Who Dat? Packers Run into Buzz Saw

Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints and Devon House of the Green Bay Packers For just the third time in NFL history, another football game went 60 min without a single punt, and if you don’t remember, the second time was a few weeks ago when the Green Bay Packers played against the Chicago Bears.

Watching Sunday night’s 44-23 blowout to the New Orleans Saints was definitely painful to watch and gave me another reason to think that the schedule makers have it out for Green Bay.

In just the first eight weeks, this Packer team has had some of the most difficult road games a team could ever experience in a single season.

It started out on opening day when they had to play a prime time game at the Seattle Seahawks. Then after a home game against the New York Jets, they traveled to the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears, both divisional games, in consecutive weeks.

The also had to travel to Miami to play in incredible heat, and finally, came to the Superdome to play in a place where the Saints had won their last 11 prime time matchups.

After considering this, 5-3 doesn’t look that bad, but needless to say, the loss to New Orleans has to be disappointing.

Never have I seen a game where the momentum shifted like it did in the third quarter on Sunday.

Tied 16-16 with the Packers driving, Quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambled for a first down and seemed to hurt his hamstring on the play.

A few plays later, the Saints intercepted a tipped ball and never looked back. They were soon up 37-16 and it was over.

Rodgers continued to play in the game until it was out of reach, so the apparent injury wasn’t bad enough to keep him out, but the upcoming bye week couldn’t have come at a better time as this team tries to get healthy.

Getting back to the game, the number of missed opportunities has to leave Packer fans unsatisfied. The offense seemed to be able to move the ball at will, until they got into the red zone.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay PackersIn their first three red zone trips, the Packers settled for two field goals and threw an interception, which is something you can’t do if you want to beat an offense as high powered as the Saints.

The defense fell flat on its face by forcing no punts and only making one big play the entire game, which was a stop on fourth down.

They played “okay”, to be generous, in the first half, but the Saints offense made it look easy in the second half as the defense gave up four consecutive touchdowns.

The “fire (defensive coordinator) Dom Capers” chants have already begun, but I’m not going to overreact so soon and to this one loss.

The defense has played well over the past month and that can’t be ignored. They ran into a New Orleans team that had their backs against the wall and were desperate for a victory.

It is never easy to play a prime time road game, and remember that this only counts as one loss.

The Packers have a bye week coming up, and I’m hoping that they will be healthy heading out of it. They host the Bears in an important divisional game in two weeks in another Sunday night prime time matchup.

Packers Continue to Roll, Saints Up Next

Randall Cobb and James Starks of the Green Bay PackersWell, we are seven games into the 2014 NFL season, and it is pretty much obvious now. The Carolina Panthers’ defense is nowhere near what it was last season.

The Green Bay Packers cruised to an easy 38-17 victory against the Panthers on Sunday, and did so with one of their most efficient days on offense all season.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to build onto an MVP caliber season and is playing some of the best football in his career. He added three more touchdowns on Sunday, bringing his season total to 18 and is spreading the ball among his receivers who are repaying him with touchdowns.

In his career, Rodgers has posted a quarterback rating of 105.8, which is the highest in NFL history. His ability to avoid mistakes and make big plays is rivaled by few, and qualities that only the greatest ever have.

Receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both had big days, improving on what is turning out to be huge seasons for both players.

Jordy is leading the NFL in receiving yards and is proving that he is worth every penny he was paid in the offseason, while Cobb is leading all wide receivers with eight touchdown catches and is playing for his first big contract.

Nick Perry of the Green Bay Packers There isn’t much else to go over concerning this game though. I could go ahead and praise the defense for providing constant pressure on Cam Newton or mention how well the secondary played without cornerback Sam Shields, but instead, I’m more interested in previewing next weeks game against the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers (5-2) will be traveling to the Saints (2-4) to play in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL.

It feels like the schedule makers had it out for the Packers by making them travel to Seattle and New Orleans in the same season, but this match up seems a lot less frighting than what it looked like in the beginning of the season.

The Saints, who were a preseason super bowl favorite, have struggled mightily to meet expectations. Their only two wins on the season have come from beating the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which are far from high quality teams.

The Saints defense has also looked terrible after six games. They gave up a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, which is just one of many defensive failures that they have experienced this season.

They have been giving up points in bunches, and it looks like the Packers offense could have another huge day running and passing the ball.

The Saints offense is also not what it used to be, and that has to give a lot of confidence to the Packers defense.

They have been getting better every week and if they can put pressure on Saints quarterback Drew Brees, it is only a matter of time before this team is 6-2 heading into a well deserved bye week.

As for the rest of the division, it seems to be a two team race between the Packers and Lions (5-2).

The Chicago Bears (3-4) and Minnesota Vikings (2-5) are not playing what could be considered good football, due to the inconsistency of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and the Vikings honestly just not having a quarterback. It is only a matter of time before both teams are far in the rear view mirror.

If both the Packers and Lions can stay healthy and continue to win, it will set up a huge game at Lambaeu in the final week of the season where the NFC North title could be up for grabs.

