Mark “Allstate” Tauscher could be the game’s MVP, depending on the outcome.
Archive for January, 2008
on the Tramon Williams return. Number 52 on New York gave Charlie Peprah two hands to the back of the head a full second after the play. Really should have been a late hit, especially given the “tight” calls on the previous drive.
If the Packers lose, fair enough. It will be very disappointing if the referees determine the game. Two consecutive calls on the Packers on third down — one negates an interception, another an incomplete pass. Even Troy Aikman says “tough call on Nick Collins.” Pathetic.
See my post this morning for concerns about that. He initiates contact all the time and draws penalties. That call was huge — goes from a Packer pick to a GIant first down.
Well, the 90-yard touchdown to Donald Driver really seemed to energize the Packers, for obvious reasons. Still, we’ve got to stop Plaxico Burress. If I’m Mike McCarthy, my halftime adjustment is to double Burress on virtually every snap. Or at least tell my safety to shade to his side of the field. The Packers have done a very good job stopping the run, something that might have be give a little to give Harris help with Burress.
On offense, I’d keep feeding the ball to Ryan Grant and maybe throw in a few touches to Brandon Jackson. Even though the Packers aren’t running the ball well, the runs at least keeps the defensive line guessing and if Grant can break off a mid-range run of, say, 20 yards, it will force the Giants defense to take runs more seriously.
Most important, the Packers cannot afford any mental lapses. They seemed to be invigorated by Driver’s TD – the need to recapture that.
The Packers don’t seem to be as fired up for the game as the Giants. That can matter on a day like today. A lot.
I’m not going to the game, as planned, so check back here for occasional thoughts throughout the afternoon/evening.
I watched the Week Two Giants-Packers game last night, and one thing I’d forgotten was the great number of pass interference/holding calls against the Packers, many of which were highly questionable. Plaxico Burress is probably either the most physical wide receiver in the NFL or the second (to Randy Moss). He pushes off on virtually every play and as often as not, defenders get called for initiating the contact. I’m worried that the refs may really key on the Packer DBs in this high-profile game, calling touch fouls that they have let go for most of the year.
Two very important players for the Packers: Atari Bigby and Bubba Franks. One of the real underappreciated contributors over the past several weeks has been Bubba Franks. His blocking has been outstanding and he’s provided Favre with another big red-zone target. His blocking has been key. He often has the seal block on Ryan Grant runs — the block which can open up the big cut back runs that have been Grant’s biggest gainers this year. Franks has sprung several of these and if he can do so again this afternoon, the Packers will be well on their way to a win.
Atari Bigby, by contrast, has done his business in a loud and widely-praised way. He was the defensive player of the month in the NFL and was perhaps the most talked-about Packer (other than Ryan Grant) in the game last week. He dominated blockers and intimidated receivers — he was probably solely responsible for two alligator-armed catch attempts, would-be catches that could have changed the outcome of the game. If he can do the same thing again — and particularly help out in run support — he will make a major contribution to a Green Bay win.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette thinks so. He writes:
Those who are reveling in the fact today’s NFC championship game could be one of the coldest in NFL playoff history are missing the point.
This, obviously, is the biggest game in the NFC this season. To have the outcome possibly affected by unusual weather is unjust.
To be sure, football shouldn’t be played in a climate-controlled environment such a domed stadium. Those environments are too sterile. The game should be played outside. But when the conditions are so extreme that it could have a significant impact on the outcome of the game, that’s a shame.
The hope is that the better team wins, whichever club that may be, and the conditions don’t dictate the winner.
Anyone reading this site for more than a couple of days knows that we’re among those reveling in the fact that this will be a cold game. In fact, we’ve argued for years now that the Super Bowl should be played in a cold weather town because, well, that’s the way football should be played.
Demovsky disagrees but doesn’t seem to have any reason why. He doesn’t want the game played indoors — too sterile — so we know that he prefers to have it outdoors. And what if the weather doesn’t cooperate? Again, we’re left wondering. But we’re told that Mother Nature is somehow “unjust.”
Come on. That doesn’t even make sense.
I think it’s true that the weather could affect the outcome of the game. And I disagree with the legions of experts who think this works to the Packers’ advantage. If this game were being played in, say, Arizona under clear skies and 72-degree temperature, Brett Favre would spread out the Giants’ backup defensive backs and exploit the hell out of those mismatches. Donald Driver against the once-benched Corey Webster? Greg Jennings against journeyman special teamer R.W. McQuarters? James Jones against a banged-up Aaron Ross? Koren Robinson against…who knows? Donald Lee and Bubba Franks against the Giants second-rate safeties? I think a game under those circumstances could be a blow-out in the Packers’ favor. (The main thing the the Packers have going for them today could be the size of Favre’s hands, which should make it easier for him to grip a frozen ball than it will be for the relatively dainty Eli Manning.)
I think the weather today will play the role of equalizer, something that doesn’t benefit the Packers. But it will not be “unjust.” Just as the Bears deserved to win the second match-up of the year because they better adjusted to the conditions, the Giants will deserve to win today if the Packers look like they can’t handle the cold. The “better team,” will be the one that wins the game.