Daniel Graham (who just caught a pass for a first down) and Tony Scheffler could have big games, as virtually every tight end does against the Packers. Brady Poppinga is a perfect special teams players — with special teams enthusiasm — and a bad linebacker.
Archive for October, 2007
Tom Jackson: Denver
Bill Parcells: Green Bay
Keyshawn Johnson: Green Bay
Chris Berman: Green Bay
Emmitt Smith: Green Bay
Steve Young: Denver
Stuart Scott: Denver
ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that Mike McCarthy’s game plan tonight is to run the ball. No surprise, given Denver’s deficiencies in that area. Wynn gets the start, but Ryan Grant will “play extensively.”
Chris Berman asked: “How far can the Packers go?”
Keyshawn Johnson: “If they keep playng this way they can be a 13-3 football team. I see two teams that could stand in their way — the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs.”
Bill Parcells: “This game tonight, Thankgiving at Detroit, and the week after at Dallas — I think those are the three key games to the Green Bay season.”
Tom Jackson: “All the way to the Super Bowl, but what would be the point? Pending next Sunday (referring to the Patriots-Colts game) what would be the point?”
Ron Jaworski was down on the field with Favre before the game and came away with a great anecdote. He asked Favre about his arm strength. Favre put his toes on the 50-yard line and told Jaws to look at the pylon in the front corner of the end zone. He threw, according to Jaworski, a “laser” and smoked the pylon. He looked at Jaws and said (a close paraphrase here): How does the arms look?
Sitting in the stands at Lambeau during the Redskins game, it was clear that Favre was underthrowing nearly everything. (Not just two passes, as someone said on ESPN just now). But what a joke that people were wondering if he was over the hill.
ESPN is reporting that Travis Henry will be inactive tonight. That’s a plus, obviously, though Selvin Young is no slouch. He’s averaging 7.7 yards a carry.
The Packers are last in the league in rushing offense, nearly 15 yards per game worse than the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans, who ranked 30th and 31st. The Broncos, as it happens, are last in the league in rushing defense — allowing 176 yards per game.
Mike McCarthy has said since virtually the day he was selected — and probably in his interview before he was chosen — that his top priority is establishing the run. (And in a related statistic, they are ranked first in pass defense. It’s true that their defense backfield is outstanding — Dre Bly and Champ Bailey, in particular. But it is also the case that their opponents haven’t passed much on them because they have been able to run to easily.)
All week we have read stories about this being the week that the Packers can get their running game working. Perhaps. But McCarthy shouldn’t force it. If the run is there, take it. But if the run isn’t working, McCarthy has to show himself able to adjust. He did not do this in the second half of the Chicago game. Chicago’s pass-prevent defense suggested that the Packers should be able to run. They couldn’t, but rather than adjust, McCarthy kept handing the ball to his backs.
On a related note, it is important for the Packers to throw the ball deep a time or two early in the game. I don’t care if they actually complete the pass, though that would be great. Several times this year, the Packers have failed to create space for the running game by throwing the ball downfield. The run can certainly set up the pass, but the pass can just as successfully set up the run.
Fantastic story by Pete Dougherty in yesterday’s Green Bay Press Gazette. Dougherty writes that Mike McCarthy has given Favre a tremendous amount of leeway in playcalling this year — something that has been obvious to anyone who follows the Packers closely. But Dougherty has numbers. “About 30 percent of the time this season, he’s switched to the secondary call, going from a pass to a run, or a run to a pass, or one pass to another pass. That’s significant. Week in and week out, even going back to last year, McCarthy has lauded Favre for being nearly flawless in choosing the better play.”
Dougherty also calls Favre’s memory of defensive looks “nearly photographic.” That should be helpful, since it looks more and more like Champ Bailey is going to play tonight.
After going 3-11 last week against the spread, I don’t think it’s a good idea to post my picks on the site. I’m certain I’ll regret this. Picks are in bold – and the amount of confidence points I have for each game are here too…
*Indianpolis (-6.5) at Carolina – 13. Indy is rolling sort of under the radar. By the way, Indy’s success hinges largely on Bob Sanders. If he should be out this week or any other, an Indy loss becomes more likely.
*New York Giants (-10.5) at Miami [Ed: In London] – 14. Miami can’t be this awful and the Giants, while decent have a tendency to puke a few games under Coughlin.
*Detroit at Chicago (-4.5) – 9. I want Detroit to win because I don’t like the Bears and have felt the Bears have been overachieving now for years. But I don’t think the Lions will pull it out.
*New Orleans at San Francisco (+3.5) – 4. Not so sure here, but am banking on a big day from Brees.
*Philadelphia at Minnesota (+1.5) – 8. I don’t like Philly and McNabb’s overconfidence. I would like to see them buried this early in the season. And Peterson is the real deal.
*Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (+3.5) – 12. Upset special. Pittsburgh is good, but not that great. Watch for Cincy to march up and down the field on them putting up 40 points.
*Cleveland at St. Louis (+3.5) – Upset special #2. I believe Jackson is back and St. Louis just can’t continue to be this bad at home. (I have a huge bias, but I do think Cleveland’s drafting of Joe Thomas was very smart – they are already a better team because of him).
*Jacksonville at Tampa (-4.5) – 10. Don’t like putting this much on this game, but with Quinn Gray, as cool a person as he is, I just don’t think Jax will produce enough offense against a resurgent Tampa D.
*Houston at San Diego (-12.5) – 15. Aggressive here, but San Diego is back (and I feel somewhat compelled to jump on their bandwagon now considering I have SD and Dalls in the Super Bowl this year).
*Oakland at Tennessee (-7.5) – 13. I have trouble figuring out what Oakland is all about. I thought it would be their defense, but that’s not panning out. Look for the Titans to play their inspired Jeff Fisher ball and handle Oakland.
*Buffalo at New York Jets (-2.5) – I like Buffalo as a team and feel for them somewhat. I think they have a talented young QB too in Edwards. I have picked the Jets every week this season due to my fading obsession with Chad Pennington. Because of that, I am prepared to watch the Jets win by 30 because of 400 yards passing.
*Washington at New England (-16.5) – 5. Not confident here. I saw the Redskins be a game opponent when I was at Lambeau a few weeks ago and their secondary with Taylor and Landry is scary. If they can’t at least slow NE’s passing game, nobody can.
*Green Bay at Denver (-3.5) – 7. I always pick the Packers so no surprise here. But I think this will be a low scoring affair unless Bailey’s out and our spread offense takes off.
After going 12-2 last week against the spread, I decided it was a good idea to post weekly picks on the site. I’m certain I’ll regret this. Picks are in bold.
Indianpolis (-6.5) at Carolina
New York Giants (-10.5) at Miami [Ed: In London]
Detroit at Chicago (-4.5)
New Orleans at San Francisco (+3.5)
Philadelphia at Minnesota (+1.5)
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (+3.5)
Cleveland at St. Louis (+3.5)
Jacksonville at Tampa (-4.5)
Houston at San Diego (-12.5)
Oakland at Tennessee (-7.5)
Buffalo at New York Jets (-2.5)
Washington at New England (-16.5)
Green Bay at Denver (-3.5)
UPDATE: If Brother Hayes neglects to post his picks, this week we have a right to ask him how he did last week…
UPDATE II: My picks are also ranked by confidence, highest to lowest.