Packers XLV

Get Ready for Rodgers vs. Brady I

Posted November 28th, 2014 @ 06:11pm

These are the Sundays we dream about. The calendar's about to turn to December. A late afternoon, nationally televised showdown at Lambeau. Temperature around 30. Rodgers vs. Brady for the first time. The two hottest teams and current Super Bowl favorites meeting up to see who will head into the fourth quarter of the season labeled as the league's best team.

As scorching hot as the Pack has been at Lambeau, the Patriots provide the ultimate litmus test. Bill Belichick has enough moving pieces that his gameplan can change 180 degrees, depending on the opponent. Two weeks ago, on a Sunday night in Indy, they unveiled something called Jonas Gray. By the end of the game, millions of running back-starved fantasy players were scurrying to try to add him to their rosters, after a 199 yard four touchdown explosion. A week later, after Gray overslept and missed practice, the recently acquired LeGarrette Blount took over, scoring twice to complement a Brady aerial assault on the Lions in another Patriots laugher.

That's what makes Dom Capers' job especially tough this week. He has to prepare for a team that can beat you on the ground or through the air, depending on what they feel like doing. If Nick Perry is out again and Clay Matthews is still slowed by the groin, Brady will likely be free to hang out in the pocket and choose where to deliver the ball. He's hard enough to sack against a great pass rush, let alone one slowed by injury. The defense's biggest challenge, obviously will be containing Rob Gronkowski. We all saw AJ Hawk try to keep up with a gimpy Kyle Rudolph last week--expect the Pack to assign a corner to the freak of nature in this matchup. He's Brady's most dangerous weapon, but clearly not his only one.

This is not a team like the Lions or Bears, whose biggest threats are on the outside. Guys like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are slot guys, who rely on short passes over the middle, another area where Capers' D has looked vulnerable, of late. The Pack's massive upgrade at safety provides hope that they will have a chance to match up with the Pats' numerous weapons.

Mike McCarthy's challenge is dealing with physical cover corners Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner--they will likely spend much of their time blanketing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. That means Davante Adams (who appeared on the injury report Thursday with a heel injury), Andrew Quarrels and Richard Rodgers may need to step up in the passing game. Eddie Lacy will continue to be a workhorse, both on the ground and through the air. The Patriots' secondary doesn't have a weakness, so McCarthy and Rodgers will need to will need to be creative in finding ways to exploit it.

When you're talking about the NFL's hottest teams going at it, you look at special teams and turnovers possibly deciding things. Both teams have feasted on turnovers this season, ranking one and two in the league. The Pack is +15, the Patriots +11. There's no real edge on special teams either, the Patriots make very few mistakes there and Stephen Gostkowski may be the most reliable kicker in the league.

The biggest intangible is Lambeau Field. But this is the one team in the league that is unlikely to be bothered by the noise, elements and mystique. As big of a matchup as it is, the game probably means more to the Packers. New England has wrapped up their division, for all intents and purposes and has a solid edge to get the top seed in the AFC.

The Pack, as you know, has a shot at the top spot in the NFC, but could just as easily fall completely out of the playoffs. Such is life in the NFC this year, so the need is greater for Green Bay to hold serve at home and hold their spot atop the NFC North.

That said, this has all the trappings of a classic. Two relatively healthy, high octane teams that rarely face each other will get a true test of where they stand in the NFL hierarchy, knowing the national storyline is that this could be a Super Bowl preview, a rematch of SB XXXI.

It feels like a ping pong match, with a number of lead changes and plenty of scoring. In the end, I get the feeling the ball will be in Rodgers' hands in the final moments and he will make a play to deliver an electrifying win.

Packers 34  Patriots 31

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Comments (5):

Watching Brady's highlights, you see a guy stepping up into a clean pocket and delivering a ball under zero pressure. Half the time the center couldn't even find some one to block in the Lion's game. I think this is a game changing mistake. Brady has never been a scrambler. We need to collapse the pocket with inside pressure. I think my case is made further on this considering that their running backs are not burners. We might expose our edges a little, but you can't let Brady hang out all day. His mobility is his one knock. So that's where you have to attach him. Pressure him, stop the run, keep Gronk's from getting explosive plays, and we got a shot. That being said, this isn't the Super Bowl and I'll keep it in perspective. ;) Go Packers!

on November 28th, 2014 at 04:00pm

This is a really interesting matchup. It comes down to Belichick against Capers. Capers worked for Bellicheck for one year in 2008 and what he should have learned is that he is not predictable. Case in recent point....the Pat's ran the ball 44 times against Indy in a Brady- Luck buildup that never went that way. Then against Detroit Brady threw it 53 times. So Capers will have his hands full as the Claymaker inside defense will not confuse them. Bellicheck said so in his press conference....they are prepared. Look for Kronk to have a big day as the potential difference maker. If we have a surprise defender it could be J. Elloit at outside LB if Nick Perry cant go. He is by far our quickest and fastest LB and an interesting prospect. I dont have faith in Capers winning this chess match so again it will come down to Rodgers to win it. Fun...Fun...Fun...GO PACK GO!!

on November 29th, 2014 at 01:45pm

While it's the marquee match-up of this weekend's schedule and and an important "measurement" game for the Packers it's far too early to call this the season maker or Super Bowl preview. It's really just another game for two teams driving for the playoffs and jousing for the most advantageous "seeding." Over the past 20 years the Packers and Patriots have been the NFL's two most consistent clubs. Each has 15 playoff seasons, they've combined for 9 Super Bowl appearances and 5 Super Bowl Championships. When half the teams that make the playoffs one year fail to do it the next, the Pack and Pats are the only two in the postseason every season since 2009. Reluctantly I have to make the Packers the home underdog in this one. New England just manages to excel in these situations and I fear the Green Bay defense won't come through in the clutch. But four years ago the Packers lost at New England with back-up Matt Flynn running the offense and still went on to win the Super Bowl while the Patriots lost in the playoffs. Maybe, as Yogi Berra said, it could be de javu all over again.

on November 29th, 2014 at 06:04am

good insight guys, I love stats and facts. I am with you packerlifer, like I said last week, 52 is not right, that groin is bothering him, no perry again, I just can't see us putting pressure up the middle, which your right on Lynndickeyfan. I have hit every game right but Miami, and hope I'm wrong here, I think we will not be able to run at all against them, and 12 will be forced to throw, there d- backs are great, and we may have to put hyde or evenBrad Jones on gronk.there is no way Hawk can run with him. just can't see us stopping Brady and Blount. 31-20 Pats, prove me wrong again Packers,

on November 29th, 2014 at 11:46am

Love the commentary and insight provided by Dave and the faithful who blog weekly. This game is going to be one tough cookie-probably our toughest this year even with the home field advantage which is neutralized against the Pats. We need to have successful screen plays and no mistakes from the offensive line, because AROD will not have all day to throw. Packerlifer and OSSG hit the mark with comments about the trusting defense-Gronkowski will have a huge day. I believe the line with the Pack as 3 point favs, but I think this game could go either way and will be a nail biter right to the end. Go Pack

on November 30th, 2014 at 09:10am

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