up that there's a fun feature about me and my Twin Cities Packers show up at packers.com:
Was Monday nigh's win in Philly a one-off or will it serves as a springboard to a run at the NFC North title? The question will be answered Sunday afternoon when the Pack finally returns to Lambeau for some December football.
Here come the Texans, losers of two straight, yet hanging on to the lead in the muddled AFC South. Here comes a Texans team built on defense and running the football. A team that invested tens of millions of dollars in Brock Osweiler. If they could rewind the clock and undo the deal, they would do it in one second. Added bonus, JJ Watt wouldn't be injured yet.
Osweiler has done nothing to justify the team's ridiculous investment. He's turned all world wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins into a mere mortal. The team's offensive shortcomings, including a banged up Lamar Miller, should be precisely what the doctor ordered for the Pack's beleaguered defense.
We can thank the Eagles' mediocre skill position players in part for the Pack's defensive renaissance on Monday night. The Texans bring in a similar type of group, Hopkins not withstanding. With Damarius Randall having one healthy game under his belt and Quentin Rollins playing much better on Monday, the secondary appears healthy enough for the challenge the Texans provide.
As usual, it will start with the run defense. Lamar Miller will be the team's offensive focal point, and the Pack needs to keep him under wraps. Bill O'Brien would like nothing more than keeping Aaron Rodgers and company off the field by extending drives and chewing up the clock. Maybe the Pack gets Jake Ryan back, after it sounded like he'd be ready last Monday. Ryan's presence would be huge, especially if Clay Matthews' shoulder keeps him out, or limits his effectiveness.
The Packers' success is always wrapped around Rodgers and we have no idea the severity of his hamstring injury. Conventional wisdom: the Packers are on a short week and it hasn't had a chance to calm down completely. So Mike McCarthy will keep him from under center and continue to move the ball the way they did in Philly, with a quick rhythm passing game, where #12 gets rid of the ball quickly and lets his receivers do the work after the catch. Needless to say, the weapon that is Rodgers' legs will be kept on ice this weekend.
Assuming Rodgers is close to healthy, the Packers should be able to handle the Texans' defense. The loss of Watt would be tough for any defense; the unit continues to play well though, led by linebackers Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Merciless. Coordinator Romeo Crennell loves to blitz a lot because his back end can't cover anyone. Provided the Pack's offensive line can continue to dominate the line of scrimmage and keep Rodgers upright, the Pack's passing game should flourish.
There have been no guarantees at Lambeau for the past year and change, losing two of the last three. But with three December games at home, this is the time of year the team needs to reclaim their football palace. Can't see this team not building on what they did on Monday night.
Packers 27 Texans 17