Yes, playoffs. Here’s one last five questions with Ray Rivard of Lombardi Ave. No offense Ray but I’m tired of talking to you…
1. I thought some of the Packers’ defensive playcalling in Sunday’s game was…curious. Three-man rush against Ponder late in the fourth allowing a wide open first down. For example. What did you think of the defensive game-plan?
“Curious,” is a mild version of what was coming out of my mouth when I saw that three-man rush late in the fourth quarter. We all know what prevent defenses do – prevent the team from winning. Maybe Packers’ defensive coordinator Dom Capers was holding back for the Playoffs … I don’t know. That’s my hope anyway. Frankly, I don’t think Capers has an answer for Peterson either in his head or in personnel on the field. If the players can’t find the wherewithal to tackle Peterson, then maybe there isn’t a defense that can stop him. My only hope for down the road is that Peterson takes up acting like Jim Brown and heads for Hollywood. In the meantime, Capers has got to be more inventive and creative and stop throwing up the creampuff defensive fronts. Last week’s game plan was more like a wish list. My hope is that the Packers put forth a much better effort this week – starting in the meeting room and ending on the field.
2. Randall Cobb and Charles Woodson both look like they’ll play. Talk about the difference they will make.
Adding Cobb to the full complement of receivers available to Aaron Rodgers can only help. It looks like he may not even have to return kicks given the performance last week by Jeremy Ross, but knowing Mike McCarthy he will put him back there for the playoffs just for comfort. I don’t think McCarthy will want a rookie in such a crucial position. But maybe I’m wrong. Cobb, if he stays healthy, will be a welcomed addition, especially on third downs. Instead of relying on his outside guys for first downs, Rodgers will have the chance to go over the middle to Cobb and Finley, which should open the outside for the big play guys Nelson and Jennings. As for Woodson, it’s really unclear how he will be used, but I suspect they will bring him in to play safety and maybe some inside stuff. I don’t think they will utilize him in the blitz package, but could allow him to pick his spots and to go for the ball. It’s really unclear how and where he will play. If he doesn’t contribute on the field, just his presence and leadership should bolster the defense.
3. Why doesn’t Mike McCarthy know the challenge rules?
Though he doesn’t show it, Mike’s a pretty emotional guy. I’m sure he knows the rule … he just got carried away on that play and let his emotions get the best of him. I’m sure he’s taking his rule book home every night this week for some bedtime reading.
4. After last year’s playoff fail, how angry will Packer fans be if they once again go out early? Is this a Super Bowl-or-bust situation?
Every season is a Super Bowl or bust in Green Bay. But if the Packers lose in the first round again this year it will be a huge blow to Mike McCarthy. He is 1-2 in home playoff games, losing twice to the Giants who then went on to win Super Bowls. If he can’t get his team ready to play in this game, then there are some serious questions that need answering. Yes, Packers fans will be livid if the Packers can’t pull off a win at home in the biggest game of the year.
I think the Vikings and Christian Ponder may have played their best games of the season last week. The question is whether they can repeat that performance this week. Peterson is Peterson and he will get his yards. He’s just too good of a player to be stopped. But if the Packers offense can get an early lead – or at least stop the Vikings from getting the early lead – then I think the Vikings may be in for a long afternoon. With the Packers controlling the clock this time around and Aaron Rodgers playing with a chip on his shoulder, the Packers come out of this game with at least a a 10-point win. Packers 30 Vikings 17