|Hail Mary Photo by Evan Siegle, www.Packers.com|
Armchair GMs have been wondering if the Packers should part ways with Randall Cobb, what with the emergence of younger receivers like Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison (although Geronimo's breaking marijuana charge this week does not assist his cause, certainly, as he probably is facing a suspension, most likely next season). At any rate, I hope this game does away with such talk. I would hate to see Cobb leave.
If Cobb and Rodgers were the players of the game on offense, is there any doubt that Clay Matthews and Jake Ryan were the players of the game on defense? Clay Matthews had only one tackle, but it was one for the ages. He knocked the ball out of Eli Manning's hand, in a classic "empty hand" play (meaning that Manning's arm moved forward, but the ball was already loose as a fumble). Matthews knew it, the referee knew it, but nobody else on the field seemed to have any idea, despite the fact that there was no whistle. So Matthews was yelling at closer teammates to grab the ball, but they must not have heard him, so just as Giants RB Paul Perkins was casually bending down to pick up the ball and hand it to the official, Matthews took matters into his own hands, clocked Perkins, and recovered the ball himself. It is probably easier to realize what is going on while watching the game on TV. But Matthews was smart to realize that there had been no whistle, go after the ball! That's the way players are taught. Why was Matthews the only one paying attention on either team?
|Sam and Chelsea at the Game|
The Packers, once they started playing some offense toward the end of the second quarter, completely over-matched the Giants. But it has to be noted that the Giants contributed rather mightily to their own demise. If it had not been for missed passes by Manning, dropped passes by their vaunted receivers, and little production from their running game, the Packers might have been behind by 14-0, instead of 6-0, and who knows how that might have affected the momentum of the game?
Just as an aside, I was intrigued by Troy Aikman's reference to Paul Perkins' uncle playing in the Ice Bowl. So I looked it up. Perkins' uncle was Don Perkins, the leading rusher for the Cowboys in the Ice Bowl with 51 yards on 17 carries. In an ironic coincidence, nephew Paul had exactly the same yards per carry on Sunday, and was the leading Giants's rusher with 30 yards on 10 carries. When your leading rusher only averages 3 yards per carry, and doesn't have that many carries, this is not a recipe for success. Obviously, both the Cowboys in the Ice Bowl, and the Giants on Sunday, came up losers against the Packers.
And speaking of losers, what a head case Odell Beckham, Jr. is, to have punched a hole in the wall outside the locker room, especially after all the on and off field controversies involving him this year. To coin a phrase, the Packers should fix the wall, and make the Giants pay for it. He is obviously very immature, or very hot-headed, or both. And then I see that the Giants players trashed the plane on the way back to New York, so that the next flight was delayed for several hours because of the cleanup. The Giants deny it. I call BS on the Giants. The Giants have a serious discipline problem on their hands, and they need to clean it up by next year.
|Beckham Hole, Photos by Carl Deffenbaugh, Fox 6 News, Milwaukee|
And once again, they need to get off a fast start. Fooling around for the first 26 minutes of the game will just not cut it. McCarthy needs to force Rodgers, or Rodgers needs to force himself, to start off with a quick, in-rhythm, short passing game, instead of dancing around in the pocket, taking sacks, and not being willing to pull the trigger, as he did for much of the first half against the Giants. If the Giants had played better, Rodgers might never have been able to start the rout that started late in the second quarter. The Packers will never be able to survive wasting the first 26 minutes of the game against the Cowboys.
The Packers that lost to the Cowboys 30-16 in October, dropping to a 3-2 record, were not playing at the level they are playing now. They had not found their rhythm, as they have over the last 7 weeks, they were already without three defensive backs in the game (Shields, Rollins and Banjo) and Jared Cook was injured and inactive. The Packers also, very uncharacteristically, gave the Cowboys 4 turnovers (an interception, and fumbles lost by Rodgers, Nelson and Montgomery). Again, since the seven game winning streak started, the Packers just don't do that anymore. Rodgers has thrown no interceptions in those games, and the Packers have far more takeaways than turnovers lost.
The Cowboys are the number one seed in the NFC for a good reason. They played well, consistently, all year long, while the Packers and the rest of the NFC did not. But right now, there is no hotter team in the NFC than the Packers. The Cowboys are much worse against the run than were the Giants, so the Packers ought to be able to gain some yards on the ground, taking some pressure off the passing game. Those things give the Packers an excellent shot, even against the number one seed, and even on the road. With some trepidation, I am predicting a Packers victory, nothing like the blowout against the Giants, but maybe by a touchdown, with a late TD pass by Rodgers sealing it, or perhaps a late interception by the Packers' defense preventing the TD by the Cowboys to tie the game.