Month: December 2016

Week 16 Predictions: Minnesota at Green Bay

By: Bill Tewes, Jim Boyce, Mark Prott

BILL

VIKINGS 16 PACKERS 35

Oh how the tables have turned. If you looked back to the weeks following the Vikings narrow victory at home against Green Bay, you’ll see two dramatically different teams. The Vikings were looking like geniuses for trading a first rounder for QB Sam Bradford and the Packers were beginning to trend in the wrong direction.

It’s week 16 and the Vikings are virtually eliminated from the playoffs. That does not mean they will lay over for Green Bay tomorrow afternoon, but they are about as dead as dead can be. Last week the Vikings got blown out by the Colts, a team who has one of the worst defenses in the league. Adrian Peterson made an extremely early return from a torn meniscus, but had probably the worst game of his career and has been ruled out for tomorrows tilt.

Green Bay’s secondary has yet another chance to try some things and get back on track. The Packers need more than just HaHa Clinton-Dix to step it up if they want to continue to run the table and make a deep playoff run. The secondary woes can be covered up a little bit if Green Bay can get consistent pressure, which starts with the tenacious Mike Daniels and hopefully ends with a healthy Clay Matthews bearing down on Bradford.

I think this game will be close as the Vikings are a rival, but eventually Green Bay will force some turnovers and beat down on a demoralized Vikings squad. Ty Montgomery should get north of 15 carries as he looks extremely comfortable as the lead back and Christine Michael has been a nice compliment. I expect Aaron Rodgers to look Davante Adams’ way as well as even though he had a bad game, Rodgers has been talking him up all week.

MARK

PACKERS 30 VIKINGS 21

Everything has been set up for the Packers to sneak into the playoffs and reclaim their divisional crown. The Packers officially control their own destiny which seemed like a pipe dream not too long ago. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the Packers need to give some payback to their hated rivals to the west. The Vikings were humiliated last week and are pretty much eliminated from playoff contention. Don’t be mistaken though, I fully expect the Vikings will come to play and give it their best shot to ruin the Packers’ Christmas holiday and playoff lives. As the old saying goes, “a wounded animal is a dangerous animal.” The Packers need to jump on the Vikings early in this one and unlike last week, step on their opponent’s throats because for all intensive purposes this is playoff football. Hopefully the Bears game put a final scare into the Packers that they are not good enough to relax when they grab a nice lead.

Aaron Rodgers says he feels much closer to 100% compared to last week at this time and if he is able to run it would be a big boost for the offense. The offensive line has been superb of late and for most of the season but the ability of Rodgers to get a few first downs with his legs is usually crucial against a solid defense like the Vikings. Ty Montgomery has been a revelation at running back and Mike McCarthy even hinted that they plan on using him in even more creative ways so I would expect a heavy dose of touches for number 88. Jared Cook has also been brilliant of late and should continue to be a focal point on offense. His presence will begin demanding more and more attention from defenses which will no doubt open things up for the likes of Nelson, Cobb, and Adams.

On defense the Packers need to take advantage of the awful offensive line of the Vikings. Injuries or not at outside linebacker the Packers’ defense needs to get in Sam Bradford’s face early and often. The Vikings possess little threat in the run game and so I expect Dom Capers to get aggressive in this one with his approach. We all know Stefon Diggs was a thorn in the secondary’s side in the first game and although he’s questionable I would bet on him suiting up. It will be interesting to see how Damarious Randall responds to his awful performance and the challenge of going up against Diggs. I expect a bounce back performance.

JIM

PACKERS 27 VIKINGS 17

Amazing how much  can change within one season. Once upon a time the Vikings were 5-0 and the toast of the NFL. A month ago Green Bay was 4-6 and draft position seemed like it would be more important than wins by Christmas. Yet here we are as the Vikings are sinking like the Titanic and are all but eliminated. The Packers control their own destiny and can get to 9-6 on Saturday.  I think the Vikings will come out and play hard but Aaron Rodgers is on a roll.

