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by porky88 on 10/23/2014 3:18:05 AM
Last Sunday Green Bay improved its record to 5-2 on the season, defeating the Carolina Panthers 38-17 in front of a sold-out crowd at Lambeau Field.

The Packers jumped on the Panthers early, scoring on their opening drive when quarterback Aaron Rodgers found receiver Jordy Nelson for a 59-yard touchdown. It was the third time this season that Rodgers connected with Nelson on a score of 50 or more yards.

The Panthers couldn’t generate any offense in the first half. Green Bay took advantage of their poor tackle situation, and wreaked havoc on quarterback Cam Newton. Linebacker Julius Peppers had 1.5 sacks, his single-game best as a Packer.

As the offense continues to operate at a high level, the responsibility falls on the defense to develop into a viable partner. Since the awful showing in 2011, Green Bay’s defense has gone through good and bad spurts. The current outlook is positive, but they've been in this situation before. In fact, last year's defense allowed about 276 yards per game in the month of October. Then the injuries hit.

Perhaps I’m knocking on wood, but the regular-season is nearly half over, and the Packers have avoided significant injuries. Staying healthy is crucial, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The Packers are a dangerous NFC contender if they remain healthy, and the good defensive spurts become the norm.

Turning Point

Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy clearly knew how to attack the Panthers because of their familiarity with Carolina's cover-2 defense, which is the same defense Chicago ran under former coach Lovie Smith. The Pack relied on their running game early. Establishing the run forced the linebackers and safeties to hesitate, allowing Rodgers to exploit them with play action. The game itself was never in doubt, so there was never a moment on Sunday where it could potentially turn. Simply put, this game turned mid-week when McCarthy implemented his game plan.

Unsung Hero

Running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks averaged 5.2 yards per carry, thanks to a strong effort from the offensive line. The entire line deserves credit for bouncing back following a tough outing in Miami. The right side of the line particularly played well. As a tandem, tackle Bryan Bulaga and guard T.J. Lang played their best game.

Stud of the Game

Any worries concerning receiver Randall Cobb’s long-term status with the team has quelled. The fourth-year receiver caught six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown last Sunday. He was terrific after the catch, using his quickness to make defenders miss in the open field. Cobb and receiver Jordy Nelson have at least one touchdown in four consecutive games.

Looking Ahead

On Fox’s NFL pregame show, studio host Curt Menefee proclaimed that the six best teams in football are beginning to distinguish themselves from the rest of the field.

The six teams Menefee cited were Arizona, Dallas, Denver, New England, Philadelphia and San Diego. Two of them loss on Sunday.

The omissions of Baltimore, Green Bay, and Indianapolis surprised me. The Colts and Packers have elite quarterbacks while Baltimore has a good, well-rounded team.

Based on the results of last week, there is no elite team in the NFL. Maybe Denver can stake claim to the top spot, as they have impressive victories over Arizona and San Francisco. However, both wins were at home.

Clearly, the Packers are among the top under-the-radar teams. That may change next week, as Green Bay travels to New Orleans for a matchup with the Saints on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. The Saints (2-4) are coming off a tough 24-23 loss to Detroit, a game they led at the two-minute warning.

Football is a game of matchups, and the Packers matchup very well with the Saints. New Orleans’ defense is struggling. Their secondary is reeling and their pass rush is non-existent. Green Bay will score points, putting pressure on Saints quarterback Drew Brees to match them.

Brees is among the best quarterbacks in football. His pocket presence is remarkable and he uses his eyes as well as any quarterback does. He’ll challenge the secondary, while a healthy Mark Ingram will challenge the front seven.

If the defense fails to answer the challenges, Sunday's game will be a shootout between two of the game’s best quarterbacks. However, if the defense is up to the tasks, then the Packers win in a rout.

Under the latter scenario, the number of teams distinguishing themselves grows to seven.

Please visit Row12.com for weekly articles done by myself on college and fantasy football. We also have a great staff of writers that covers every major sport.
by Zero2Cool on 10/22/2014 12:07:48 PM
The rankings you've all been waiting for has arrived! You. Are. Welcome!

The 49ers and Panthers were the biggest droppers this week in losing six spots each.

The Dolphins made the biggest hop moving from 15th to 20th. The Colts and Bills both jumped up four spots.

  1. Green Bay Packers 0
  2. Denver Broncos 0
  3. San Diego Chargers 1
  4. Indianapolis Colts 4
  5. Dallas Cowboys 2
  6. Cincinnati Bengals -3
  7. New York Giants -1
  8. New England Patriots 2
  9. Detroit Lions 0
  10. Baltimore Ravens 2
  11. San Francisco 49ers -6
  12. Pittsburgh Steelers 2
  13. Cleveland Browns 0
  14. Chicago Bears -3
  15. Miami Dolphins 5
  16. Arizona Cardinals 2
  17. Seattle Seahawks -1
  18. Kansas City Chiefs 3
  19. Buffalo Bills 4
  20. Houston Texans -3
  21. Carolina Panthers -6
  22. Atlanta Falcons -3
  23. New Orleans Saints 1
  24. Tennessee Titans -2
  25. Washington Redskins 1
  26. Philadelphia Eagles -1
  27. St. Louis Rams 0
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars 2
  29. Oakland Raiders -1
  30. Minnesota Vikings -1
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0
  32. New York Jets 0
by MintBaconDrivel on 10/21/2014 11:17:59 AM

Click Chat to chat during the game with fellow fans!

