Packers XLV

Defense Must Rise For Pack to Stay Afloat

Posted November 8th, 2013 @ 02:11pm

The Packers enter the complete unknown as we usher in the Seneca Wallace era. Of course, if things get ugly on Sunday we might see the dawn of the Scott Tolzien era next week. Safe to say, the offense is a bit challenged without Aaron Rodgers (not to mention Cobb, Finley, maybe Lang...)

It's times like these when you need to rely on your defense to step up and say, 'relax, guys, we got this.' After a nice four game win streak that saw the defense in near lock down mode, the unit took a significant step backward on Monday night against the Bears. Of course, those four wins came against some offensively-challenged teams, so maybe we were playing with fool's gold.

The Pack got very little pass rush on Josh McCown and had no answer for the Bears' big, physical receivers. The Eagles present an entirely different challenge. Their fast break style is unlike anything else in the league. They sprint back to the line after plays and try to take advantage of the confusion that can cause. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. They annihilated the Raiders last week, but didn't score an offensive touchdown the two previous games (with Vick and Barkley at QB).

Nick Foles shocked the world with his seven TD passes in three quarters last week against an abominable Raiders defense. He finished the day with over 400 yards and a perfect passer rating. Safe to say, he's won the job for good--or at least for this season. He's smart, has a strong arm and doesn't make mistakes--he has zero interceptions to go along with his 13 TD passes.

It's unlikely that will change against the Pack, which has just three picks at the halfway point of the season--good for 30th in the league. They say they come in bunches. Well, now would be a good time to start. The Packers hope to get both Clay Matthews and Nick Perry back for this game. If either play, it will likely be on a pitch count, especially at the pace this game is likely to be played. But their return would be a shot in the arm for a defense that needs to be disruptive against Chip Kelly's high octane offense.

Of course, most of the attention nationally on this game is on the Packers' offense and what Seneca Wallace can do with a week of practice and a game plan suited to his strengths. Frankly, we're not sure what his strengths are at this point, other than the fact that he has a lot more game experience than Graham Harrell or BJ Coleman had.

Look for McCarthy to move him out of the pocket (he's maybe 5'10") and expect a lot of underneath stuff. He'll need to take a few shots deep downfield, but that's never been his forte. Like Monday night, the Eagles will have their safeties up to stop the Packers' potent running game and Wallace will need to keep them somewhat honest through the air. If ever the Pack could use Finley and Cobb it's now, with a QB like Wallace who would prefer to get rid of the ball quickly and let his receivers get the job done after the catch. The Eagles' defense ranks dead last against the pass this season. Wallace needs to carve them up--this can't be just about Lacy, Starks and the running game.

If the Packers can go 2-1 in their next three they'll be right in the mix heading into the Thanksgiving Day showdown in Motown. But this one is the key. A win on Sunday would calm everyone down and provide some confidence with a road trip to the Giants looming. But the Eagles have been a strange team to figure. They're 0-4 at home, and 4-1 on the road. And they'll come to Lambeau oozing with confidence and believing they should win this game.

In the four years I've been writing this blog I've never gone into a game less certain about the outcome, for obvious reasons. Logic says the Eagles win here. Packers are on a short week, with a new QB and without some of its best players. The Eagles are healthy, hot and in the thick of their division race, despite a 4-5 record.

I think the defense will rise. I think Wallace will make just enough plays. Somehow, some way, the Packers avoid a rare two game losing streak at Lambeau. The Packers are one point favorites (they were favored by 10 when the lines came out on Monday--then #12 went down). That sounds about right.

Packers 24  Eagles 23


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Comments (4):

OSSG, to be honest with you, I'm more of a New Glarus Spotted Cow kind of guy (best beer in Wisconsin, IMHO) - I stay away from the "paint thinner" that others partake in. But anyway, it's my once-a-year pilgrimage to Lambeau with some good friends, and I'm looking forward to Wallace keeping the Pack on track (yes, I'm being optimistic, but anything can happen). If the game plan is worked out where Wallace isn't asked to do anything beyond his capabilities, they should be OK. But in situations like this, EVERYONE on the roster needs to step up - especially the defense after Monday night's poor showing. It'll be interesting how Flynn's workout goes and if the Packers take him on board, but he apparently has an elbow injury that hasn't been talked about too much, so we'll all have to wait and see.

on November 8th, 2013 at 02:38pm

Davy...I hope your right on your pick. Vegas thinks we may eeck one out but with our Muggsie Bogues at QB ( for you non NBA fans he was a 5' 5" guard who played with the big boys in the NBA ) we have to have a great effort by the defense. The team that wins third downs will win this game. If Philly runs too many plays in their up tempo offense it could get ugly as our defense wears down as it did on the long Bear drives. To rely on Lacy/Starks to dominate probably isnt going to happen. How about getting Franklin in with a 3 back set ....Lacy/Starks/Franklin ala real old school from the Lombardi Days of Taylor/Hornung/Carpenter. Would'nt that be a contrast to the Eagle style !! MM needs to get creative and not completely predictable . Foles is due to make some mistakes and when he does we need to take advantage...not drop opportunities on picks like Tramon has done this year. PS to the Voice: Your going to the game....make sure you dilute that paint thinner enough so you remain the man of "Reason". If you come away from this game wanting Flynn we know you would have lost some brain cells at the game. GO PACK GO !!

on November 8th, 2013 at 10:10am

Love the comments from the regulars-everyone's got a solution and interesting thoughts. However, being realistic the Eagles have been totally inconsistent all year. The Pack, unfortunately will not score 30 or more, and our defense has not looked that great against good teams. We need a little help such as outstanding YAC by the receivers, a continuation of the great running game, and turnovers which could be the key to this game. Seneca will do average and ok. The game will show what this team is made of and how they resilient they truly are in 2013. GO PACK.

on November 9th, 2013 at 03:07pm

Both teams have so many unknowns going into this one that it's hard to get a feel or venture a prediction on the outcome. A couple of weeks ago this looked like a blow-out win for the Pack, as Philly was held to 3 and 7 points respectively at home vs. Dallas and the Giants. Then Aaron Rodgers goes down and Nick Foles has a 7 td pass game against the Raiders. Whether the Eagles were that good or the Raiders that bad is the question. At least the Packers will be seeing film of an opponent at its best so there shouldn't be any excuse for complacency or surprise. With Aaron Rodgers the Pack would have put up 40 on this team's defense but without him the advantage shrinks significantly. Philly is dead last in the league in total and passing yardage defense and 14th in rushing defense. In a key matchup in this game the Eagles defense is giving up 4.1 yds. per rush attempt, 16th in the league. The Packers are averaging 5.0 yds. per rush. The projected emphasis on running the ball at them by Green Bay should work. There's a reason the Eagles are 32nd in pass defense so even Seneca Wallace should be able to make some downfield throws on them. The Eagles offense is fast and has playmakers but while they rank 4th in the league in yards they are only 13th in scoring. They can move the ball and make plays but apparently have some difficulties making td's.The bulk of their scoring has been in a handful of games. As mentioned, Dallas & the Giants, hardly defensive monsters, nearly shut the Eagles out and both those games were in Philadelphia. I'm sure Dom Capers has studied those games to see what worked best on the Philly offense. This is a game that will best the Packers and show whether, as a team, they have the character and heart of a champion to be able to rise up to a challenging situation and prevail.

on November 9th, 2013 at 06:33am

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