Category Archives: 2010 Game Previews

5

February

Super Bowl XLV: It’s OUR Time!


It’s finally here. Forget Super Bowl Week, that’s over.

Super Bowl SUNDAY is finally upon us.

For the past two weeks, every aspect of both the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been broken down, reassembled and then broken down again. If any one of us hears about the Aaron Rodgers/Ben Roethlisberger battle or here that “this guy” will be the x-factor in Super Bowl XLV, we will explode.

In case you have or haven’t noticed, I know I promised a five part
Super Bowl preview but only got through two.

There are a couple reasons for this.

One is that real life kind of intervened but none of you want to know those details. I can’t say that I blame you.

The other reason you’d be much more interested in. I decided not to recite talking points that have been thrown in your face multiple times only for the sake of getting an article out. I respect you as Packer fans far too much to insult your intelligence.

After all, Packer fans were recently named the most knowledgeable in the game in a survey of players about the fans. We Cheeseheads know our stuff and aren’t afraid to tell anyone about it.

So today, with Super Bowl XLV upon us, I offer you a simple thought on the game. A thought that McCarthy has said publicly multiple times but is so poignant it bears repeating:

“It’s our time.”

It’s our time because this team has overcome too much. It overcame the hijinks of its former golden boy that turned out be more fool’s gold than actual gold. It overcame a heartbreaking playoff defeat a season ago. It overcame season ending injuries to what amounts to about 25% of an active NFL roster.

It’s our time because the faith of two men, one a general manager and one a head coach, has been rewarded in what (at the time) was an untested and unproven young quarterback who has not only been spectacular on the field, but first class off of it as well. Their belief in their system has been rewarded despite the protests of some fans and armchair quarterbacks around the country.

---- Get AddToAny
1

February

Super Bowl XLV Preview Part One: Green Bay Packers Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

It’s here at last. Super Bowl Week.

We are T-minus five days and counting from Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Five days away from a potential fourth Lombardi Trophy coming back to Titletown (I know the first two weren’t technically called the ‘Lombardi Trophy’ but bear with me).

Since the Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year, I decided to do a preview on a much grander scale spread over five days. Starting today through the weekend, I will be breaking down the matchup for each team on each side of the ball plus special teams and coaching and ending with keys to the game and a prediction.

Today will be the Packers offense versus the Steelers defense. Tomorrow will be the Steelers offense vs. the Packers defense. Thursday will be the special teams comparison, Friday the coaching and then Saturday the keys to the game and my pick to win Super Bowl XLV.

Here we go with part one.

Green Bay Packers offense

Ever since opening day running back Ryan Grant went down with a knee injury in the first game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers offensive attack has started and ended with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Without the support of a solid running game for the vast majority of the season, Rodgers carried this offense on his right arm and for the most part did so brilliantly. After tight end Jermichael Finley, arguably the Packers’ biggest offensive weapon went down for the season the Packers receiving corps had to step up.

Enter wide receiver Greg Jennings. Even though he was practically ignored early on, Jennings has come up huge since Finley went down. In 2010, Jennings earned his first Pro Bowl spot (even though he couldn’t play due to the Packers being in the Super Bow) and has finally earned discussion in being part of the NFL’s elite wide receivers. With deceptive speed, great hands and an even better ability to get yards after the catch, Jennings has arrived on the NFL’s biggest stage.

This isn’t to say Jennings’ supporting cast is weak either. Ageless wonder Donald Driver continued to defy Father Time and contributed as we all have come to expect him too. Jordy Nelson and James Jones played key roles in certain games as well, though Jones has shown an unfortunate knack for dropping the ball at the worst possible time.

29

January

Packers vs. Steelers in Super Bowl XLV – Get Ready for a Shootout

Roethlisberger and Rodgers are too good to be contained in Super Bowl XLV.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in points allowed this season. So why do I feel that Super Bowl XLV will be a shootout?

The biggest reason I’m leaning toward a total score that easily surpasses the current over/under of 45.5 is the quarterbacks. Both have something to prove. Ben Roethlisberger is already known as a big-time quarterback, but wants to reestablish himself after rape accusations tarnished his reputation. Aaron Rodgers took the next step up the quarterback ladder this postseason, but wants to get all the way to the top. The only way to do that is win a Super Bowl.