If Harrison Smith does not suit up I do not think the Vikings stand much of a chance, but even if he does this is a defense that has slipped a little in recent weeks. The front seven dominated Rodgers in Week 2 but that was on turf with the help of crowd noise. The home field should come in pretty handy for the Packers offense in this one and I think Rodgers puts up enough points to beat the Vikings pathetic offense.

Speaking of the Vikings offense, it is pretty bad. The Offensive Line might be the worst unit in the NFL, to the point where it does not even matter if Adrian Peterson plays or not. The Vikings as a team have yet to rush for 1,000 yards, and Sam Bradford rarely has time to do anything more than check down short of the sticks. While I don’t always trust the Packers defense, they should get enough pressure on Bradford to make a difference. I predict a tough yet comfortable Packers victory this weekend.

Week 15 Predictions: Green Bay at Chicago

By: Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce

Bears week needs no introductions, but it does need predictions. See what we think about the upcoming game below.

JIM

PACKERS 24 BEARS 14

If you have not heard already it is going to be frigid in Chicago on Sunday. The weather will no doubt have an effect on how the game is played and this could help Chicago to an extent, if only because on a picture perfect day the Packers are a much better team. Nonetheless I would be surprised if either offense moved the ball in big chunks and this could be a prime day for a defensive or special teams score to provide the spark.

The Bears best offensive weapon at this point is rookie RB Jordan Howard, who since the last time these two teams met has been pretty dang good at churning out yards. If I was Dom Capers I would stack up the box and see if Matt Barkley can throw in the bad weather. The Packers could and should pick  off a couple passes and give the offense short fields.

I am a little worried about Rodgers and his calf, it was clear in the Seattle game he was not going to move from the pocket. The offensive line will need to continue their stellar play and keep that pocket clean. As long as he has time to throw, Rodgers can still eat the Bears secondary alive no matter how cold it is.

BILL

PACKERS 31 BEARS 17

Without running the risk of being labeled a Ty Montgomery fanboy, I think it is safe to say that this week of all weeks in the season would be an appropriate time to unleash the man at running back. With Starks out with a concussion from an unfortunate car accident nad Cristine Michael being himself, it is time for Montgomery to get 20+ carries, especially in a game that might be difficult on Green Bay’s pass attack.

The Chicago Bears have been decimated on both sides of the ball, but their defense has been gutted by injuries and suspensions. They will be without free agent acquisition Danny Trevathan after being placed on IR earlier this season as well as linebacker Jerrell Freeman who was suspended for PED usage. The Bears pose absolutely not threat to Green Bay on the defensive side and even with the weather being an obvious concern for both teams, I think Aaron Rodgers has proven he can still be extremely surgical not matter what the conditions are.

I think Green Bay will get out to an early lead and then decimate Chicago. Even with the Bears getting Alshon Jeffrey back, the only other real weapon they have is Jordan Howard and that will not be enough to keep them in contention with a Packers offense that has been clicking for a few weeks now.

MARK

PACKERS 31 BEARS 15

In all actuality the Packers are playing their fourth straight win or go home game. While not an easy road into the playoffs, if the Lions slip up today against the Giants or next week against the Cowboys, the Packers are in if they win out and will be feared by all as the hottest team in the tournament, Rodgers calf/hamstring injury not withstanding. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While this battle tested road could pay dividends down the stretch the Bears will certainly be chomping at the bit to knock the Packers out of contention. They almost knocked off the Lions last week and it is apparent that this squad has not given up on Head Coach John Fox. However, the Packers simply have more to play for and being bone chilling cold has a way of making some teams look they want to get out of the stadium as quick as possible.

The guess here is the Packers will jump out to a quick lead and kill the Bears hopes and desire to be out there in the frigid temperatures. Matt Barkley has been much better than expected but the Packers defense is hot and I don’t see that changing today. The key will be getting that early lead and taking surprising Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard out of the game and making Barkley win with his arm. On offense I expect a heavy dose of Ty Montgomery both out of the backfield and running the rock.