Green Bay Packers ( 5 - 2 )
    Total Offense = 25th
    Passing Offense = 20th
    Rushing Offense = 22nd

    Total Defense = 19th
    Passing Defense = 6th
    Rushing Defense = 31st

    Points For = 28.4 (4th)
    Points Against = 21.0 (10th)


New Orleans Saints ( 2 - 4 )
  • Total Offense = 2nd
  • Passing Offense = 2nd
  • Rushing Offense = 13th

  • Total Defense = 21st
  • Passing Defense = 28th
  • Rushing Defense = 11th

  • Points For = 25.8 (10th)
  • Points Against = 27.5 (28th)

by porky88 on 10/16/2014 2:00:06 AM
The Packers won their third consecutive game on Sunday, defeating the Dolphins 27-24 in anything but relaxing fashion.

It was a tale of two halves for the defense, which surrendered just 92 yards of offense in the first half. The highlight of the day came late in the first quarter when safety Morgan Burnett stopped running back Knowshon Moreno two yards behind the line of scrimmage on fourth down. Penetration from defensive lineman Letroy Guion allowed Burnett to make the play, as Moreno was unable to cut back inside.

Aaron Rodgers once praised Joe Philbin’s ability to adjust at halftime, and the Dolphins head coach -- who was Green Bay’s offensive coordinator from 2007-11 -- proved the Packers’ quarterback right.

In the final 30 minutes, Philbin leaned more on the run. Additionally, they placed an emphasis on getting the ball to their playmakers in space. Injuries to cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams didn’t help matters, either. The Dolphins managed to score 21 second-half points, totaling 273 yards of offense.

Green Bay’s offense started fast. They marched 80 yards in 4:51 to score a touchdown on their opening drive. It was the only touchdown-drive of the first half, as Miami’s front seven prevented the Packers from getting into any kind of a rhythm in the first three quarters.

Whether it was the play calling or the persistence from Rodgers, the Packers managed to find their rhythm just in time.

Rodgers led the Pack to 10 fourth-quarter points, orchestrating perhaps a career-defining drive in the closing minutes. The Packers drove 60 yards in 2:04, the drive ending in the final seconds when Rodgers found tight end Andrew Quarless for a four-yard touchdown.

The Packers completed the game-winning drive without any timeouts.

Turning Point

Facing fourth-and-10 with 1:07 remaining, Rodgers hit receiver Jordy Nelson for an 18-yard completion. The throw by Rodgers, a display of incredible arm strength and accuracy, may go down as one of the finest of his career as he let the ball rip just as defenders crashed down on him. The completion kept alive one of the finest drives of Rodgers’ 10-year NFL career.

Unsung Hero

Running back James Starks accounted for 23 yards on Green Bay’s game-winning drive. His greatest impact in the game was as a pass protector, though. He knew his assignments and executed them without issues. Starks picked up a blitz on a third-and-4 play early in the second quarter. He also had a key pickup during Green Bay’s third-quarter touchdown drive.

Stud of the Game

The five best quarterbacks in football are Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, and Peyton Manning. Each player demonstrates a skill setting them apart from other quarterbacks. Brady is living proof that intangibles matter, Brees is a master at using his eyes to move defenders, and Manning out prepares his opponents. Luck and Rodgers share several traits. Both anticipate receivers coming open, and both have the ability to extend plays. The latter ability was on full display for Rodgers on Sunday, as he used his legs to turn nine potentially negative plays into positives ones.

Looking Ahead

Now midway through their road schedule, the Packers return home for just the third time in 2014. They’ll face the Carolina Panthers, who are fresh off a tie against Cincinnati.

Preparation is crucial to every game, but I’m especially intrigued to see how Green Bay’s defense responds following their second-half performance against Miami.

The Packers had no respect for Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s athletic ability, thus they appeared unprepared for the read-option. The Panthers will see linebacker Clay Matthews looking lifeless on film, so I suspect they’ll run the read-option at him with quarterback Cam Newton.

Mike McCarthy’s offense shouldn’t have any issues preparing for Carolina’s defense. Their coach, Ron Rivera, is a disciple of former Bears head coach Lovie Smith. They shouldn’t see many unfamiliar looks on Sunday.

Establishing the run early could create opportunities for big plays. The Pack will attempt to force the linebackers to commit against the run, opening up the middle of the field. Linebacker Luke Kuechly is incredibly discipline, but the Panthers are allowing a league-high 5.5 yards per carry.

An early indication of Green Bay’s commitment to run is whether Rodgers lines up under center. He'll come out slinging it if he's in shotgun. McCarthy tends to lean on the run more if Rodgers is under center.

Please visit Row12.com for weekly articles done by myself on college and fantasy football. We also have a great staff of writers that covers every major sport.

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