The speedy Packers receivers thrive indoors (besides the Lions game) and create matchup problems for any defense, even a defense as stout as the Steelers. The Packers receivers are overshadowing a talented Pittsburgh group, led by the scary-good Mike Wallace.

Both defenses showed cracks in their conference title games, especially in the secondary. The Packers left a few receivers open downfield in the first half, but were bailed out by Jay Cutler’s inaccuracy. Then the Bears third-string quarterback led a second-half rally by connecting on long passes to Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett. Mark Sanchez finished with a QB rating of 102.2 and threw for about 175 yards in the second half against the Steelers.

I just get the feeling that once both of these offenses ditch the run and start spreading the field (probably sometime early in the second quarter), we’re going to be in for an aerial show. Of course, there are several reasons why I am probably wrong:

  • Both team’s pass rushes can force any passing game off track. The Steelers will be especially vulnerable with four of their five opening day lineman injured.
  • Mike Wallace is “scary-good?” Huh? He had one catch for six yards against the Jets.
  • The Packers receivers thrive indoors? What? They couldn’t even reach the end zone against the Lions.
  • Neither team scored an offensive touchdown in the second half of their respective title games. Both quarterbacks didn’t even pass for 100 yards in the second half.

Did I just talk myself out of my shootout prediction…nah. These quarterbacks are too good and their receivers are too talented to be held under 20 points.

23

January

Our Packers – Bears Predictions

The writing crew at AllGreenBayPackers.com put their prognostication skills on the line for this NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears:

Adam Czech: Packers 26, Bears 22
The Packers need to win the turnover battle and put together long drives that result in touchdowns. Also, weird things will happen-it’s soldier field-don’t let it snowball.

Chad Toporski: Packers 23, Bears 17
Despite the hype of Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, this game is going to come down to the performance of two of the best defenses in the NFC. And while the Chicago Bears are extremely solid up front, their secondary is less stellar. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers defense is a more complete unit, with key playmakers at all positions. Look for the Packers to finish with at least a +2 turnover differential and four sacks.

Kris Burke: Packers 23, Bears 17
In what will be an emotional tug of war for nearly 60 minutes, the game likely will come down to the final drive. Aaron Rodgers will continue his hot hand Cutler will make another interception eerily similar to the one he threw against the Packers in Week 17.

Thomas Hobbes: Packers 16, Bears 10
I see this as a game of defense and field position.  The Bears will probably get one lucky strike against the Packers; either a kickoff/punt return for a touchdown or a long touchdown pass to one of their speedy receivers.  The Packers will have better success moving the ball on the Bears, but will have to settle for field goals.

Jersey Al Bracco: Packers 24, Bears 19
Robbie Gould has a big day for the Bears with 4 field goals but the Packers hold the Bears to one touchdown. Aaron Rodgers throws for two TDs, Mason Crosby makes one of 2 field goal attempts, and it’s enough to punch their ticket to Dallas.

Feel free to leave your own predictions in the comments…

----------

Follow Jersey Al:


Add to Circleson Google+

Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

----------”

21

January

NFC Championship Preview – Packers vs Bears Rivalry Reaches New Heights – The Playoffs

Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and the NFC Championship.

I don’t think it can possibly get any better than this.

After the Packers impressive 48-21 over the Atlanta Falcons and the Bears’ easier than it looked 35-24 win over the upstart Seattle Seahawks, both teams prepare to meet for only the second time in their long and storied rivalry. For the first time since 1941, the Packers and Bears get together for– to steal a line from Brent Musberger–all the Tostitos.

Since the Packers faced the Bears twice already this season, I don’t think it’s necessary to break them down once again. We know them well enough by now and the same could be said for the Bears knowing the Packers. It’s a division rivals against one another, so the familiarity between the two teams is rather obvious.

Instead let’s go ahead jump to FIVE (hey, it’s a big game alright?) keys to the NFC Championship

1. The condition of Soldier Field

Much has been made this week over the shape the sod in Soldier Field is in. It was already showing noticeable damage during the Seahawks game last week, and with brutal cold settling in across the entire Midwest, there hasn’t been enough time to re-sod the entire football field

With the game also expected to be played under cold temperatures, the condition of the field will be crucial to both teams. The Bears obviously have had some experience playing in it and the Packers have not. You would think that would give the Bears an edge, but the Packers have played their share of games in Lambeau with the sod coming up in chunks.