 

Week 14 Predictions: Seattle at Green Bay

By: Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce

The Packers outlasted the Texans (and the snow) last Sunday to get back to 6-6 and inject some optimism back into the fan base. The Lions keep winning though, which makes the upcoming game against Seattle crucial to the teams playoff chances.

JIM

SEAHAWKS 24 PACKERS 23

The loss of Earl Thomas cannot be overstated. The All-World safety of the Seahawks will be out after a bad leg injury last weekend. This will open up some opportunities for Rodgers in the passing game. The Offensive Line has been solid all season, overcoming the loss of Josh Sitton quite nicely in fact. They will need to be on top of their game once again to keep Rodgers clean. I have a feeling Green Bay will need to get a running game going for the first time in awhile to win this one.

The Packers defense has looked better the last two weeks, but I still have reservations about them. They played a slumping rookie in Carson Wentz and perhaps the worst starter in the NFL right now in Brock Osweiler. Russell Wilson’s numbers don’t jump off the page but he is plenty capable of taking the defense apart in the same way Marcus Mariota and Kirk Cousins did. Jimmy Graham could do a lot of damage in this one. Green Bay needs to put the clamps on Seattle’s run game to eliminate play action.

My heart wants Green Bay to win but my mind says this will be a tall order. Getting Seattle at home as opposed to away certainly helps a lot and I suspect this will be a nail biter. Unfortunately the Packers have suffered a lot of heartbreak at the hands of the NFC West the last half decade and I think this may be another game that goes against them in the end.

BILL

SEAHAWKS 14 PACKERS 24

Aaron Rodgers wants us to believe the Packers can run the table and make things interesting in the NFC. Rodgers is trying to light the fire under this team and get everyone believing in the Packers as a force in not only the division, but the NFC as well. Talk is typically cheap, but the Packers have been taking care of business recently, even if their opponents are not up to snuff. This week’s opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, offers a unique challenge to show what this Packers team is capable of.

If the Packers take down Seattle in Green Bay, they will be the hottest team in the NFL (aside from Dallas who still has yet to lose a game since week 1) and will still have a great chance to win the division with all of their divisional opponents left.

I said it the past couple of weeks and I’ll say it again and again. Mike McCarthy needs to find a way to dedicate the run game to Ty Montgomery. I cannot understand why they refuse to trust Montgomery with a larger workload. Starks is ineffective and Christine Michael either hasn’t learned the playbook yet, or just is not getting it done. Green Bay is going to need some balance if they want to decimate Seattle’s secondary and take advantage of their loss of Earl Thomas.

The offense has been clicking as of late and one of the reasons I believe the Packers can hang with Seattle Sunday afternoon. Seattle is a difficult team to figure out, what team is going to show up? The team that blew out Carolina last week and beat the best team in the league (New England)? Or the team that lost to the Rams 9-6 and the Buccaneers where they could only score five points? I’ll take Green Bay with their backs against the wall in a almost must win game at home!

MARK

PACKERS 26 SEAHAWKS 24

The forecast of snow for a second week in a row in Green Bay Sunday afternoon should benefit the Packers and give them a fighting chance to pull this one out.  The Packers have momentum building and it is time they have a statement game against a top flight competitor. The snowy slick conditions should slow down the speed of the Seahawks defense and give Rodgers enough time to make some plays.  It would be refreshing to see the Packers attack the middle of the defense especially without Earl Thomas patrolling the middle of the field. I think some tight end seam routes with Jared Cook could be in order. The running back carousel will be interesting to follow as I expect a hot hand approach. I imagine it will come down to Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery fighting for touches. Montgomery could be especially useful in the short passing game and provide a security blanket for Rodgers against a stifling defense.  However, Christine Michael will no doubt be looking to make a statement and get revenge on the team that gave up on him.

The Packers defense must take advantage of the Seahawks porous and inexperienced offensive line. Russell Wilson is great when he has time and the Seahawks possess playmakers in Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin plus the speedy Tyler Lockett. However, this offensive line is not good and there can be no excuses if the Packers don’t dominate the line of scrimmage. Clay Matthews is reportedly feeling much better this week. I don’t care if he plays in the middle or outside, just wreak havoc. The return of Damarious Randall has settled the secondary to a degree but this one will need to be settled in the trenches if the Packers stand a chance.  Julius Peppers has begun making his presence known again and there is plenty of opportunity to keep it rolling this week.

