I was at Lambeau for the Packers bye week NFC wild-card round victory over the Vikings on Saturday night. I have a couple of questions:
1. Should we be excited about the defensive performance? Or chalk it up to playing against Joe Webb?
2. How awesome is Aaron Rodgers?
3. Will the Packers turn in one of their “we’re nobody’s underdogs” performances against the 49ers?
4. What should we do with people (and I was kind of one of them) who thought the Packers defense was better without Woodson?
5. Since when did the Packers replace the Lambeau PA announcer with a guy from the NBA? Too much screaming, too much nonsense. Packers fans are capable of getting loud without gimmicks.
Now I will attempt to answer my own questions:
1. Somewhat excited.
4. Ban them from blogging.
5. I already kind of answered this one. On to the stock report:
How many other quarterbacks can make the throw where Rodgers rolled right and hit Jordy Nelson inside the 5-yard line? Very few, if any. Rodgers has been excellent the last two weeks. If he keeps it going against the 49ers, I like the Packers’ chances.
Every week, the size of Matthews’ new contract gets bigger and bigger. Matthews kept himself under control on Saturday and rarely got out of position while rushing Webb or trying to corral Adrian Peterson. You know a player is on a roll when he gets blocked to the ground, but manages to get a sack anyway because the quarterback trips over his prone body.
I thought Harris might have lost his hot-hand status after he dropped a third-down pass on the Packers’ first possession. But McCarthy stuck with the car salesman turned starting running back in the NFL playoffs and it paid off. Harris runs to daylight and doesn’t make it easy for the other team to prevent him from getting to that daylight. He’s an ideal back to run behind a more powerful line with Don Barclay and Evan Dietrich-Smith (although Dietrich-Smith graded out poorly according to Pro Football Focus).
A week after playing the worst game of his career, Williams bounced back and returned to his old self against Webb and Vikings’ terrible receivers. Normally, I try not to categorize players based on one week of play, but since I was so harsh on the normally solid Williams after last week’s god-awful game, it’s only fair to put him back in a positive category after playing better Saturday.
That interception was nice, but I’m still shocked at Shields’ dramatic turnaround in tackling. I’m not saying he’s suddenly a great tackler, but he’s willing to tackle now. Last season, if given the option between tackling or getting audited by the IRS while sitting in a dentist’s chair and getting a root canal, Shields probably would have chosen the latter option. Shields had seven tackles on Saturday, two that were considered “stops” for short gains or a loss.
The Minnesota Vikings
What a weird way to end the season. Christian Ponder hurts his forearm early against the Packers in week 17, but finishes the game, throws three touchdowns, and looks as good as he ever has. Then he’s scratched before the playoff game and the Vikings had no idea how to put Webb into a position to succeed. Oh well. Good for the Packers, right? Go home, Vikings. You were never a real contender, anyway.
In this week’s podcast, Adam, Jason and Marques go into detail on the Stock Report, Game Balls, the Vikings and the upcoming 49ers game. Listen in using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.