Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NFC North Champion Packers!

(Photo Courtesy of

In the course of one day, the Packers: (1) won their 18th straight game, a streak that began with their win against the Giants last year; (2) successfully completed the third quarter of the regular season without a loss; (3) achieved a 12-0 record for the first time in team history; (4) clinched a playoff spot when they beat the Giants on the last play of the game; (5) executed a classic one-minute drill to lead to the final play victory; and (6) clinched the NFC North Title later Sunday evening when the Lions lost.  Not bad for a day's work.  As for goals for next week, the Green Bay Press-Gazette Facebook page, NFL Historian Jon Zimmer reports that a win next week will match the best start ever by a defending Super Bowl Champion (matching the 1998 Denver Broncos).

Still . . . it is impossible to ignore the problems on the Green Bay defensive side.  From total points given up (35) to total yards allowed (447) to gain per rush (5.0) to gain per pass (8.5), this was not an elite defensive performance against the Giants.  And the Giants, while talented, are not really an elite team, having been crushed by the Saints on Monday Night Football six days before the Packers played them.  The Packers started the game with starters Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk inactive, and ended the game with Charles Woodson out with a concussion.  But the Packers and their fans have come to expect that the "next man up" will get the job done.  Looks like Woodson will be back this week, Hawk may be back, but Bishop probably will not be ready this week.

And now another wildly inconsistent team, the Oakland Raiders, comes to town on Sunday.  It was only four years ago that I reminisced about some of the great moments in Packers-Raiders history, from Super Bowl II, to the first Lambeau Leap, to the Irvin Favre game.  So rather than repeat that history now, just go take a look at the 2007 article.

The Raiders, at 7-5, are tied for first place in the AFC West, but as of now would lose the tie-breaker to the Broncos, and would finish out of the playoffs.  They have beaten some good teams, but have also lost, in embarrassing fashion, to the Chiefs and to the Dolphins in the last six weeks.  Suffice it to say, a team with a positive record, at 7-5, but with a negative points differential (giving up more points than it scores), is unlikely to be able to keep up with the 2011 Green Bay Packers.  I expect a fairly easy win (but bear in mind, I expected the same last week, too).

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Meanwhile, the Packers' latest sale of stock is underway, as I mentioned last week.  Sure, being an "owner" of the Green Bay Packers is not, in any meaningful way, an investment.  But the fact that we, the fans, actually own our team is, and always has been, one of the greatest things about the Green Bay Packers.  Apparently I am not the only one who feels that way, from comments sent in by shareholders to ESPN's NFC North reporter, Kevin Seifert.


  1. A few observations regarding the Giants game.

    Again the Packers showed that they can do what is needed to win the game. Period. End of conversation.

    I thought Aaron Rodgers and the entire offense was poised and confident (but not cocky) as they drove down the field and put themselves into scoring position. Good clock management by everyone, especially the receivers.

    This game was another confidence builder.

    I mentioned to Tom on the phone that I don't recall hearing Dom Capers name being mentioned by the TV guys nor was there a shot of him in the booth.

    I wonder what kind if discussions Capers is having with McCarthy and Thompson.

    Go out and buy a few shares of stock.

  2. D in G: That is fine. They did what they needed to do to win. It's a lot better than the moral victories we used to get some years ago. And it certainly builds confidence. There is a psychological aspect to the game, obviously, and when you have the mindset that you will win the game, you have a better chance to win than if your mindset is "oh, oh, here we go again." Beyond these points, I am not sure what else you are saying.

  3. So what's the deal with the photo: Clay Matthews marching to his own drummer, or what? And as to Capers, we don't blitz or otherwise get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Rogers was under constant pressure, generally from the front four of the Giants. Most of the time Manning seemed to have all day to throw. Regards, Jonathan Menn

  4. Maybe Matthews has gone Hollywood. Have you seen this, by the way, which arguably provides more evidence on that subject?

    As to pressure on opposing QBs, we blitz plenty but the front 4 don't get enough pressure by themselves, which suggests that the loss of Cullen Jenkins was a bigger deal than I thought at the time. And yes, Rodgers got a lot of pressure from the Giants, but then again: (a) they have a pretty good defense; and (b) Clifton and Sitton were both inactive for the game, which certainly did not help.

  5. The great Scott Crevier passed on a link to the video of the first Lambeau Leap, against the Raiders, in December, 1993.