Packers Hot in Miami

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay PackersIn what was one of those heart attack type of games for Packer fans, the Green Bay Packers won their third straight game against former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins 27-24.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his elite play in this 2014 campaign and continues to make his case to be considered as the best quarterback in the league. He added three more touchdowns against the Dolphins which also included a game winning throw to tight-end Andrew Quarless with three seconds left on the clock.

With the win, the Packers are now 4-2 on the season, and Rodgers made what looks like the play of the year so far on the Packers final drive.

With the clock running out, he went rouge and faked a spike. He fooled everyone on the Miami defense and threw the ball for a quick 12 yard gain to rookie receiver Davante Adams who had the awareness to get out of bounce and set up the game winning touchdown.

Over the three game winning streak, Rodgers has had 10 touchdowns to zero interceptions and is no doubt in the race for league MVP. There isn’t many other teams where one player is as vital to its success as he is, and he continues to prove it each week.

Although the Packers did struggle for a significant amount of the game, there is a lot to be excited about with this win.

There are no easy games when it comes to the NFL. The San Diego Chargers proved that on Sunday as well on Sunday by barely squeaking past the Oakland Raiders. Even though Green Bay was expected to win this game, playing on the road is never easy, especially in a state where Rodgers came in 0-3 for his career. A win is a win, and when a team can pull it off in that fashion, it’s a real energizer.

The Packers comeback against the New York Jets and now Dolphins are real character building games. They are games a team has to win if they hope to compete for a championship. It definitely shows the fight and character of this team, and hopefully it will keep them playing tough in following weeks.

With each game however, it is getting tougher and tougher to figure out this defense. They played great in the first half by only allowing three points and forcing two turnovers, but completely fell apart in the second half. They allowed three straight touchdowns and looked like a completely different unit. I’m hoping the Packers defense is more of what we saw early in the game and not what we saw late.

The injury bug seemed to hit this defense during the game as Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Jamari Lattimore went out with injuries. However, according to head coach Mike McCarthy, all three seem to have avoided anything major and shouldn’t be out for long, which is great news for now.

Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers and Courtland Finnegan of the Miami DolphinsAs for the offense, rookie receiver Davante Adams stepped up big with six catches for 77 yards that also included Rodgers’ fake spike play that set up the game winning score. He is becoming the viable third receiver I and the Packers hoped he’d be and is really taking advantage of his opportunities with Jarrett Boykin injured for the last couple of weeks.

The Packers will head back to Lambeau next week for their third home game of the season against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are coming of a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals and look like a different team each week. It’s uncertain which Panther team will show up next Sunday, but there is no doubt that Rodgers and the offense should be able to take advantage of what looks like a horrendous defense.

Thursday Night Blowout, Pack Throttle Vikings

Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay PackersIn another game that ended in a lopsided victory, the Green Bay Packers routed the Minnesota Vikings 42-10 in the Packers second home game of the season at Lambeau field.

The game continued a streak of Thursday night blowouts in which the average margin of victory has been 33.75 points this season.

Analysts are blaming the lack of quality football on the short amount of time that teams have to prepare when they play on Sunday and then again just four days later on Thursday. The NFL is being criticized with claims that they only care about money (what a shock) and that they aren’t putting the best possible product out on the field.

However, I disagree with these claims.

Both teams play on a short week, so they both have the same amount of time to prepare. If one team comes in underprepared and is outmatched, the game is going to be a blowout, just like when it happens on Sundays.

Thursday night games have also been part of the NFL for many years, so why are people against them all of a sudden? A string of blowouts has led to an overreaction, and we should start giving credit to the winning teams who are coming in on short weeks ready to play.

It also turns out that the Packers are just better than the Vikings.

The Vikings came into the game with their third string quarterback and failed to muster much of anything on offense. They turned the ball over and constantly gave the Packers a short field to work with throughout the game. All of which are common ingredients to a blowout.

The Packers offense played great and were able to put up points, but the story of this game has to be the defense. They played shutdown football throughout the game and made a Vikings offense that put up 41 points last week look putrid.

The run defense was significantly improved and the pass rush kept Christian Ponder under pressure throughout the game. Let’s give Dom Capers some credit because he has this unit playing a lot better than in previous years. They are looking strong upfront and in the secondary.

Julius Peppers and Jamari Lattimore of the Green Bay PackersJulius Peppers made another huge play as a Packer when he picked off Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and outran everyone as he took the ball back 49 yards for a touchdown. He is proving more and more each week that he has a lot left to offer at the age of 34.

Eddie Lacy also deserves an honorable mention as he was able to eclipse 100 yards for the first time this season and did so using his signature punishing run style.

The Packers will have 10 days before their next game as they travel to Miami to play the Dolphins on October 12th. It will be the Packers fourth road game of the season, but winning at Chicago a few weeks ago has to have given this team confidence that they can win on the road, especially when it comes to playing against an inconsistent Miami team.

What do you think about Thursday night games? Are you for or against them and why? What do you think of this Packer team now that they have a high quality defensive game on their resume? Leave a comment!