 

 

Week 13 Predictions: Houston at Green Bay

By Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce

The Packers are finally back home this week to take on a Texans team that has struggled as of late. Like last week the Pack will need to put together a winning performance to keep their playoff dreams alive.

JIM

PACKERS 26 TEXANS 17

Facing an uncommon opponent on a short week can present some challenges, but overall I think Green Bay matches up well against the Texans in many of the same areas they matched up well against the Eagles. QB Brock Osweiler has been one of the worst starters in the NFL this season, which means that even a stud WR like DeAndre Hopkins may have trouble exploiting the Packers secondary. It would certainly be disappointing if the Packers allowed Osweiler to have a big day. RB Lamar Miller has been iffy to play this week, if he is unable to go it would be a big blow for Houston. If he does play he will present some  challenges to the Packers front seven. Overall Houston is not a great offensive team.

The Texans are a good defensive team however, even without J.J. Watt. The Packers will need a big day from the offensive line to keep a possibly limited Aaron Rodgers clean. I could see the Packers struggling at times on offense. Perhaps we will see more Christine Michael this week, James Starks has not been able to get much going on the ground. This is a game the Packers should win as the Texans have struggled immensely on the road against good teams. Once again the season hinges on the team performing up to their potential.

MARK

PACKERS 31 TEXANS 17

It was difficult to take the bold comments seriously after multiple dismal performances in a row but Aaron Rodgers’ remarks about being able to run the table may not be so silly after all. The game against the Eagles was probably the most complete performance the Packers have put together in the 2016 season. It almost always seems dangerous to make predictions about this team, but I believe they regained confidence and I’m forecasting a similar comfortable outcome to last week. The Texans have above average skill players on offense, but Brock Osweiler is playing with little confidence and so the Packers’ defense should have a great opportunity to increase their confidence and get right.

The Texans have an above average defense but will be without OLB Jadeveon Clowney, which is a major blow to their chances.  Aaron Rodgers will be playing with a hamstring injury so we should see a continuation of the short, quick passing game that was was so successful against the Eagles.  The Texans are a blitzing defense and I expect to see plenty against a vulnerable Rodgers without his legs in top condition. This makes it so key that Rodgers gets the ball out quick. The MVP version of Aaron Rodgers made teams pay dearly when they blitzed him in the past. We saw glimpses of that last week and vintage pinpoint throws that seemed to be missing all season. Maybe Rodgers is getting on a hot stretch again, which would back up his bold comments.

BILL

PACKERS 35 TEXANS 14

The Green Bay Packers are going to have to get newly signed running back Christine Michael and hybrid receiver/running back Ty Montgomery more involved, if they want to strike solid offensive balance and make a playoff run. The Packers were able to decimate Philadelphia’s secondary last week, but against a Houston Texans secondary that is top five in the league, the Packers will need an effective run game to be able work off the play action. McCarthy and company are going to have to find ways to exploit Houston’s secondary and a consistent run game is going to be crucial to doing just that.

If Clay Matthews is forced to miss yet another game, I imagine Texans HC Bill O’Brien will look to exploit the middle of the field, utilizing tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz who is having an exceptional year so far. Exceptional, considering Brock Osweiler is the least efficient QB in all of the NFL. The Packers are hurting everywhere on defense, but the linebacking crew has been hit the hardest recently. Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Matthews are all questionable and it would be a huge blow to the Packers’ chances to win this game if they all sit.

With that being said, I still think Aaron Rodgers is going to, yet again, find a way to torch this Texans defense. With Davante Adams playing incredible football and Jordy Nelson being a solid compliment (as well as still drawing more attention), Rodgers will have plenty of options to air it out and hopefully they can get Jared Cook more involved again as he has shown he is capable of being a weapon for this team.