While Lambeau has never been in this bad of shape, both teams will likely struggle with poor field conditions.

2. The officiating crew
In this week’s sign of the apocalypse, the NFL announced that Terry McAuley’s crew will be calling the NFC Championship Game.

Why is this significant?

Remember the Week 3 game in Soldier Field against the Bears where the Packers were flagged for a staggering 18 penalties? McAuley’s crew worked that game.

Will they do the same in this game?

20

January

A Cold Shower for Overly Excited Green Bay Packers Fans

I can’t remember ever feeling this good about a Green Bay Packers team. I liked their chances against the Eagles, I was very confident they would beat the Falcons, and I have a good feeling about Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

This feeling of positivity just does not seem right. I’m not sure how to handle it. Usually I’m pessimistic and grumpy to a fault. I expect the worst and wait for everything to come crashing down with another last-second Mason Crosby clank off the goalpost, Mike McCarthy clock kerfuffle or Aaron Rodgers sack/interception.

I feel I need to channel my old pessimistic self, so that is exactly what I am going to do now. There are many reasons why the Packers will not win on Sunday. For those overly excited Packers fans like me, consider this a cold shower.

It’s the Bears. It’s Soldier Field
That about says it all doesn’t it? Very little has gone right for the Packers at Soldier Field recently. Too many penalties, blocked field goals, special teams meltdowns. You name it and it has gone wrong.

And how about that turf? If you dumped a can of green spray paint on a gravel road in Menomonie, WI you would have a better playing surface. That mess of a field neutralizes any speed advantage Bears’ opponents might have and forces you to muck it up and play their slop brand of football.

If I was a prison warden, I would not even allow my prisoners to set foot on that disaster of a playing surface.

Devin Hester
Led by Hester, the Bears average 17.1 yards per punt return. I said 17.1 yards per return! How many times have the Packers gotten 17 yards on a punt return this season? Not very many. The Bears get it almost every time!

Sure, Tim Masthay and the special teams unit contained Hester in week 17. Big whoop. They were just delaying the inevitable. Lovie Smith probably looked at the matchup on special teams and immediately instructed team officials to start making plans for Dallas.

Jay Cutler is super talented
Cutler’s physical tools are unbelievable. Sometimes he throws these deep balls where he appears off-balance, yet somehow manages to flick a perfect strike to one of his streaking wide receivers.

14

January

Packers – Falcons Playoffs Preview: Second Time the Charm?

Bring on the Falcons! The Green Bay Packers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 in an NFC Wild Card matchup and now move on to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons this Saturday night in the divisional round.
One down, three to go, Packers fans.

In what is becoming a common theme in the Packers’ postseason opponents, they faced the Falcons earlier in the season. On November 28th, the Packers fell to the Falcons 20-17 on a last second field goal. It was arguably the poorest tackling day by an otherwise stout Green Bay defense as Falcons running back Michael Turner gained 110 yards on the ground and scored one touchdown. Quarterback Matt Ryan was also brilliant throwing only four incompletions out of 28 attempts.

You’ve heard it ever since the playoffs began: “Anything in can happen in the playoffs. Everyone’s record is 0-0 and it’s every team for itself.” Perhaps now more was this evident in the 7-9 NFC West champion Seahawks’ upset of the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints in Seattle last weekend.

The Packers stand one win away from their second trip to the NFC Championship Game in four years. This one will be on the road, playing either in Seattle or Chicago depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.

Breaking down the Falcons

It’s only been seven weeks since these two teams squared off so the Falcons’ tendencies should still be rather fresh in the mind of the Packers.

On offense, the Falcons boast one the premier young quarterbacks in Ryan. With a nickname like “Matty Ice” you know Ryan remains as cool as a cucumber and he has only lost two home games in his three seasons as the Falcons’ starting quarterback. Ryan remains one the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL.

Ryan’s favorite target is wide receiver Roddy White. Once one of the NFL’s problem children, White has matured into an elite receiver that will give the Packers fits all day. He is able to get the ball downfield but still isn’t afraid to go over the top to make the catch. He is truly a complete receiver.

Don’t forget tight end Tony Gonzalez either. While his “catch” in the first matchup will forever live in Packers infamy, he’s still one of the best tight ends in the game. He’s especially dangerous in the red zone so Dom Capers must keep tabs on where number 88 is at all times inside the 20.